We see overlanding as luxuriating high end type of migration linked to political, economic, security, safety or climate dynamics always and everywhere. You expect transiting Aserbaidjan, Iran, or Stan-States to be a nuisance but…
Our plan was to drive through Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore and to ship the truck inbound Japan via South Corea. Transiting Thailand, Korea, or Japan was not even thought of being a problem but being on our way we were surprised by new Thailand DLT regulations closing transit for overlanding third-country-trucks like ours effective 1.1.2017.
More politics? Just like China, USA, Japan and many others South Korea did not ratify the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, effective 1977. We did not know that South Korea makes null exception for German plated vehicles, not even for temporal import. So Korea is out of truck-the-world.
Japan seems more flexible accepting authentification of German Carnet de Passage by Japan Automobile Federation. But they require inspection and registration of German plated vehicles even for temporary import. These were designed for new cars sale and cost at least 5000 US$. We do not expect our 22 year old truck to meet current Japanese emission or noise standards, eg. So Japan is out of truck-the-world, too.
Cambodia’s economy is quite bad. Port Sihanoukville offers RoRo just once every 2 years. Availability of 40′ Flat Racks required for our truck is scarce. So shipping outbound Cambodia is out of truck the-world, too. Same for outbound Saigon/HCMC currently not offering any RoRo.
- Driving back through Laos and China overlanding home through Mongolia, Russia and Eastern Europe following Transsib Railway East West.
- Try to enter Thailand and transit Myanmar to India with many shipping and overlanding options to Europe and Africa.
- Try to enter Thailand and overland to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore with many shipping options to Europe, South Africa, America or Australia. Truck shipping to Darwin is extremely costly and laborious because of Australia’s compulsory vehicle disinfection process, however. Motto: Stop disease at the gate... We have past experience with camper fruit fly inspections driving from one Aussie state to the next and were not interested to repeat this experience.
Like nomads we do not stick to plans. We are unable to forsee climate, economic or political changes. We try to adapt decently and continuously, no matter what we like or dislike, one truth of worldwide overland traveling.
Consequently we decided to try to enter Thailand acting against rules and reason and to see how far we get.
We returned back to Phnom Penh by air and supervised ongoing truck repairs and maintenance at ENVOTECH. Inspection showed that new Michelin Tires had been fitted and minor jobs been done.
But batteries were not charged and the engine had not been started for more than a year. Diesel pipes and filters had to be cleaned and new batteries to be installed. The AirCon had to be repaired.
All these jobs were done badly and took much more time than expected. Even more consequences: 14V alternator, electric Diesel fuel pumps and radio were not working any more and we found ourselves on unwanted holidays in Phnom Penh during rain season.
Holidays ended, however, when Anneli was bag snatched and robbed at 10 pm in front of our Asia Tune Hotel entrance after dinner. She was teared along the street and severely injured, clavicula fracture, but nobody cared, no hotel, no police, no ambulance, and snatchers were not traced.
Two friendly Trattoria Del’Arte waitresses, however, recognized us as customers and took us by TukTuk to Naga Clinic for First Aid. The good news was that the stolen bag contained just one credit card, keys, some dollars and her iPhone but no passports, or anything important. Thanks to recommended ALLIANZ insurance each item was replaced.
Next day we turned to luxury Royal Bangkok Hospital for X-Ray, doctor’s advice and medication. It took another 4 days to convince hotel management to raise complaint at the police and to produce an accident report. It turned out that 3 serious bag snatchings had been video recorded in front of the hotel per night on the average.
After 6 days Anneli’s condition was stable enough to fly home for operation and treament in Germany. German ADAC organized and booked our trip home with the aid of German doctors giving us a lot of support, thanks.
We were quite unhappy with ENVOTECH performance but another good news was that British friends Dave Goodchild and Glenn Clement offered to take our truck away and drive it into Thailand. We were quite lucky and they were successful in spite of all those hindrances by laws, Thai DLT, police and customs, thanks and congratulations, cheers!
Consequently we pronouce a WARNING: Never ever use ENVOTECH services or even store your car or truck there. Former owner Finn is a friendly European without influence on ENVOTECH since his stepson Vuthy Uy has taken over promising and signing any contract and excusing any fault without any responsibility, manners or sympathy. Plus you will pay 3,30 USD per day without valuable trade-off but destroyed batteries, clamped Diesel pipes, electric shortcuts and more.
And this is where our trucks sits now idling and waiting for our return to Thailand in December 2018, see https://www.overlandersthailand.com/
To be continued… See next Post on Truck-the-World Leg 7