Imagine I have a car in Thailand and I want to get Australia, is there any ferry that cross from Asia to Australia? How much is it? No problem if have to drive to another country or if there is no direct ferry and must take a combination of transports.

  • More details please! Are you importing the car to stay in Australia, or will you drive across another sea and leave again? By "cheapest" do you mean "cheap" or "least expensive"? By that I mean $3000 is "cheaper" than $5000 but whether you consider $3000 "cheap" is subjective. More in my answer below. Commented May 22, 2012 at 4:19
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    cheapest = "least expensive", but you are right: $3000 is too expensive for me, I'll explore new options (the idea is to stay a couple of month in Australia and then return)
    – Ivan
    Commented May 22, 2012 at 8:14
  • I believe the duty on cars to Thailand and to Australia from Thailand are nil after the signing of the free trade agreement between the countries. I hear though that Thailand is not living up to its obligations.
    – user22736
    Commented Nov 22, 2014 at 2:20
  • This should be in expats forum, not travel forum. Moving a car between countries that do not border each other via land and all the work required implies a long term commitment to stay in that country.
    – Jon Grah
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 3:07

3 Answers 3


I can't help with the logistics of actually getting the vehicle between Thailand and Australia, however despite what is and isn't possible there, there's no cheap way to do what you're asking.

Australia has a relatively strict process for approving imported vehicles, which would normally only be worthwhile if the car was in some way special. If the vehicle is left-hand drive (ie, the steering wheel is on the left) then there are even stricter rules regarding importing.

You can most of the details in the Importing Vehicles to Australia Brochure.

If you are only planning to import the vehicle temporarily you can get by with having a Carnet de Passage en Douane (CPD), but even this will not be cheap — especially as you'll have to pay for transportation in both directions. There have been a few other questions here regarding CPD that you'll be able to find by searching.

Unless there are (very!) special circumstances, selling your car in Thailand and buying a new one in Australia will work out much cheaper than trying to transport it.

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    Thailand we drive on the left like the UK, Japan and Australia, so steering wheel is on the right (right hand drive). Cars in Thailand are chartged up to 400% import tax (coming in) - so a newish car will have cost a lot of money compared to Australia, so it may be worth while to export it. However, I would think he is best to sell it (prices hold very well here - almost no secondary depreciation even after a decade or more) and buy again, he will probably make money out of it.
    – Wolf5370
    Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 10:12
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    There is high import tax in Thailand, you are better off selling it -- since you sell the value of the import tax along with the car. Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 3:47

I can't tell you the absolute cheapest, but I can tell you it's not commonly done. It is however uncommonly done - by people on "adventure" trips, challenges, etc.

One current such adventure I could think of is "It's on the Meter - World Taxi Challenge". I had heard that they had travelled with their London Taxi from England to Australia so did some searching for how they got to Australia.

In a Wall Street Journal article linked from the Wikipedia page I found this line which may be of interest to you:

When they ran out of land between Singapore and Darwin, Australia, the cab was loaded onto a cargo ship at a cost of $3,000.

So I don't know whether you regard $3,000 as "cheap" or not. If you're on a weekend jaunt to Australia in some old banger then perhaps not, if you're fulfilling a childhood dream or drunken bet to drive to Australia in some bizarre or interesting jalopy and would be doing it anyway for the adventure, then perhaps this is a good ballpark figure.


If you want to bring it back here (to Thailand) you will almost certainly have to pay import tax on it (even if it was Thai to begin with). Prices hold very well here with secondary depreciation almost nil (primary depreciation is when it is first bought and goes from new to second hand - this is still low in Thailand) and prices hold for more than a decade easily on well maintained cars. Also, if it was a foreign model (i.e. not assembled in Thailand) then it would have had up to 400% import tax applied to its price when purchased.

All this means it will be cost effective to sell it here (Thailand) and buy again in Australia - you will probably be able to sell a reasonably new car (say 5 year old) and still make money after buying new in Australia (like for like models of course).

There is no ferry - it is half the globe away! Like a ferry to South Africa! Only way is to ship it.

  • A ferry from Thailand to South Africa? Really? That's very interesting :)
    – Ivan
    Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 13:06
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    Think you missed my point there Ivan - I was implying that it is too far (as it is from Thailand to SUD) - not trying to sell tickets on a new venture. Anyway, can I interest you in a second hand bridge?
    – Wolf5370
    Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 13:24
  • Ah! Ok, fast reading problem :) No, the idea is to drive with my own car from India, then leave the car in Australia (very old car)
    – Ivan
    Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 14:28

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