Asian Motorcycle Adventures

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by daewoo, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    I know that some regulars here are undoubtedly seriously involved with AMA, so I will be as delicate with my wording of these questions as possible.

    I have been looking at their tour site, and some of the offerings look absolutely awesome, but the prices seem pretty expensive.

    I would estimate the daily costs for a moto tour to be along the lines of;
    $20 - bike
    $20 - food
    $20 - average for accommodation, (some nights much cheaper, some more)
    $10 - fuel
    $75 - guide (THB60,000/month)
    $100 - beer but that isn't included anyway.

    Total cost less beer about $145.

    I think these costs might be a little high (other than the beer), so it seems that the tour price would be making 100% each day.

    I have a mate about to start a tour with hidden Cambodia at $US100/day and that seems pretty high, but the $230-$280/day is quite expensive.

    The tours do look great and I am sure having one of the experienced guides would provide access to very many things that a self supported rider would miss, that is why I am looking at it, but that sort of folding is very hard come buy for most of us.

    Do I have my cost estimates wrong?
    Are there many extras that I haven't taken into account?
    Are those prices targeted at rich rich American stock brokers, not us paupers from the land Downunder? (our Paso being worth about nothing most of the time).

    What do people who are either involved with AMA or have experienced both think?

    Cheers,
    Daewoo
     
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  3. BobS

    BobS Ol'Timer

    Forget about a guided tour. You can do it solo with a 200 baht map and a little common sense.

    BobS

    "The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not and never persist in trying to set people right."
     
  4. helenk

    helenk Ol'Timer

    We didn't even have the common sense; just the map. [:D]

    Look at our photos:
    http://davkel4.allhyper.com/
     
  5. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    I hope to have common sense one day... until then...

    Sorry for keeping this old thread alive...

    The whole reason I travel is to meet people... all together I have probably spent 5 days sight seeing in my lifetime...

    The language barrier has always created difficulty for me when I have travelled in Thailand... eventually you will get as close to receiving what you have ordered in a restaurant as the Farrang who speaks Thai, but chatting to the waitress/owner is very difficult...

    I am wondering if there are guides that you can hire to take with you on these sorts of rides...

    I know that there are bars full of girls who will accompany you for THB1000/day plus barfine, but my travelling companions are all married, to farrang [:(] ... if you were to take a working girl are you even less likely to strike up a conversation with the locals???

    I wouldn't think of taking a guide to show me the way around, that is part of the adventure, but if they can take you places you wouldn't go otherwise, or allow you more interaction with the locals, then they are very useful...

    Thoughts???
     
  6. BobS

    BobS Ol'Timer

    Some thoughts:

    1. You say that you travel to meet people, but exactly what people do you want to meet? Small town Thais, expats, backpackers, other riders? This will determine where you ride and stopover.

    2. Most Thais never travel, so they make terrible guides. Your average bar girl can get a tuk-tuk to her room, and a bus back to her village - not much more.

    3. Anytime you travel with a group, you have to adapt to the group - both in riding and in food and accomodation. A tour operator has to fit the ride to the least experienced rider and the rest depends on the budget.

    4. You looking for a guide as a passenger, or riding his own bike?

    5. What are your time consraints, and what type of riding you looking for?

    6. Tour itineraries always look good, but try to contact someone who has taken that tour from that operator. A reputable tour operator won't be afraid to give you some names.

    BobS

    "The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not and never persist in trying to set people right."
     
  7. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    Bob,

    Thanks for your reply, and your advice. It really is appreciated.

    I am interested in meeting anyone, expats, locals, kids... Really anyone other than typical backpackers... My trips in Thailand, especially Southern Thailand showed me that English is really not that widely spoken outside of BKK and tourist destinations... I enjoyed the times when I had a Thai speaking mate to help me talk to people much more than the times when I was travelling alone...

    I understand your point about most Thai's not being well travelled, and bargirls even less. I think I know more about getting around BKK outside of a Taxi than most bar girls. I was more interested in a translator to help relate to the locals, but then thinking that you might be shunned by the same people if you turn up with a bar girl on the back of the bike... Do you think this is true???

    I would probably be the least experienced rider, having ridden Honda Waves a little. Most of the rides here seem to concentrate on tarmac, where as we thought it would be more dirt roads... I think that dirt bikes are more forgiving than road bikes... Is that true???

    I am not really concerned about how the guide would accompany us, I just wanted to know if they were available, as I have only seen the website for AMA who seem to provide whole packages at a price premium... Are there guys around that you can pay to accompany you for a couple of days riding, who know where to eat and will be able to help you strike up conversations with the locals??? That is really all I am looking for...

    I think we would only have between 7 and 10 days, this trip... We were looking at doing a few one or two day loops out of Chiang Mai, but really would be guided by suggestions as things start to get a little more firmed up... Like I said, I have almost no ridding experience, so easy dirt roads seemed a little easier than tarmac with trucks to contend with... Or a dirt bike on tarmac, which are probably a little more forgiving if you hit some dirt mid corner...

    Other than AMA, are there independent guides around??? For instance, almost all of my friends have used the same guide in Siem Reap, we know that he is a good, genuine guy... He is completely independent of any hotel, guesthouse or tour company... Just a guy with an email address and a mobile number...

    Once again, thanks for your advice Bob, it seems a shame that you seem to bear the burden of providing most of the advice on this forum, even though there must be lots of other lurkers out there with some advice or experience...

    Cheers,
    Daewoo
     
  8. BobS

    BobS Ol'Timer

    Hi Daewoo - see below

    "I would probably be the least experienced rider, having ridden Honda Waves a little. Most of the rides here seem to concentrate on tarmac, where as we thought it would be more dirt roads... I think that dirt bikes are more forgiving than road bikes... Is that true???"

    For all around use, a 250cc dualsport is a great choice. More than enough power to get around. Riding 2 up is OK, just not a lot of room for luggage. However, riding knobby tires on paved roads can feel odd at first.

    But, have you read the section titled Colin's Honda Wave Tour? This guy was over last year, bought a Honda Wave, and went everywhere on it. That might be a decent choice for you and your friends - at least for the first loop ride out of Chiang Mai. Obviously not great on a highway, but fine for the smaller roads, and they handle dirt roads and trails well. Cheaper to rent as well. BTW, how big is your group?

    "I was more interested in a translator to help relate to the locals, but then thinking that you might be shunned by the same people if you turn up with a bar girl on the back of the bike... Do you think this is true???"

    Thais are better than falangs at spotting working girls. You would get a translator, but not much more. Meeting locals will depend more on your actions and attitudes in the places you stay.

    "Are there guys around that you can pay to accompany you for a couple of days riding, who know where to eat and will be able to help you strike up conversations with the locals???"

    You should meet up with the local riders and take some notes. That and a good map will get you around fine. Check out the rides described on the GT site. You won't find many backpackers in those places. Dave Unkovich has a useful guidebook listed on the site. It is a few years old, but the routes are still valid. More of the roads are paved and there are more places to stay and eat. All this advice might cost you a few beers. You would probably have to feed Unkovich as well.

    "Once again, thanks for your advice Bob, it seems a shame that you seem to bear the burden of providing most of the advice on this forum"

    The jury is still out on several issues:
    1. Do I know what I am talking about?
    2. Do I merely have more extra time to kill?
    3. Am I just a frustrated writer who needs to be published?

    Seriously, there are quite a few riders that give great advice on this board. We do get tired of the guys that ask questions that have already been answered on the GT site and on the board. They usually get told to do a search and read the answers. Your questions are a bit different, and deserve some discussion.

    Most of us came here with no language skills in Thai, and still had great times riding. Don't be afraid to try it. Show up with a good attitude and you will have a good time.

    BobS

    "The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not and never persist in trying to set people right."
     
  9. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    Daewoo,

    Just come to Chiang Mai and meet up with some of us if you want some first hand advice or as Bob says, just get a map and rent a 250 Enduro and you are set for all the adventure you should need. Yes, a lot of the roads are paved but that does not necessarily equate to a lot of traffic or trucks once clear of the city. If you want dirt roads, they are easy to find and you really do not have to go that far.

    I spent the last weekend in a Lisu village, delivering some blankets and clothes, in a mountain location that was as extreme as one could want, and that was only about 2.5 hours out of Chiang Mai.

    We have also done dirt roads and trails over the top of Doi Pui on my Tiger Joker 120cc, the Thai equivalent of a Honda Dream, and had a ball, less than half a days ride. There are good paved roads up to the highest point in Thailand, Doi Inthanon, or you can take a dirt road up the backside. The main thing is just get here, get a map, maybe a little advice, get on a bike and go. Don't make a big deal out of it. There are riders renting bikes and heading out of Chiang Mai everyday bound for somewhere that meets their adrenalin needs. I have a female falang friend who has taken her Honda Wave to Chiang Dao Cave by herself and didn't think twice.

    For sure, don't waste you money on some type of tour or a guide.

    Dave Early

    Ever notice that "What the Heck!" is usually the right answer?
     
  10. Pikey

    Pikey Ol'Timer

    I completely agree with Dave here Daewoo, don't worry about inexperience, just get yourself over here, rent a bike (start small) and sample some easy day loops as detailed on this site and build yourself (and your group?) into bigger things. I myself have only lived in CM for 4 months but it is friendly, cheap and there is a very active biking "scene" here with people like Dave, David Unkovitch and many more only happy to share advice and tales over a few cold ones.

    Do it and you will have no regrets!

    Cheers and hope to see you,

    Pikey
     
  11. jimoi

    jimoi Ol'Timer

    Daewoo,
    again, I agree with those above. You should only have a guide if you are going severely off road where no directions on the map are to be found. Places like the hills of northern Vietnam and Cambodia as well as single track trails in Laos are good ideas for getting a guide but Thailand is a piece of cake. The Thailand A - Z road atlas has never failed me but some of the smaller 3000 and 4000 series roads are not listed.

    My best advice, just do it. A stop in Chaing Mai is a great idea and meet some of the names you see above, all good people and there's good cold beers there for less than $100 a day. If you really want a tour guide and will pay $100 a day in beer, I'll do it for that in a heartbeat, lemme know where - hell, I'll take you 2 up on my bike!

    jimoi

    Ride Safe
     
  12. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    The $100 a day in beer is just for me... some of the bars charge up to 200 baht each beer you know... at that rate it is ONLY 20 beers a day... and I am not sharing when I get down to those numbers...

    As inviting as it sounds, I am not sure that would fit in with the whole image I am looking for when I tell people I rode around Northern Thailand... In fact it would probably do as much damage to my reputation as the story that I bar fined the same lady-boy twice in Pattaya... (the cousin of a friend, but somehow that is always left out when my mates are relating the story to others)...

    I am only concerned about the Language barrier, but I think that you are right, get the book, the map, the bike and go...

    Cheers,
    Daewoo
     
  13. BobS

    BobS Ol'Timer

    Must be those ladyboy bars in Pattaya that charge 200 baht for a beer.

    Other than the hi-so overpriced hotels, I don't know of anyplace in Chiang Mai that charges that much.

    So, we look forward to you buying for the rest of us.

    Cheers

    BobS

    "The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not and never persist in trying to set people right."
     
  14. Tom Forde

    Tom Forde Ol'Timer

    Hi Mate,
    Just get up there as silverhawk says, the Thai people are the most friendliest in the world, I was on my way to Europe in 2004, met up with the boys in Chiang Mai and spent a year riding around S.E Asia, bought a town house and rode back to Aussie, 38,000k and 9 countries later.
    I am 57 next month, and a grandfather with type 2 diabetes. (I bet you didn't know that dave!). Without a bloody guide! (there again a few Thai girls did show me around)
    I intend to eventually live up there once I get my shit together.

    check out my web site if you like, www.fordy.smugmug.com
    Have a good one

    Tom Forde
     
  15. Pikey

    Pikey Ol'Timer

    Daewoo, as Bob says, bar prices are very reasonable here unless you get trashed in a girlie bar and ring the bell! As a quick guide, here's an example of prices in my place - small Heineken/San Miguel 65B, small Tiger/Singha 55B, large Singha 105B, large Chang 75B, imported spirits between 65 and 110b/shot

    Hope all the advice here swings you to make the trip. You won't be disappointed ;-)
     

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