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Open Borders – A pre COVID-19 Travel Story

September 7, 2020

Nick Lewis crossing borders and meeting new friends and his Suzuki in Iran.

Nick Lewis left Australia in 2016 with his Suzuki DR 650 for Asia and Europe via an overland route.

His first stop was Timor-Leste, he then ferried his way through Indonesia via a wooden junk to Malaysia. From there, it was all overland—from India to Pakistan and Iran before entering Armenia—and most of the borders on the first half of his trip required that little yellow booklet known as the ‘the Carnet’ or CPD.

Nick confirmed that the Carnet made crossing borders easy on his trip. “For the most part the Carnet worked well,” advised Nick, “there was no need for the temporary import documents in the Carnet countries and there wasn’t too much confusion.”

Nick’s Suzuki in Iran

However, before entering Myanmar* he joined fellow travellers to share the cost the bureaucratic burdens. While the group was lucky most of the time, at some checkpoints they engaged a ‘fixer’ to explain their travel plans to customs officials.  It was not always easy to cross borders into non-Carnet countries such as Thailand where you are required to purchase a local Temporary Import Permit (TIP). TIPs can be purchased at border crossings and are only valid for 30 days. To understand all the documents required for a Thai/Malaysia border crossing watch this video.

Fast forward to 2020 and Nick is a little disappointed as his motorcycle remains in Bulgaria. Unable to continue his overland experience, he’s back in Australia waiting for his next opportunity to cross borders.

*Self-driving in Myanmar will require permission from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism or via a travel agent.  It is also mandatory to engage a guide.  Highly recommended is an International Driving Permit and visa for your stay.