3 more days

Cambodia has been a wonderful time.  I really do not want to leave this place, but the show must go on. Tomorrow we will begin our trip to the border of Vietnam and head for Ho Chi Min City.  There we will pick up Bouey’s father and a couple of others to head up north.  Honestly I have no idea what to expect.  We have heard stories ranging from government searching of rooms to fun times on the beach.  One thing we do know is that the Canadian Automobile Association is probably one of the worst sources of information when traveling abroad.

When we applied for our Carnet documents, they were our only option.  We figured that since they have a person and department set aside that solely deals with these documents we could expect them to be the experts.  This is far from the truth.  So far here are their recommendations or guidelines associated with our documents:

1) You cannot use the Carnet documents in Thailand, you must put up a personal deposit to get them in. –

Thailand accepted them with open arms.  We may have had to help the officers fill them out as they do not see them very often, but they had not problem accepting them.

2) You cannot drive a tourist vehicle into Cambodia, Vietnam or Laos. Your Carnets will not work in these countries –

Cambodia – The Cambodian customs officer said that although we did not need the Carnets, it was much easier for us to have them.  We had absolutely no problems crossing this border other than an hour wait for the sole customs officer to finish a game of badmitton.

Vietnam – Upon reading the Lonely Planet, we should have no problem getting the cars into Vietnam.  The only problem that many people have here is that they will not allow right hand drive cars into the country…sorry to the British. LP also states that you MUST have a Carnet to get into Vietnam.  I am not sure who is right, but I lose confidence in the CAA every mile we drive.

Laos – We still have not reached Laos, but we have already been told by many that we should not have any problems getting in.  My guess is that the Carnet will prove to be very useful here as well.

3) This is an old note, but I do not think we have mentioned it before…When we first shipped to Australia, CAA told us that we did not need the Carnet until the trucks arrived in Australia. –

If it was not for Chris, our new found friend at the shipping yard in Los Angeles, we would have been SOL in Australia.  If we shipped the cars from the USA to Australia without a stamp leaving the US, they would not have been valid when we arrived in AUS.  Make sure to get a stamp in your home country before you leave if you plan on returning with the vehicles there.

In the end, if you are planning on driving with a Carnet, the most important piece of advise I can give you is to not listen to a word that the CAA tells you.  They are not even close to anything resembling an authority on the subject of Carnets or international overland travel.

However, we are The World by Road and will not be stopped in our quest to make it around the globe in our two Toyotas.  There are too many other people that have the correct information that are more than happy to help us out.  We may have to search a little more to find the correct answers, but we will make it through the next 87 countries on schedule…this I guarantee.  One country at a time and Vietnam is next.