Chris' 1994  R100GS/PD ULTIMATE JOURNEY Erin's 1997  F650

Living a Dream . . . 2 Live-N-Ride

March 1, 2000                           Updated April, 2000 (see bottom)

Air Cargo - Shipping from Nepal to Thailand

-- Story by Chris --

We arrived back in Kathmandu on Thursday, the 10th of February.  We checked into the Mount Blanc Hotel in Thamel (tourist/back-packing area) for 200rupees/night ($3), and went across the street to our freight forwarder's office to finalize our plans for the next day.

Although there is a land route from Nepal to Thailand, the borders through Myanmar (Burma) and/or China are closed, making it mandatory to ship the motorbikes over/around to Thailand/Malaysia.

Friday morning, 9:30am, Mr. Dhakal of Eagle Eyes Export came to meet us at the hotel, and we headed off to the airport on our bikes.  Tom and Kirstin came along to give us a hand and preview what they would need to do when they ship their bikes in late March.

We arrived at customs, and proceeded to transfer all but a couple of litres of fuel from our bikes into Tom and Kirstin's.   Next, we disconnected the batteries, removed the mirrors, windshields, front fenders, and front wheels.  The bike(s) were then positioned on the prepared skid(s), and we strapped them to the wooden bottom of the crate(s) while compressing the suspension -- Each bike had previously been measured and custom crates were built.

Once the bikes were secure, customs officials came to inspect the bikes and our belongings, stamp the bikes "out" from our passports, and stamp our Carnets "out" as well -- This is crucial as the Carnet de Passage is our bond for duties.  Customs will make absolutely sure to stamp you "in", but it's our responsiblility to get the stamp "out".   If the Carnet is not stamped out of a country, we're liable for over $10,000!

Tom was compressing the front shocks   All set and ready to go!

We then lashed our riding gear and miscellaneous items to the bikes, and the sides and top of the box were added.   Nailed secure, with 2 wire straps added for good measure, the customs agents then added a few wax seals around the top of each crate.

The grand finale was the moving of each of the crates into the warehouse to await Monday's flight.  The catch is, there are no fork lifts in this area.  Every so often throughout India and Nepal, I thought "I'd seen everything", and I guess new sights are what I was hoping for in this part of the world anyway.  True to form, 13 men (rather slim and a few wearing flip-flops) gathered around the first crate, jostled and jolted it until they were able to get their fingers positioned underneath, lifted it, and carried it into the warehouse -- I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it myself!

Look at this footwear! -- Mr. Dhakal on the right

At about 4:00, we were finished with the task, and rode back to town for a meal at our favorite MoMo shop (dumplings at $0.25/plate.)  It would be our last of the Buff(alo) MoMos, and they were delicious!

Back in town, we (literally) ran into a Canadian couple (Brian & Lisa) whom we had met in Hampi (India) over the Millenium.  That's one of the joys of travelling I hadn't originally expected, and reunions (planned and unexpected) are a special treat.


Mr. Jeewan Dhakal


Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal
tel:  977-1-256 590
            or 268 236

fax:  977-1-252 541

- Crate size: 82Lx36Wx42H, or a volume weight of 339 kg/bike (= 678kg).

$1.37/kg upto 500 kg (for 1 bike)
- $1.07/kg over 500 kg
- $0.08/kg handling.
- 4,500rupees ($68)/bike -- crating.
- 2,500rupees ($38)/bike -- svc charge.
- $220/person -- air ticket to Bangkok.

*With discount, our total  = $1,365.00

Sunday evening we were invited for our last dinner in Nepal at Mr. Dhakal's house.  He is a young man who works 7 days a week, because as he claims, "If I wasn't at the office, I'd just sit here on the couch watching TV"  Although he has been involved in exporting cargo for a number of years, he recently started his own business and likes to be available to tourists  on the weekends, who buy lots of things and ship home.  By our standards he may not make much money but by Nepalese standards he seems to be doing pretty well for himself.

Later that night, we had drinks with Tom, Kirstin, Brian, and Lisa.  We are all heading to SE Asia, but at different times.   We hugged and said our fare-wells (for now).  We will miss our friends, but we will probably see them again down the road.

Monday, February 14th, Valentine's Day, and the temperature was a cool 5C/40F.  We arrived at the Kathmandu airport, and at 1:30pm boarded the Thai Airlines flight to Bangkok.  Approximately 45minutes and 29,000 feet into the flight, we looked out the left window and had a long and fantastic view of Mt. Everest floating above the clouds -- Everest's peak is 29,028 feet.  The flight attendants were (PC?) gracious, the food was quite good, the refillable wine glass was appreciated by Erin, and I enjoyed a nice cognac after the meal.   We would definitely recommend flying Thai Airlines to anyone.

We landed at 6:15pm local time, breezed through passport control, and gathered our bags in record time.  We hopped on the airport-bus to downtown Bangkok for 140bhat($4), and we were dropped off at the entrance to the Siam Intercontinental Hotel -- Mom and dad were already checked in.  My parent's were on a 3+ week holiday in SE Asia, and they wanted to treat us to a bit of luxury. 

Tuesday morning, we dragged ourselves through the hot and humid air into a taxi back to the airport -- We missed Nepal already!  We got the bikes imported in one day (much better than India which took 3 days), but it was still a long day.  We could have hired an import agent, but the process was simple enough and the customs people were very friendly/helpful.  I also enjoy the process of working/dealing with the local people -- it gives me a good perspective of what's to come.

We arrived at the airport around 9:45am and finished with customs around 2:00pm.  It then took just under 2 hours to open the crates and rebuild the bikes.  Aside from the Carnet and a stamp in our passports for guarantee, we paid 567bhat/bike (about $16.50 each) for processing.  There was a petrol station just outside the airport where we tanked up and headed back to our air-conditioned room.  One important note:  Motorbikes are not allowed on the Toll-Highway between the airport and downtown Bangkok.  This proved to be a hassle as the highway was empty and the local roads were filled with rush-hour traffic.

Thursday morning, we drove 725kms north to Chiang Mai to escape the heat and humidity.  The folks rented a car and on Saturday the four of us traveled further north, stopped for an elephant ride, and spent a few days relaxing at the Golden Triangle.  The Golden Triangle is an area along the Mekong River where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos come together. 

Mom and Dad considering a future safari - NOT!

UPDATED APRIL  2000: Our experience with Mr. Dhakal  of Eagle Eyes was fabulous.  The same can be said for the two German motorcyclists who used him in January and recommended him to us.  However, 6 motorcyclists attempting to ship their bikes together a month after us (late March), reported having problems.

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