Photo: Canals of Ca Mau, Mekong Delta.

Vietnam forum

Advice on exporting a vespa or lambretta from Vietnam????

Posted by arcadian61 on 28/4/2009 at 01:17

Hi all,

I tried a search and couldn't find an appropriate thread so i figured i'd start a new one.

I am going to Vietnam in September with a few friends and we are all planning to buy motorbikes and ride from hanoi to Saigon over a few weeks.

I am particularly keen on classic scooters like vespa's and lambretta's and i have owned both so i am pretty competent in the mechanical aspects required to keep them running... What i really want to know is if anyone has any knowledge of how difficult it is to export bikes, particularly scooters like these, from vietnam to the UK?

(My aim is to restore it properly when i get home myself and i figured that it would make the endeavour less expensive in the long run, especially as i was planning on buying one over here to rebuild anyhow)

I need to know about the legal aspects if anyone can help. It is apparently illegal to own a bike in Vietnam as a foreigner, and yet i keep coming across people who dismiss this as nonsense.

Any of you on here? Anyone rented or bought a vespa in Nam?

Thanks all...

#1 arcadian61 has been a member since 28/4/2009. Posts: 2

Posted by brucemoon on 2/5/2009 at 13:41


I can't help you on this. But, I suggest there are three pieces of information you'll need.


Owning and using a motorbike in Vietnam, go to:

I've spoken to several people who owned and rode for their holiday. I've also seen notices in Guest Houses, etc., advertising 'owned' bikes for sale.


Importing a bike to UK.

I'm Australian. My gov't has rules about the importation of vehicles (of any sort). I can go to the gov't department and they'll tell me the information I need to know.

I suspect the UK gov't can do the same for you.


Exporting from Vietnam.

The Vietnam Embassy in the UK may help you.

I can't see why the VN gov't would make it hard for you. It's probably just a matter of getting it shipped from VN.

As people ride 'owned' bikes from Vietnam to nearby countries (I encountered a couple who did this to Laos), if the VN gov't caused grief then maybe you could ship from Cambodia (or similar).


#2 brucemoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Agoda coupon: Get an extra 7% off selected properties with the coupon code

Posted by arcadian61 on 3/5/2009 at 17:31

Thanks for the reply there, it is just the exporting (legally) from Vietnam that i'm trying to find out about- so perhaps contacting the Vietnamese embassy is a good idea.

I have a shipping company that my godfather uses regularly so that's sorted and i have spoken to customs & excise about duties and import taxes.

More importantly though- has anyone ridden a Lammy or a Vespa in Vietnam? Are there as many shops selling the classic ones as im led to believe?

If anyone out in HCMC or Hanoi come across any shops it would be great to have a heads up. The Ex-pat Brit companies are well publicised here and are pretty much as expensive as buying one at home!!!

#3 arcadian61 has been a member since 28/4/2009. Posts: 2

Posted by Pablot on 16/5/2009 at 21:27

Posted from within Vietnam.

I believe there is an "export tax" which must be paid, and you probably need to work with a company who has licenses to export - now it gets expensive! You need to confirm this is the case or not.

#4 Pablot has been a member since 4/5/2009. Posts: 102

Posted by anhluc on 18/5/2009 at 12:06

There is one particular company owned by an American ex-pat who operates out of Sai Gon and his entire business is completely restored Vespas. I would use google to find him, explain your situation and I would almost bet he would help you out. You may even find that buying an already restored bike from him is the way to go.

There is nothing illegal about exporting Vespas from Viet Nam. Vintage Vespas are abundant and so are repair shops. You'll see when you get there that you can't go a kilometer without see a repair shop.

Legally operating a scooter/bike is another issue. My brother in-law will never let me use his scooters when I visit, because I'm not licensed and if the police do stop you, it isn't just a simple ticket, it's an impound also - for a month.

That being said - there are several people that have scootered from north to south and my suggestion would be if you are actually stopped (which probably won't ever happen), a 500,000 dong note should get you back on the road without many problems.

By the way, the national helmet law is in full-effect. I never thought they would actually get everyone to wear a helmet, but they all do. You can get helmets everywhere for reasonable prices, but they aren't much better than a bicycle helmet. If safety is a concern, take a good one from the UK and be aware that goggles, or good glasses are a must. Not because of the wind, but because of the dust and dirt.

#5 anhluc has been a member since 15/5/2009. Posts: 32

Posted by burnthisnow on 10/3/2010 at 08:14

Posted from within Vietnam.

@ anhluc, regarding your last post, the American ex-pat who owns the Vespa restoration company is named Steve Mueller, originally from Charleston, South Carolina, and he's been living in Saigon for 11 years. He's been restoring and selling vintage Vespas for almost all that time. Find him at He also owns a cafe with his wife called Cafe Zoom in Pham Ngu Lao. The bikes are first-rate restores and he ships all over the world. He's done nearly 500 of these scooters total, and complaints have been very few and far between. A really upright guy.

He also has a tour company called Vietnam Vespa Adventures which takes guests on guided tours of HCMC as well as multi-day tours up the coast to Mui Ne and Nha Trang and into the central highlands and Dalat. (Guests drive their own Vespas.) Find it at

#6 burnthisnow has been a member since 24/5/2008. Posts: 16

Please login to add a reply

You need to be a Travelfish member to be able to add a reply to this post. Please use the button below to log in. After logging in you'll be returned to this page automatically to add your post. Not a member? Join up here.