Two old farts

Discussion in 'New Users' started by kick start, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. kick start

    kick start Member

    Hi, next year my wife and I intend to base ourselves in Cambodia for 6 months, (we visit Cambodia fairly often and I do ride a wave around Siem Reap when there). I have been contemplating spending a month riding a bike :happy4:up through Thailand into Laos and down through Vietnam back into Cambodia.

    We are both in our fifties, my wife has no bike license and has never really ridden one since her teens, I still jump on a bike from time to time but have not ridden much since my 20's.

    What advise can folks give, is this a realistic idea, what are some of the logistics involved, what size bike, I have probably a million questions, will a trip like this ultimately end in divorce?
     
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  3. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    G’day Kick Start and welcome to the forum.

    Your plan sounds like a good one to me. What better way to spend a month than riding a motorcycle around South East Asia. Thats living!

    Ive found that its best to take your time, and not try to go every were and see everything. Sure, riding to Thailand, into Laos and down through Vietnam back into Cambodia in a month can be done, but I think it would be just a blur.

    What bike you take is the one you feel most comfortable with, and whats available for rent. If you read a few trip reports you will see that you can do a trip on anything. Just strap a bag on the back and go. It really is that simple.

    Its better for you to direct questions, regarding, the pressures a motorcycle trip may have on a marriage to a registered marriage counsellor. As a single person, I have no experience in these matters, and will not make any comment.

    Cheers and Beers.

    Rex
     
  4. ronwebb

    ronwebb Ol'Timer

    Also welcome to you Kick Start.
    I concur with Rex on the above except to say speaking as a married chap, I ride mostly with the misses and we always have a ball, without exception but we have a marriage counselor called 'Leo Beer' who we consult at the end of the riding day!
    If you are two up then this will inevitably effect your choice of bike but it sounds like you will use a bike each. For what its worth, a mate of mine, Rod Page, spent three years riding around Thailand (the north mostly) with his wife who is Tahitian. He on a Kawasaki D-Trecker and his wife on a Honda Sonic and they went everywhere and I do mean everywhere.
    They have now moved on to Vietnam and are doing the same there. Rod has made huge contributions to this site with trip reports and info from their experiences in Thailand and Vietnam.
    If you plan to ride in Vietnam I would urge you to check out Rod's reports on this site under the Vietnam section. Riding in Vietnam from Rods experience is more complicated than Thailand. More thought in the planning will be required.
    Have a great time and I wouldn't mind betting that you end up spending a good deal more that a month.
     
  5. kick start

    kick start Member

    Thanks for the replies so far, It was our intention to use only take one bike. It sound like one month is two short to squeeze in all three countries , so maybe we could just ride up through Thailand into Laos and back into Cambodia, would this be more doable?
     
  6. kick start

    kick start Member

    no Edit! OMG I need to be more careful on this forum!
    Hope you can make sense out of the last post.
     
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    The temptation often is to try & do too much. See as much as possible as quick as you can.
    The end result being you spread yourself too thin, everything becomes a blur; & you go home only wanting to go back to the same places with more time on your hand.
    So take your time, do Cambo & part of Laos / Thailand & then plan another trip.

    The best bike to ride is the one you're most comfortable on.
    Ride a few then make a decision.
    You won't get into Vietnam, unless you want to spend big bucks & chew up a few months preparing the paperwork, & then you have to nominate both your dates & ports of entry / departure.

    Check out the border crossing info on GT Rider here
    http://www.gt-rider.com/touring-information-overview/s-e-asian-border-crossings

    For pottering around Southern Laos checkout this one

    For off-road in Southern Laos
     
  8. kick start

    kick start Member

    I think it is wise to just do the Southern part of Thailand and Laos, as you say it's not always a lot of fun if one tries to jam too much in.

    This may be a silly question, but could you do a trip like this on something like a Honda dream?

    BTW thanks David for the links they were interesting reads.

    If anyone else has got some hints and tips for a trip like this it would appreciated.

    :happy3: I am already starting to get excited
     
  9. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    I would suggest the easiest way is going to be to hire a bike in each country, rather than take one across the border...

    The bike of choice in Vietnam seems to be either a Minsk, a Daelim, or an old XR... all are equally (un)reliable...
    The bike of choice in Thailand is probably a D-Tacker or ER6, or Versys, because they are newer and more reliable...
    The bike of choice in Laos is an old XR250...

    People do these tours on pushbikes, so anything is possible, even a Honda Dream, but two up it is going to be hard and uncomfortable... there will be adventure enough without adding that to your problems...

    Cheers,
    Daewoo
     
  10. kick start

    kick start Member

    I was going to buy a moto anyway to get around Cambodia while I am there, so I really don't want to hire a bike for one month for this trip. when I leave I have plenty of good friends in Cambodia that will gladly take the bike off my hands when I return home.:mrgreen:
     
  11. kick start

    kick start Member

    I was told today by a Cambodian friend that you cannot take a Cambodian registered bike into Thailand, does anyone know if this is correct or not?
     
  12. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    There are guys with Cambodian plated bikes who come to Thailand & Chiang Mai quite often, so there must be away.
    However I do believe that you can't just ride Laos plated bikes out of Laos into Thailand.
     
  13. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer Staff Member

    Might be easier for you to pick a starting point in each country with key things you would like to see and rent a bike and move on one you have seen what you want..
    eg..
    Chiang Mai and explore northern Thailand..
    Move on to Laos and hire a bike from Vientiane or Luang Prabang and ride to the south and leave the bike in Pakse (some of the rental places out of Vientiane will accommodate this)
    Move on to Cambo and do the same thing..

    Save the hassle of taking bikes over border and purchasing etc.. If you get a lemon, give the bike back and get a new one
    Otherwise I think you would have to buy a bike in Thailand to move between borders easily..
    If I remember the fine print.. You should not take the bike out of Thailand for more than a month at a time..
    It is written on the paper work you sign when leaving the country..(can't be sure of the exact period.. but there are fines if you go beyond the period or don't return it)

    Cheers
    Brian
     
  14. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    I agree with what Brian has written. By just renting a bike in the different areas, you take a lot of worry and possible problems off your mind. If you are on your own bike, you have to deal with customs on both sides each time you cross. I have not seen too many trip reports where riders talk about how much "fun" they had at the Customs office. If you have mechanical problem, especially a major one, it is up to you to sort it out if it is your bike. It can be a definite problem if you don't know where to take it, the language, how to get parts, etc. If it is rental, you call the agent. Most reputable bike rentals also become a good contact for any questions or problems you may run into on you trip. Also, as Rex alludes, if you have problems, illness, injury, or other, you just take a bus or a plane home.

    Here is a link to a report I did a number of years ago traveling Laos with my significant other. Laos the EZ Way. Some info may be a little dated, Laos roads change quickly, and new accommodations have been built, but you get the idea. Others have posted more recent information. You may also have to adjust for having to return the rental bike to where you start. (Note; this report appears somewhere on GT Rider also, but I am too lazy to search for it).

    Good Luck with your plans. Planning can be half the fun.
     
  15. kick start

    kick start Member

    Really sorry I never replied to this. Unfortunately life got busy and I never got back to the story.

    Anyway we spent our 6 months in Cambodia. I ended up buying a Suzuki Axello 125. We rode pretty much all over Cambodia. We also did a couple of trips to Thailand and also into Laos. It wasn’t too difficult to get the bike across borders. The most difficult was Thailand to Laos, luckily we met a fluent English speaking local who helped get us through.

    It was totally impractical to try and get the bike into Vietnam but we had no problem hiring a bike there.

    I’ve never decided if the worst part was contending with the crazy bus drivers in Cambodia or the muddy back tracks we encountered in both Cambodia and Vietnam! We learnt quickly that motor bikes are invisible to other drivers – be prepared for anything and always on high alert.

    Cambodia has to be the only country in the world where it is illegal to ride in daylight with your lights on. I got stopped a couple of times by police telling me to turn them off. The locals were also always indicating to tell me they were on.

    Thai roads were good, mostly dual highways so no problems with oncoming traffic. We did discover that you can’t ride bikes on freeways in Bangkok which made for some navigation problems there!
    In Laos it was cows on the road, totally unpredictable!

    We blew a tyre in the back blocks of Cambodia (Cardamom mountains) miles from anywhere. Got prepared for a long walk, walked about 10 metres and there was a isolated little house occupied by an English speaking police officer who helped us get to the nearest village and organized the repairs – amazing luck!

    We spent some long days on the bike, Siem Reap Cambodia to Koh Chang Thailand in one day was a bit much but we made it. So was the trip through the Cardamoms from Koh Kong to Pursat in one day! They were both dawn to dark days. Another long haul which we expressed over two days was Pakse to Vientiane.

    Anyway, that trip has certainly given me the urge to keep travelling. We are now planning a trip from SE Asia to Europe. Much more ambitious and a lot longer. Now trying to decide what sort of bike to get and all the logistics of border crossings. My wife still doesn’t ride so it has to be two up again! So I am going to start another thread for some help.

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