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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Biking in Thailand: Ride Thailand/Big Bike Tour - FAQs

During and after my 1 week biking expedition in Thailand, there have been a series of questions related to cost of the trip and other aspects. Compiling them below in a FAQ format, so that prospective riders can get their doubts clarified.

1. How much does riding in Thailand cost?
A: Answer to this question varies on multiple factors like type of bike, no of people, no of days, type of hotel etc. An equivalent of what we did- A team of 5 riders and support van, for 7 days/2000kms, using moderate bikes like Kawasaki Versys/Honda CB 500X and staying at best of the hotels in town would cost THB 70000 (INR 1.5 lakhs) per person. Cost includes Bike Rental, fuel, hotel stay, food and services of a support team. Flight and visa expenses extra. Cost will go up if you want expensive bikes like Harley Davidson, cost can go down if you opt for cheaper bikes/budget hotels. If you have a larger group, per person cost can come down. Discuss with Ridethailand.com to customize a trip for your group.

2. What kind of license do I need to ride a bike in Thailand?
A: Your home country driving license, if in English, is good enough to ride a bike in Thailand.
3. Do we really need a support team? Can I ride around on my own?
A: Yes, it is possible to ride around on your own, if you are confident enough. However, having a support team gets you following advantages
- Support team can talk to local people in local language for any information/issues and help you optimize your experience.
- They regularly check the bike and keep it well maintained
- Should you encounter an issue like an accident or other emergency, dealing with it alone without local help will be very stressful.
- Support van can carry your luggage, allowing you to ride comfortably, otherwise luggage have to be loaded on the bike.

If you intend to ride just around the city for a day, then you do not need a support team. A map would be enough. If you're riding several days, across the country, having a support team is recommended.

4. What is different in riding a motorcycle in Thailand? Why not do the same in India?
A: We can always ride around in India, but Thailand offers following unique advantages, not usually found in India
 - Great community of bikers- In every town, during every ride, you are very much likely to meet another team of bikers, who are riding across the country in their passionate motor cycles. If you have time and interest, they are always willing to talk about their motorcycles, journeys and so on. We met many such communities during our ride.
- Awesome roads- wide, well marked, minimal traffic. Curvy mountain roads are highly enjoyable. While India do have mountain roads, they often have less lanes and more traffic and in bad condition. Thus Thailand roads give an experience difficult to get in India. On highways, you get miles and miles of straight lines with no traffic where you can hit top speed of your bike and stay at that speed.
- Support infrastructure: Hotels have dedicated parking space for bikes, security are trained to keep an eye on them, tourism police give special considerations to bikers, car drivers on highway are very accommodating to bikers.
- Opportunity to try every available bike model: Options for bikers in India are limited. Not all popular high end bikes are sold in India and hardly any of them available for rent. Since most of us can't afford to buy these bikes, they are often out of reach for us. But in Thailand, for a few thousand rupees, top of the like Harley Davidson can yours for a day- enjoy it as much as you can and return the bike. No head ache of buying and maintaining superbikes (Read my similar article- Buying a car vs renting it)

5. Should I carry my helmet and other riding gear with me?
A: You can. But if you don't have one or don't want to carry, every biking accessory is available on rent or for purchase.

6. Can I go to other countries on bike as well from Thailand? Like Laos, Burma...
A: Yes, cross country biking trips are conducted on request. One of my fellow ride, Joshua Crasto specializes in organizing these trips. Earlier this year, about 150 bikers rode from Vietnam to Phuket as part of Phuket Bike Week.

7. Is biking the best way to explore Thailand?
A: Yes, if you're energetic enough to ride. Alternatively you can also rent a car and drive around easily or if that is not your type, you can opt for package tours where everything is organized for you.

8. What is the best season to Explore Thailand?
A: May to September are usually rainy seasons here, hence not the best time to bike around. Rest of the year are good. Winter is not too cold.

In April 2014, there'll be a popular event called Phuket Bike week. If you're serious about biking, plan a visit around this season to see thousands of bikes, meet fellow riders and have fun
9. What happens if there's an accident?
Like any adventure or activity, riding bikes has its risks, just as it is in your home country. Bikes are covered by Insurance and as a tourist, you're required to take travel insurance, to cover your medical expenses. If an unfortunate accident happens which causes injury/death to others, you may not be able to leave the country till the case is settled. If you ride carefully in a group, such possibilities are very low, as the country as a whole is very accommodating to bikers.

12 comments :

Ashwini Ashokkumar said...

wow! the bike looks so cool

Shrinidhi Hande said...

:)

Dheeraj Sharma said...

Super information !! A different view and way of exploring thailand... Seems need to save for such a trip starts now? Wish to take the own bike there one day :D

R Niranjan Das said...

Helpful informations!

Empty Rucksack said...

but does Thailand match the awesome scenery and the lovely roadside dhabas of India! useful information! thanks

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Dheeraj: Some people do drive from India to Thailand via Burma. You can try that option.

Niranjan: Thanks. When are your posts coming up?

ER: Thanks

Athenas Take said...

Biking with the support group is what I would opt for and enjoy the bike ride and leave the other tensions to the support team. Hope I can actually do something this amazing.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

AT: yes, having support team helps a lot

luke perry said...

Joining Amazing Bike Tours and their experienced guides for a cycling tour in Thailand’s Phuket, Krabi and Phang Nga provinces will allow you to immerse yourself in the culture, eat with the locals, experience nature and wildlife and witness some spectacular breath taking scenery.Asian Motorcycle Adventures

luke perry said...

Our tours are more than just cycling; we include other activities which vary depending on which bike tour you chose. Asian Motorcycle Adventures

Anonymous said...

Hi ,

We want to visit thailand via burma from india on bikes, kindly suggest us, what are the formalities to be completed

Thanks & Regards

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Hi

I suggest you check with Joshua Castro on this, as he is an expert on this topic.

You will need some local support in Burma, else it could be difficult when things go wrong.