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Thread: Bikes in Thailand - Things to know

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    Fyi Bikes in Thailand - Things to know

    Just been compiling what I hope is a useful page of tips and info on biking in Thailand.

    Source:

    Bikes in Thailand

    This is going to talk about the aspects of biking and what you need to know if you're riding a motorbike in Thailand.
    As many of you know Thailand is a popular holiday destination for tourists, expats and hardened bikers.
    Biking in this country can be a rewarding experience but also a dangerous one. The highways and roads are not for the faint-hearted.
    For all that you will get to see parts of the country independently that you would otherwise struggle to otherwise.
    Read on as I show you the ways of biking in Thailand.


    New bikers in Thailand

    Arrival in Thailand

    You know it, I know it, as soon as you see every other tourist on a bike in Phuket, Pattaya or Chiang Mai you'll be thinking to yourself 'I can do that' it's a cinch.

    Well there's nothing to stop you from renting a big sports bike for a days riding if you've never ridden a motor bike before it would be strongly recommended to consider starting with something more appropriate.

    Most Thai people ride the light scooters and mopeds out in Thailand. This is partly because of their small stature and partly because they are small cc engine bikes which are cheap to run and buy. There are other reasons of course but I'm generalising here.

    When you go to rent a bike make sure you check it over thoroughly. Tyres, coolant, fuel are all important checks. Next check it's not damaged. Now a big problem with renting inThailand is the fact that some places will want you to surrender your passport. This may cause problems as some unscrupulous bike rental places may try and claim damage has been done to the the bike when you return it and keep onto your passport as collateral.
    For this reason it's often wise to surrender a driving license or photo-copy of you passport visa pages and picture section.

    Choose a bike from the following range: Suzuki Spark, Honda Wave, Yamaha Click, Yamaha Mio, Yamaha Nouvo. These are all 100cc to 150cc and are either fully automatic or step-thru gears.
    Very easy for beginners to learn the ropes with.

    I know these bikes don't look cool compared to the big cruisers and so on but trust me if you're new to the roads in Thailand you're better learning on one of these than a big bike you need to work the clutch with.
    You've got the added advantage of them being lighter and more agile in slow moving traffic, something that the big bikers often come off worse in
    Road Rules in Thailand

    New Bikers in Thailand please take note...

    So once you've sourced your bike are about to ride out onto the roads.
    You can just buzz on out there and pick it up as you go along but knowing the basic rules of the road in Thailand.

    First off they drive on the 'wrong' side of the wrong. If you're lucky enough to be travelling from Jamaica, Ireland, Japan or the UK then you're in luck.

    The bigger vehicle you travel in gives you right of way over all smaller vehicles; This applies mainly for when there is two or more lanes, the bikes and slower vehicles usually stick to the bike lane and left-hand lane respectively. Faster cars and trucks stay in the right-hand lane when overtaking.

    Second off as a biker you are low on the pecking order of priority. Yes while you're out riding expect to be overtaken whilly nilly and buzzed by everyone who wishes to. Typically the larger the vehicle, the more it has 'presence' on the road.
    You can buck this trend and some do so but you're risking injury and your life if that car pulling up to the junction happens to ignore you coming past and just pulls out anyway.

    I'm painting a fairly grim picture and to be honest there are far worst countries to ride a bike in than Thailand. But you do need to be aware that as a small biker-rider you aren't immortal on these roads.

    Rules of the road in Thailand

    Eyes open and bike throttle steady

    Third and most important rule of all. LOOK EVERYWHERE you want to ride to. Pulling out, overtaking, turning etc without looking will kill or injure you if your luck isn't in.
    As long as you can keep a good eye on things and go with the flow of traffic you'll be alright 9 times out of 10.
    Once you adjust to traffic and acclimatise to it you'll start to feel more at home on the roads.

    Fourth rule is to keep sober as much as possible. Yes I know you're on holiday and want to let your hair down and party, cool for you and I'm sure you deserve it, but either keep to your limits or don't ride at all.

    Some thai friends of mine have bewildering mindsets of riding like mad on the drink and regard buddha as their co-pilot. At night-time it's often wise to be extra careful while riding.

    The Fifth I'd advise is to have decent holiday insurance. You probably won't need this but in case of a bad bike accident you really don't want to be spending fortunes on hospital expenses.

    Finally make sure you wear a helmet, wrap up and keep at least a layer of clothing on, it'll help reduce gashes and scratches as well as eliminate sun burn.

    I hope this hasn't put you off biking here in Thailand. Once you're experienced to the roads it's a great adventure to behold. Until you have at least a months experience I'd recommend a large dose of caution though.

    All this is assuming you're in tourist areas and NOT Bangkok!

    For Bangkok I'm covering it in a different section and you really do need to be on the top of your game for riding in the capital.
    Check list Prior to Biking

    Things to know

    Not only is it good to check out a bike for safety it also is wise prior to renting one to have a once-over of the machine in the presence of the owner. That way he can't 'create' ficticious damage when you return the bike...

    Checklist for bikes.

    Tyres / Pressure - Too much air in the tyre and the bike won't grip the road and .......

    Content continues on the source link.

    Hope you find the info helpful.
    If you think of anything I've missed (on the entire article) please let me know.

    Thanks for your time.
    Cheers.

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    A lousy and daring fellow Array Bubba's Avatar
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    Re: Bikes in Thailand - Things to know

    It's pretty good, though I take it you'll be expanding it later ? Maybe have one main page and links to subsections - more in the way of a webpage rather than a blog.

    I'd like to see basic maintenance video how-tos.
    Nuts In A Blender

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    Old Fart & Living Legend Array hippo's Avatar
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    Re: Bikes in Thailand - Things to know

    Please, please, please get some more experience here in Thailand before you tell others what to do. You can start by getting to know the rules of the road here and as for saying "...keep sober as much as possible. Yes I know you're on holiday and want to let your hair down and party, cool for you and I'm sure you deserve it, but either keep to your limits or don't ride at all." - words fail me!

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    Re: Bikes in Thailand - Things to know

    Hippo I will not and can not go around telling people what to do. That mindset belongs in the west where we have everyone policing each other and a soft version of 1984 is on the rise.

    I've been biking for 9 years on thai roads and am still alive and kicking. The page stands and so do I :D

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    Re: Bikes in Thailand - Things to know

    Quote Originally Posted by hippo View Post
    Please, please, please get some more experience here in Thailand before you tell others what to do. You can start by getting to know the rules of the road here and as for saying "...keep sober as much as possible. Yes I know you're on holiday and want to let your hair down and party, cool for you and I'm sure you deserve it, but either keep to your limits or don't ride at all." - words fail me!
    Totally correct.
    Frederick Douglass: Find out just what any people will quietly submit to
    and you have found out the exact measure of injustice
    and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these
    will continue till they are resisted with either
    words or blows, or with both.

    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn;
    ďDonít believe them, donít fear them, donít ask
    anything of them.Ē

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    Old Fart & Living Legend Array hippo's Avatar
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    Re: Bikes in Thailand - Things to know

    ^ As I said "You can start by getting to know the rules of the road here." which apparently you do not!
    Quote Originally Posted by Sphere Vision View Post
    if that car pulling up to the junction happens to ignore you coming past and just pulls out anyway.
    Have you any idea why they do that? There is a good reason!
    Quote Originally Posted by Sphere Vision View Post
    As long as you can keep a good eye on things and go with the flow of traffic you'll be alright 9 times out of 10.
    I do not want to be alright 9 times out of 10!

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    Re: Bikes in Thailand - Things to know

    Hippo, if you want it like home, GO HOME! :D

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    Re: Bikes in Thailand - Things to know

    Ooooo, we have an arrogant one here! What we have is a failure to communicate. Not a good way to start a thread; Hippo's got his creds; who are you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sphere Vision View Post
    If you think of anything I've missed (on the entire article) please let me know.
    So, what? Hippo gives you credible "constructive" criticism and you get belligerent? So the above quote is disingenuous, no?
    Last edited by THX 1133; 1st January 2010 at 23:53. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Re: Bikes in Thailand - Things to know

    I couldn't give a toss about the morality of your advice. People will ultimately do what they want to do.

    However, I'm almost positive that according to Thai law, a foreign driver must obtain a Thai license after a certain period of residency. Has anyone come across this? If it's true, you should add that in your necessities section.

    As for the cops, paying money on the spot for a fine does not always mean it's a bribe but you say as a matter of fact it is. Given the wrong situation, this assumption of tea money could lead to some unnecessary conflict IMHO. Also, are you sure speaking Thai with the brown shirts might help? It certainly doesn't help the Thais. Lots of folks believe the opposite is a better option. Some more emphasis in staying calm and respectful might help your readers as well.

    Just my two cents.

    Good luck with the site.

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    Re: Bikes in Thailand - Things to know

    Quote Originally Posted by Sphere Vision View Post
    That mindset belongs in the west where we have everyone policing each other and a soft version of 1984 is on the rise.
    we're not even close!

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    Re: Bikes in Thailand - Things to know

    Quote Originally Posted by Sphere Vision View Post
    Hippo, if you want it like home, GO HOME! :D
    What are you talking about? Could it have been in my reply to your "As long as you can keep a good eye on things and go with the flow of traffic you'll be alright 9 times out of 10."? So you are suggesting that things will not be alright 10% of the time? That's low odds! Nowhere have I suggested that I want it to be like home.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sphere Vision View Post
    I've been biking for 9 years on thai roads and am still alive and kicking.
    What does that prove? Two of my brothers have been driving for almost 40 years and I won't let them drive me anywhere!.

    I asked you question in a previous post about your quote -"if that car pulling up to the junction happens to ignore you coming past and just pulls out anyway." I see that you failed to answer it because you did not see it or you decided to ignore it, so I will repeat - Have you any idea why they do that? Yes, I do know the reason but do you?

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    Re: Bikes in Thailand - Things to know

    IT is clear from the long winded blog, that the OP hasn't taken a Thai Driving test nor does he know the rules of the Road in Thailand.

    First of all, I think that your blog is a good thought. I think that you write way too much. Keep it short and sweet. Keep your bias out of it.

    My rule for the road in Thailand, is that when I see foreigners on automatic motorcycles, I assume that they don't know how to ride. I stay clear of them 100%.

    Instead of making jokes about religion here, keep your statements to facts. Drunk driving may be common, but it is illegal. Remember that foreigners in accidents will 99% of the time be at fault even if they are not at fault.

    Also you say tourist Thailand and then say BKK. Bangkok is a tourist destination for many.

    I don't believe that you have been here for 9 years.

    You make a lot of observations that most newbies make. Perhaps your tone is directed at newbies so it makes you sound like one.

    The one rule for all motorcyclist anywhere in the world is that there are 2 kinds of drivers ones that have had accidents and those that will. Just because you have been in group one doesn't exclude you from group to either.

    I think it would be more helpful to suggest that instead of using the helmets from the shops, most suck ass, that they spend the 250 baht and buy their own. You might want to have some pictures of better styles and types of helmets. The cheap plastic ones without padding are a death sentence. If the strap is not secure it will rip your face right off. If you want pictures, I dig some up.

    Overall, I think that the OP has a good idea and intention. I think that he should go to the Thai motor vehicle office and get their input though.

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    Re: Bikes in Thailand - Things to know

    Quote Originally Posted by frankly speaking View Post
    I think it would be more helpful to suggest that instead of using the helmets from the shops, most suck ass, that they spend the 250 baht and buy their own. You might want to have some pictures of better styles and types of helmets. The cheap plastic ones without padding are a death sentence. If the strap is not secure it will rip your face right off. If you want pictures, I dig some up.
    He does.
    On The Road Thailand | Touring Chiang Mai | Biker Equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by frankly speaking View Post
    I think that he should go to the Thai motor vehicle office and get their input though.
    Input from a Thai bureaucrat. Hmmmm....

    Quote Originally Posted by frankly speaking View Post
    I think that you write way too much.
    Quote Originally Posted by frankly speaking View Post
    You make a lot of observations that most newbies make.
    I'd have to agree with those two points.

    Quote Originally Posted by frankly speaking View Post
    Instead of making jokes about religion here, keep your statements to facts. Drunk driving may be common, but it is illegal.
    I did find the flippancy odd. I don't think the comments about alcohol are even needed. Those who don't drink and drive won't. Those who do will do so regardless of the warnings. Just a thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by frankly speaking View Post
    My rule for the road in Thailand, is that when I see foreigners on automatic motorcycles, I assume that they don't know how to ride. I stay clear of them 100%.
    I think this is a bit of a newbie statement. I live on Phuket. Unless, shirtless, 20-something and driving at ridiculously high rates of speed, I'd choose to share the road with a conscientious foreigner over an oblivious Thai any day.

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    Re: Bikes in Thailand - Things to know

    crew my point about the avoiding foreigners, was the Automatic motorcycles. Not about foreigners vs. Thai.

    Many tourist opt for the automatic motorcycles because they are not experienced drivers and don't know how to shift. I also think that automatic motorcycles are slightly more awkward for handling. Your center of gravity needs to be adjusted a little. Motorcycles with a shifter or clutch usually tell me that the driver knows what he/she is doing.

    Of course that is just my bias because I don't like automatic motorcycles. But if you watch a lot of tourists that drive the automatics, then do tend to wipe out more often than someone who opted for the manual.

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    Senior Member Array THX 1133's Avatar
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    Re: Bikes in Thailand - Things to know

    Hmm, doesn't appear to be a newbie; just comes across badly writing on forums. Interesting website, thanks for the link crew. Oh, and he asks for feedback and gets rude when it doesn't suit him.

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