19

It is well known that a foreigner who wants to drive a foreign vehicle inside China needs to be accompanied by a guide - which makes this very costly: I have been quoted almost 7000 USD for 2 weeks drive through China, which is not something I am willing to pay, so either I find another way, or abandon the idea for the trip.

One travel agent claims to be able to arrange self-driving in China without a guide, but attempts to get in contact with him are unsuccessful: http://www.laurastraveltales.com/overlanding/overlanding-china-self-drive-and-without-a-guide-its-now-possible/

However lets look at these facts:

1) Foreigners can get a Chinese driving licence in China and drive Chinese-registered vehicles inside China without being accompanied by a guide.

2) For the expensive tourist self-drive through China with a guide, one needs to obtain a Chinese driving licence and affix Chinese licence plates for the vehicle anyway.

If the foreigner has a Chinese driving licence and his vehicle has Chinese licence plates, what makes him still need to be accompanied by a guide, while the same foreigner with his Chinese driving licence could borrow a Chinese vehicle and drive it himself without a guide? What makes the vehicle he brought from abroad, which now has Chinese licence plates, any "less Chinese" then a vehicle he could borrow in China and drive without a guide? What caveat in Chinese law requires one to be accompanied by a guide in one situation, but not the other? What I am missing here?

  • Questions tagged [rationale] and [legal] are a hard one but my guess is that in the one case the car has to enter and leave China before and after the trip. – mts Aug 1 '16 at 9:50
  • It could be a scam by tourist agencies, rather than a real requirement. – JonathanReez Supports Monica Aug 1 '16 at 12:02
  • i was just wondering, how can you bring a foreign vehicle to China ?! – Fattie Aug 1 '16 at 16:03
  • 1
    Sure - I just meant, I mean, from what country!? Surely you mean driving it in to China right? (ie, not arriving by RoRo or some such ??) – Fattie Aug 1 '16 at 16:10
  • 1
    @JoeBlow yes, for example driving from Kyrgyzstan via the Irkeshtam border crossing, and then to exit China to Laos via Mohan Port crossing. – yannn Aug 1 '16 at 16:14
2

I'm unable to quote any laws or regulation here, but take a closer look at it, in the end the cases are different:

License
As I wrote in my answer to your related question here, in case 2) you only get some sort of temporary driving licenses. Whereas in case 1) you will need a full-blown Chinese driving license, international licenses are not accepted.

Car Registration
Again, in case 1) there is nothing special about the car, but in case 2) you are temporarily importing a foreign car and in just about any place in the world there is paperwork etc. associated with that.

So I see it from the point of view that scenario 2) is a fairly special case for the authorities since you do not have a Chinese license and import a car. Instead of saying no they do allow this, but under the special conditions of a needed tour company + guide.

  • 1
    In case the downvote was more than a revenge-dv please do let me know so that I can improve this answer. – mts Oct 21 '16 at 12:01
  • What I don't understand is how for example people in north Vietnam would visit their friends across the border or go shopping in China? It would be bizarre for them to hire a tour company and guide. In all the rest of the world (except North Korea and Myanmar) such things as cross-border car trips are common and normal thing to do, facilitating commerce and allowing people living close to each other, but separated by a border to maintain connections. Does such things simply do not exist across the Chinese border, with own vehicles of residents of neighbouring countries? – yannn Nov 26 '16 at 18:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.