Thailand -> Malaysia -> Indonesia


New Overlander
Apr 11, 2022
Hi all,

Just found this forum and it's great!

I've been living in Phuket in Thailand for the past few months and intend to head to Bali next month on my Thai-registered Honda Rebel. I've been trying to get to the bottom of the feasibility of it all and the admin involved.

First of all, has anyone done this trip any time recently? Would love to pick your brains if so.

Obviously the first consideration at the moment is COVID...but as of 1st April, Malaysia opened again and Indonesia is that's all systems go. I was a bit concerned about permitted entry points but from what I can see, it all seems open. If anyone knows different, I'd appreciate an update.

The plan is to drive down into Malaysia from here, then ideally get a ferry with my bike to Sumatra, then work my way across the islands until hitting Bali. I've seen several very old forum posts about the odd ferry from Port Klang (Malaysia) to Dumai (Sumatra) but nothing recent. Does anybody know of any vehicle ferries or ferries that can fit me and a bike? These forums also said that people essentially got extorted in the process, so quite wary of that.

Failing finding a ferry to Sumatra, my Plan B is to ship my bike from Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta and then fly myself. Would be a shame as I'd miss Sumatra but if that needs to happen then so be it...could always drive up from Jakarta of course.

I saw this post from 2015: Foreign vehicle Indonesia - Requirements - Carnet - Shipping

This says the following...

If you are shipping into Indonesia you will need the following:
  • International Driving Licence
  • Letter of Invitation from the Indonesian Auto mobile association
  • A letter from the Police
  • Carnet
You can contact diyah yanuardani <> from the Indonesian Auto mobile association who can arrange both the LOI and Police letter.

When emailing you must provide the following Information:

1 - Copy of Passport
2 - Copy IDP
3- Copy of Vehicle registration
4 - Copy of Carnet (showing VIN and Engine number)
5 - Vehicle details (Make, Model , Vin, Engine No. etc)
I've reached out to that email address and am awaiting response but appreciate it's 7 years ago now. Does anybody perhaps have an up to date contact? Or is anyone able to confirm that these requirements are still correct? Additionally, any recommendations for shipping companies to use to ship the bike from Malaysia to Indonesia would be hugely appreciated.

I have a Thai motorcycle licence which I believe allows me to ride anywhere in SE Asia...I don't believe I need to convert it to an International Driving Permit, unless anyone can confirm otherwise.

My other current stumbling block is the carnet. I've reached out to the recommended contact given at Carnet de passages - Home but haven't heard back and it's been several weeks. What is the best way to acquire a carnet for these purposes? I saw on another forum that somebody got one through the Touring Club of Switzerland but you had to pay the value of the bike plus 300 EUR which is a lot. I thought you could just pay some kind of insurance for a carnet as opposed to a refundable bond. Regardless, ANY carnet at this stage would be great.

I appreciate that's a lot of questions but I'm really struggling with these answers as there doesn't seem to be much (up to date) information out there.

I have faith the experienced brains here will be able to help!

Thank you in advance!


New Overlander
Dec 21, 2022
Hi adamjohnson88
Hope you have made the trip you were talking about in April'22. Just like you I'm a newbie here, just found this forum few days ago. I'm also planning to do the same trip next year, starting in India.
Any way, I wanted to give you the 2021-2022 information about Carnet. (sorry I don't know the answer for your other questions)

1) In many countries, Carnet is provided ONLY by the Automobile Association of that country. (like in India)

2) Before you apply for Carnet, it is compulsory to become a member of the Automobile Association of that country.
2a. There is a nominal fee structure to become a member. Better to choose Life Time membership with a one-time payment. (90-100 USD in India)
2b. [According to Indian procedure] If you are residing in "X" state/province and if the address in your Driving License belongs to "Y" state/province,
then you should approach the Automobile Association of "Y" state/province only.

3) It is compulsory to pay the full value of the vehicle in advance to get a Carnet, which will be refunded when Carnet is surrendered within an year. (in India, we need to pay the actual price of the vehicle, NOT the "current" value)

4) Carnet is valid for 1 year only and it cannot be extended or transferred under any circumstance.
4a. Keep in mind that if Carnet expires while touring in another country, your vehicle becomes officially illegal. You sometimes may be able to
drive/ride out of the country without trouble but you cannot enter another "Carnet Required" country's border. Also, you will not be able to
ship your vehicle from or to "Carnet Required" country.
4b. Refund of the advance will only be done by the association if the Carnet is physically submitted before Carnet expiry.

So basically, what you know already is correct :) :)