Backpacking SE Asia on a bike

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by lmacka, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. lmacka

    lmacka Active Member

    Good morning

    I've been tossing up the idea of buying myself a motorbike to tour Asia for a few weeks now. I have a month left on my visa in Thailand, then I'd want to cross a border into Cambodia, Vietnam or Laos (unsure which one yet).

    I'd probably spend the next month exploring North Thailand and heading down the eastern border, visiting towns on the way.

    I've looked at a few bikes and had many discussions as to what I should get, and I think the Phantom is a good option. Not too powerful or big, extremely common, comfortable and reliable enough. I wouldn't get anything smaller as I'm a pretty big lad (6 foot 4 and about 100kg) and get a sore arse on those little scooters. I don't care too much about speed, just smoothness, comfort and reliability.

    There is a Phantom for sale here in Chiang Mai for 35,000B with plates & book. It's currently owned by a policeman who is happy to keep the bike in his name. This, I hear, can make purchasing easier but I'm unsure how it'd affect border crossings.

    Bit about me... I'm 24, Australian and on a budget. Touring on bike would equate to roughly what I'd spend on plane tickets and is much more comfortable than those shitty busses!
    I'm a photographer, so the opportunities of a massive bike ride are obviously very attractive to me. I'm up for budget accommodation or staying on the side of the road, not fancy hotels. My riding experience is limited, although my time is not. I don't care to go fast, just want to take it nice and easy.

    So, I'm here chasing advice and feedback. To be more specific:

    1) How am I going to go with border crossings? Any tips/tricks to make it easier for me or should I just sell the bike at the end and buy another one in each country I visit?
    What is the viability of taking the same bike all around SE Asia?

    2) If/when I buy the bike, how hard would it be to onsell a month down the track? I can't seem to find many phantoms for sale online.

    3) Do you know anyone who has done this who is currently in Chiang Mai? Wouldn't mind having a chat.

    - Liam
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  3. jimoi

    jimoi Ol'Timer

    There are a lot of posts out there on border crossing and sales of bikes, fish around for a while.

    Based on a month and 1200 USD for the price of the Phantom:
    IMHO, rent a bike in Laos and Cambodia and save a bit on this. A rental might cost $ 800 but there is no re-sell headache or maintenance issues. If you go from Chiang Mai via bus to the border of Laos, take the boat down the Mekong, get a bike in Luang Prabang for 12 days or so, drop it in Vientiane, fly to Phnom Penh and rent a bike there. Flights VTE - PNH are about $ 185 and PNH - BKK is way less.
  4. lmacka

    lmacka Active Member

    Forum posts are one thing. Sitting down and having a beer with someone who's actually done it is another. I've found lots of information on forums and much of it conflicts.

    Renting a bike is an option but will prove to be FAR too expensive. I intend on spending months on the road, not weeks. Besides, I'd rather rig up my bike to carry my things well and this will involve modifications.
    At the end of my trip I don't mind hanging around for a couple of weeks to sell the bike.

    Again, time is not an issue. I quit my job and sold everything I owned back in Australia. I am, in the purest form of the word, free.
  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

  6. lmacka

    lmacka Active Member

    Thanks for this mate. I'll read slash's account in detail later today.
    As for those two pages, I've already found and read them - very good, however I'm really after confirmation that this info is still current. Especially the border stuff.

    A few direct questions...

    This copper is willing to keep the bike reg'd in his name. Should I do this or transfer the reg to my name? What are the pros/cons of each option?
    I have an address in Bangkok I can use.

    ITP Vehicle Passport. Still available? If so, where and is it worth the trip to get one? Currently in Chiang Mai.

    Naturally I'm always keen to meet for a beer and discuss if you're local. My shout!
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    1. Border info is "always" current on GT Rider. :)

    2. Get the bike registered in your name!

    3. Re the ITP - the owner of the bike gets this, not you. Get the bike registered in your name.
    BTW I don't think they are issuing ITP motorcycle passports in Chiang Mai anymore, only the Certificate of Registration. However the Certificate replaces the ITP motorcycle passport.

    Swing by the Kafe 9.30PM+ & I will be there tonight. Your shout. :) :)
  8. lmacka

    lmacka Active Member

    Ok, where's the Kafe in relation to Tha Pae gate? Aaaand, how do I know which farang you are? :)
  9. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

  10. lmacka

    lmacka Active Member

    Thanks. I inadvertently acquired a Thai date tonight so I may or not make it. Depends on how dinner goes... hehe
  11. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Lucky we're not wasting our time then. I'll inadvertently pass too then.
  12. lmacka

    lmacka Active Member

    Sorry I thought you were going to be there regardless of my attendance. I must remember that not everyone is as blase as I.

    I'll swing past at about 9:45 and see if I can find you. She can wait!
  13. lmacka

    lmacka Active Member

    Just realised that this is your site. Ooops.
    My shout indeed...

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