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Kava Research Delivery to different countries experiences

Discussion in 'Kava Lounge' started by nabanga, Oct 25, 2019.

  1. nabanga

    nabanga Kava Enthusiast

    I thought it might be useful to start a register of experiences of getting kava delivered to various countries. Theres been a few threads on delivery to UK, canada, australia, NZ in the past but having everyones experiences all in one place on importing, customs, import tax, clearance problems, trying to describe kava to authorities, lengthy stays in tiny dark rat infested concrete cells etc might be useful for future reference to those of us who carry a few bricks in our suitcases or order into non-kava countries.

    For myself, I often move between the Pacific (Tonga, Vanuatu, Samoa) and SE Asian countries and have had mostly good experiences of importing kava. So to get the ball rolling:

    Laos: No problems at all either through regular mail or DHL. No duty to pay if you go to collect between 11am-2pm when all the customs guys go to lunch. I've imported about 100kg over 14 years.

    Cambodia: Similar to Laos - no tax or duty, delivered direct to you by DHL etc. I've imported about 20kg over the last 5 years

    Vietnam: Possible but expensive and lots of hoops to jump through. You must use DHL or similar or it will dissappear into the black hole that is Vietnam Post. You pay 40% ("tea" rate) import tax on kava cost plus freight cost then 10% of the grand total on top as GST. So all in all about 55% extra on top of what the kava cost you. Before this there are many questions to answer - every possible detail on the product. Make sure it is packaged properly with a brand name label.
    Bringing kava into Vietnam by yourself by plane no problem at all - done many times over the last 10 years.

    Thailand - no problems but some people have reported getting taxed. But always straightforward and easy.




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  2. Kojo Douglas

    Kojo Douglas Kava Enthusiast

    I've had Kava delivered to Ghana, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, and Ethiopia with no problems. I've also brought it into Madagascar, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and a few others. So if you're ever in Africa and need some root....
  3. Go Krunk Yourself

    Go Krunk Yourself Kava Enthusiast

    KWK offers great and cheap rates to Thailand which I've taken advantage of plenty. They put tea on the customs forms which aren't supposed to be taxed I believe and the value quite low, or maybe even 0 I can't remember, either way I don't remember paying and my Kava always comes fine.
  4. Edward

    Edward Aluballin' in the UK Kava Vendor

    UK: If you order marked as kava it will get seized even if you mark it as for other than human consumption. You will get away with ordering as long as you get it named as anything other than kava. That will work until they open your package at random in which case they will seize it and you will get a visit from the police to tell you not to do it again in which case you need to use a different address. Stackry is the best option, order anything to be sent to New Hampshire, get it repackaged and sent on to you. www.stackry.com
    Krun╩×y likes this.
  5. nabanga

    nabanga Kava Enthusiast

    More on importing into Vietnam....after paying an eye watering amount of tax, DHL and Customs told me I needed to get a letter from the Ministry of Industry & Trade saying it was OK to import 5kg of kava. This huge Ministry building, in the middle of Hanoi, is off limits to everyone without an invitation and nobody answers phones, but after a week getting to know the AK-toting security guard on the gate I eventually got in. There is no reception in the building, just miles of corridors and empty rooms like most communist SE Asia government buildings, but eventually met an english speaker who guided me for 2 hours round 6 offices collecting forms, before eventually taking me into see the Director General in his huge cavernous office full of aquariums and jade statues. He seemed to think I was some sort of foreign emissary rather than just a guy off the street, and promised me a letter signed by the Minister himself. So to get kava, a letter from the Minister of Trade of a country of 90 million people is needed, for a start.

    Three reminders and a week later the letter arrives and i send it on to Customs. They appear stunned that I was able to jump through the hoop they set for me, and then go silent for 2 weeks.

    Then yesterday I got summoned to the airport customs office an hour away, and told to bring my passport, with no further details. So after telling my wife to call the embassy if i dont come back, set off on my bike. Inside Customs they tell me to wait, and nothing happens for 2 hours till someone came and told me to approach a desk where my 5 kilo bags were laid out in a row, with 4 goons in khaki uniforms behind the desk facing me. Not a good vibe. They asked me how to prep the kava, how often i drink it, and why i didnt stick to vietnamese green tea, and what effects it has. They then asked me to sign a paper, which got the blood pressure up. They were clearly fishing for something to put me in a vulnerable position, but I kept coming back to the letter of approval from the Minister that they couldnt argue with. In the end they said i couldn't have it as the label didnt give enough detail on date of manufacture, address of factory etc, but then after the 3 male interrogators wandered off, the female one said she would make an exception and let me have it this time.
    To my amazement, after a 5 week obstacle course, the next day it was delivered, but I wouldnt ever try to order in to vietnam again - just not worth the risk of losing it or worse.

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  6. kasa_balavu

    kasa_balavu Yaqona Dina

    Wow, that sounds like quite the ordeal. Took some perseverance.
    Thanks for sharing your experience.
  7. Henry

    Henry . Moderator The Kava Society of New Zealand

    Crazy. I've been told that in Southeast Asia they generally let it through when it is sent from a "developed country" and has all the appropriate food labels. I once sent our kava to Malaysia and the recepient was asked to ask me for a piece of paper stating it was legal food in NZ. I printed an e-mail from the MPI, attached it to NZ kava food standard and they were happy with it.
  8. nabanga

    nabanga Kava Enthusiast

    @Henry Most places in SEA it is fine, but because nobody in Vietnam knew what it was they just assumed it must be sinister and so nobody wanted to be responsible for releasing it, despite there being no rules against its import.
    They did mention the food labels not having all the required info, but as I had signed something confirming it was personal use that rule doesn't apply (in vietnam) anyway.

    In neighbouring countries - Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, customs don't care, but Vietnam is much more officious - they have reams and reams of Decrees, Regulations & Prime Ministers Decisions published, and unlike neighbouring countries they are quite keen to enforce them.

    Anyway, drama over. Time for a mix!


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  9. Kojo Douglas

    Kojo Douglas Kava Enthusiast

    Communism + Corruption make Jack a dull boy.

    I would imagine someone was looking for a bribe somewhere. These folks almost never ask explicitly. Whenever something is "held up" for me, it is because they expect a bribe. Depending on how badly I need the thing, I may pay it.
    JohnMichael likes this.
  10. Kavadrop

    Kavadrop New Member

    I know it might not be relevant to this thread but has shipping from Vanuatu been absurdly expensive? The people at DHL there seemed very eager to get the shipping contract and are charging me an almost sinister amount
  11. Edward

    Edward Aluballin' in the UK Kava Vendor

    DHL are just gougers on a level similar to Disney... charging you $366 for two people and then wanting $25 for you to park! In some cases I have heard of people being asked for payments of more than the value of the package in order for them to get it into the country and deliver it to you. I know that happened in the Phillippines.
    Henry likes this.
  12. nabanga

    nabanga Kava Enthusiast

    DHL in vanuatu is ran by a bunch of cowboys. They charge way more (3x in my experience) than DHL Fiji, and if you are receiving goods in vanuatu via DHL, they charge a fortune for "clearance", spend a month filling out forms and then charge you for a months storage. They have a very poor reputation locally. I would avoid them completely. There is definitely room for a more honest courier company in vanuatu.



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  13. Kavadrop

    Kavadrop New Member


    Who else do you advise using out of Vanuatu? Port Vila seems like the logical location and I only see people talking about FR8 and DHL which are both run by the same teams. Any advice is very appreciated.
  14. Henry

    Henry . Moderator The Kava Society of New Zealand

    There is simply no cost effective way of shipping under 100kgs of kava out of Vanuatu. Airmail is the only alternative to DHL for small parcels and that's neither cheap not reliable
    Kavadrop likes this.
  15. Kavadrop

    Kavadrop New Member

    Guess I'll be going with Chris and his team at DHL then...
  16. Kapmcrunk

    Kapmcrunk The Kaptain of Crunk KavaForums Founder

    Time to buy a boat!
  17. kasa_balavu

    kasa_balavu Yaqona Dina

    Of if you're trying to get a hundred kilos into Australia: