Best place in South East Asia to get something shipped from USA?

I want to buy a new backpack and get it shipped from the US. I’m currently in Ubud and generally in Southeast Asia for the next few months. What’s the most reliable place to get a product shipped to?

I know Hubud will let you receive packages but I’m a little too nervous about customs grabbing it or it taking forever and arriving after I’m gone (here for 1 month). The shipping cost to me is free and I’m happy to pay a reasonable fee to customs or whatever to get it reliably delivered. Any specific tips for Bali? Anybody successfully done this?

Places like Singapore and Hong Kong are a bit later in the schedule, wondering if those are generally more reliable places for this kind of thing and worth it to just wait until then.

Any advice is very much appreciated.

Thailand is fine, I’ve had things shipped to me there and they arrived quickly.

I haven’t had anything shipped to other countries but I expect Laos and Cambodia would be a different story to Thailand. I’d be very wary about Vietnam also.

Try to avoid Indonesia for importing stuff, if the value is more than 50$ you will have to pay custom and it’s very difficult to know what you will pay (there is nothing that talk about that on internet ), the customs fees varies from 0% to 100% (yes yes, 100% of the price, I’ve seen that once… )

I’m based in Singapore and I would suggest to wait till you’re here. I get a lot of stuff shipped from overseas including the US and it always goes smoothly. Just note that any packages over SGD 400 will be charged with tax, so you might want to break up your packages if possible.

I bought something on Amazon for $200 and got it shipped to Vietnam after 1 week. Shipping and customs fees costed ~$100.

Thanks folks. This is super helpful. I decided to go ahead and roll the dice and get it shipped to Bali. I’ll report back here with how it goes.

Question for those who did have to pay customs. How does that actually work? Do you have to pay cash on delivery or do you get a bill delivered to you?

You pay cash on delivery. If they find your house :smiley:

Singapore is great. Just keep everything coffee mugs and happiness so your alcohol doesn’t get figured out.

So as promised here’s the report. I ended up having the new backpack shipped to Hubud in Ubud, Bali. The company shipped it via UPS and it sailed across the world in 2 days until it landed in Jakarta. Here’s what happened next…

First the bag simply disappeared from tracking. With UPS, packages should be scanned every day even if they are sitting in a warehouse. After 4 business days of nothing, I contacted the shipper (company I bought the bag from) they promptly filed “a lost package exception” arguing that with no scans for 4 days the package was effectively off the grid. Uh oh…

Meanwhile I made about 8 different calls to UPS HQ and UPS Jakarta. The contact info from HQ was incorrect and some of the numbers listed on their website for Jakarta office didn’t even have the right number of digits :-/

I finally connected with someone who told me that the Exception had been filed and they need 8-10 business days to “resolve the exception” … I asked “You mean 8-10 days to find my package?”… “Yes.”

Mega-bummer. For some reason I just didn’t trust that process so I called Jakarta again the next day. This amounts to sitting on Skype and hitting redial between 15 and 22 times before someone will pick up. I got ahold of someone who, now roughly 10 days since the package arrived in Jakarta, said, “Oh, we need a proof of payment from you because customs disputes the value listed by the shipper.” They claimed they had trouble finding my contact info even though I gave them my email, US mobile, Indo mobile and the number of Hubud where they could leave a message to 4 different people already.

Whatever. I emailed them a PDF of the Paypal receipt, they submitted it to customs and we waited 4 days.

So customs… I knew I would have to pay customs but there is literally no way to pre-determine the amount you will have to pay, it’s just determined on the spot by some negotiation between a local broker (hired by UPS) and customs. As far as I can tell there is no dispute mechanism.

Customs came back, a whopping 42% of the total price of the backpack. Ho-Ly Crap. But there was nothing I could do at this point, either I paid or I don’t get the backpack. The package made it from Jakarta to Ubud in 24 hours. I had to wait at Hubud and pay the delivery guy small fortune in cash to receive the package.

On the whole I would recommend not having anything of value shipped to you in Indonesia but if it’s necessary, hopefully this will give some idea of what to expect. About 2.5 weeks of delay, >40% custom duties and taxes and several hours on Skype.

So what was all the hassle about? The Outlier Ultrahigh travel bag. I’m glad I bought it when I did because it’s sold out now and it is freaking amazing, but what an ordeal!

Hi Tyler! I read your post and wonder if the same applies to Thailand. I’m flying out next Wednesday to Bangkok for 1 year and unfortunately the toiletries I have will not fit in my bag. I went to the Post Office and a large box would be a flat rate of $88.00.

Do you think Customs will charge me more if put the value is $100?

Norwegian Airlines is very strict and I already have 2 checked bags, 1 carry on and 1 personal item. I need my products, but I would hate for them to be stolen or be charged a crazy fee. Thanks in advance : )

I had an Amazon global shipping in Koh Tao in Thailand last summer without a problem, value was around 250-300 US$. It wasn’t fast but it worked.