Book ahead or don't worry?

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by Beemerfem, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. Beemerfem

    Beemerfem Member

    So here I sit, planning and thinking and my head hurts. Should I not worry about where to stay? In Jan/Feb can I plan on just looking for a place (as fabulously shown on GT rider maps)? Trying to figure out where I might be on a given night is becoming problematic. Please someone give me an excuse to let go....thanks :roll:
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    It will fall into place nicely at the time.
  4. tonykiwi

    tonykiwi Ol'Timer

    I'll expand a little bit on what David said hwoever fully agree with his comment.

    Last year was my first time riding around Northern Thailand and I went through exactly the same thought processes as you. I kind of enjoy the discussion and planning anyway because it adds to the excitement, but in the final analysis, the trip will not go to plan anyway. That often turns out to be a good thing because fate brings us all nice surprises.Anyway, I did take some planned precautions and that formed the base of the trip.

    1) I rented a room in a local guest house for the entire month. This had internet, shower, air conditioning, bathroom and bed plus safe storage of he bike overnight. The rate was so reasonable it would be stupid to not do it. This became my base and the landlady became a friend and adviser on things 'Thai'. If I went out for a few days riding, the stuff I didn't need just stayed there waiting for me.
    2) I took a decent first aid kit of likely medication. Things for stomach upsets, prednisone as I tend to get chest infections) eye bath, burn creme, sting creme, plasters and suchlike. Small package but gave me the comfort that I could deal with minor stuff.
    3) I got a Thai sim card as soon as I arrived and had one or two local guys numbers in case I needed advice.
    4) I trawled through this site and looked for good trips to do along with decent places to eat and sleep. Again, in the ifnal analyss I rarely stayed or ate at them because fate found me somewhere else however I had the comfort of knowing what was in the region should i need it.
    5) I made a concious choice to not ride at night (well not in the dark really.) Days started early for me as I like early mornings but I aimed to find somewhere to stay no later than abour 5 pm (I went in June so that was about 1.5 - 2 hrs before dark)
    6) Whilst I worried about running out of petrol in the beginning it was never to be a problem. There is always petrol available if you keep a check on mileage and use. If in the rural area and you see a chance to fill up, do so even if only half empty.

    Then, go with the flow. In my experience, thais are amongst the most accomodating people in the world and you will always find help, adviceand somewhere to stay. Don't book ahead on routes unless it is likely to be overbooked due to some celebration or somehting like that. That will tie you down. Have your base somewhere and go from there. I promise you, you will not be disappointed and it will all gell together.

    I am going back 2nd June for a month and this post now has me dribbling with anticipation ;)

    Good luck with you planning, enjoy it all
  5. Beemerfem

    Beemerfem Member

    Thanks so much for your input. Tony, our styles are similar. I like "planned" spontaneity. I spend hours looking at what I "might" want to do and by the time I arrive at a destination I head out and see what looks good. I like the idea of base camp as I am a "nester" and like the security of knowing I have somewhere to land if needbe and you're right, in Thailand I can do that within my budget. I just tend to see worse case scenarios (cold, damp, abandoned by the world in Doi Inthanon). Hey, that sounds kinda cool :happy2:
  6. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    Same same as Tony...

    In fact, I would be surprised if you had much success trying to book ahead anyway...

    For bigger hotels, apparently the Internet Rate is better than the walk in rate, but you can get that from the Internet Cafe the day before you arrive... for the smaller and more remote places, you will be doing well to find an email address, and phone bookings are pretty unreliable unless you have a Thai speaker do it for you...

    Do try and find out if where you want to go has a special festival or something, 'cause whole towns do book out for that sort of thing...

    Keep your plans fluid, otherwise you might end up tied to something you don't want...

    I actually ended up paying for two rooms in CM for a few nights last trip, because I had booked and paid for a fortnight and decided to move hotels when plans changed...

  7. Fishenough

    Fishenough Ol'Timer

    Good advice. Found that I travel with a list of recommended place from the likes of GT Rider, Thai Visa, and Teak Door. Normally seem to stay at Captain Slash's recommend budget places and National park houses, the latter being an under used choice that is a wonderful option for a quiet place to stay. Often there isn't close food services, but a kitchen area is always provided so bring some noodle packs if your stay. After hearing of disappointment of local Chiang Mai home stays, found some wonderful ones by taking local advice in the smaller towns. Whether a tour agency, fishing shop both in small towns on the MHS loop, or a recommended one from Cave Lodge. All either were lots of fun or well recommended.

    GT Riders all seem super duper helpful and wouldn't hesitate to rescue a cold, abandoned damsel from the hills! :smile1: :smile1:
  8. Beemerfem

    Beemerfem Member

    Thanks again guys, you all rock. Hope to meet ya when I arrive. Hey, wait a minute...who you callin a damsel? :lolno:
  9. Ally

    Ally Ol'Timer

    Ha Ha ! Don't beat Kevin up about the 'damsel', he's a Canadian!


    Looking forward to catching up with you when you are in town.

  10. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    Yes, finding a room should be a non-issue unless you happen to be in a spot during a holiday etc. But I would certainly advise booking your bike ahead of time. I didn't and had a poor selection and had to scout around for half a day looking for something decent. You can pre-book though this site and tell exactly what you are looking for. Recommended.

    Don't know if your schedule is flexible, but November right after the rainy season is generally the greenest/clearest time. Downside is you may get the odd shower here and there, but it's like Hawaii, 5-10 minutes of deluge, then blue skies. I got wet 2-3 times over 2 weeks, so not a big deal. Jan/Feb are still great, but things have usually started to brown up a bit by then. So if you are into the photo bit..............

    BTW, where are you in No. CA? I'm in Santa Clara.
  11. Beemerfem

    Beemerfem Member

    Thanks for the help. I got focused on housing that I forgot about the bike, which is VERY important. Dates for vacation are already set so I'll just make do. I'm used to the green/brown thing and find it all beautiful anyway.

    In 2008 I toured Vietnam with an (unnamed) company. One of the bikes in our group had constant problems. We were doing the HCM trail from Hanoi to HCM City. We were in the mountains and there was poor communication in the group, sudden stop (at 25 mph) and catastrophe. I applied the brakes and not much happened. I couldn’t swerve due to water buffaloes, kids, chickens, etc. in the road around me. So I crashed. :oops:

    They managed to get me to the side of the road but everyone froze. Our other female traveler helped me cut bandages and I had to pack and bandage my knee. But it was still a great trip. I got fabulous pics of the mountains, jungles, rivers, the hospital where the cab took me, the doc who sewed up my knee. I think it added insult to injury that no one at the company ever checked on me after my return home and had the tour guide hit me up for money to repair the bike while I was waiting to be sewn up. :thumbdown:

    Yessiree bob, bike in good condition is a major point for me. I’m used to riding my big bike and don’t PLAN on doing anything offroad so I’m not sure what to get. I’m 5’7” and can sit my RT just fine. Should I take a look locally and check out the models I see listed or will they be different from what’s sold here in the US? Suggestions?

    I am in San Jose and work at Kaiser as a Respiratory Therapist so if anyone has any breathing problems…..
  12. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    Glad you were not too banged up, but scary anyway up in the mountains hurt like that. One reason why I avoid big group rides or tours. In my experience, the probability of accidents, breakdowns, and just plain hassle goes up exponentially when you get more than 2-3 guys. Any more than that and I stay home or just go alone. Motorcycling is one activity where more is NOT the merrier. At least not for me.

    For a pure road bike tour, I think the ER6N is probably your best bet over there. Either that or a Motard. But the seat height may be a bit high. As you probably witnessed in Vietnam, be prepared for gutless performance. Being used to true big bike performance will have you missing the power unless you are lucky enough to find an FZ1 or similar (good luck). But as you said, reliability is job 1 so good to have somebody there local put a good word in to the local shops instead of just showing up sight unseen. Book through here and I think you will get taken care of with a solid mount.
  13. Beemerfem

    Beemerfem Member

    Being the silly person I am, I have NO idea what those acronyms stand for so now I have to look them up! :roll:
    I admit I'm bad, started with a beemer and have little knowledge of all the bike styles. I'll figure this out soon. I'm not sure what you mean by "book through here." I've seen vendors listed. If contacting them I should say, "found on GT-Rider?"

    To Ally: Canadian, got it. That explains a lot. :p
  14. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    You've probably already been, but take a look here ... n-thailand as there are some links to pre-book. There used to be a GT-R booking link but now that you mentioned it, I don't see it anymore. But no fear, Mr. Mechanic is right next to the nerve center (Kafe) so I'm sure with some notice, you will be insured of a good machine if you PM the local intelligencia.

    PM sent. Let me know if you want to compare notes on 'Nam and GT. I've never been to 'nam but plan to soon. Any advice would be appreciated. Great weather last weekend eh?

    We did the Mt. Hamilton (our local Su Thep w/ telescopes vs. temples)/Mines Rd/Livermore loop (our local Samoeng loop) and it was glorious w/ wild flowers blooming. Then the awesome fish tacos ensenada and beers at Casa Orozco for lunch.
  15. David Learmonth

    David Learmonth Ol'Timer

    Can recommend "Tony's Big Bikes" in ChiangMai. Hired a Honda 400vTwin for a friend of mine in January - did 1700 miles in two weeks on it & no problems at all. Was well turned out & well maintained. It was also very good on fuel consumption - doing about 65 mpg (per imperial gallon not US). You won't need mega amounts of horsepower to enjoy Northern Thailand!
  16. Beemerfem

    Beemerfem Member

    I received similar advice from several people (PM) which increase the validity. I appreciate it. Your pics had me going. I just came home from Jamestown/Sonora over Mt Hamilton last weekend and the flowers were really lovely. I had my son on the back and I have to tell you, that road is WORK when you have a pillion! It was a beautiful day and we had fun. Now this weekend I am riding over the Chowchilla (ooooooohhhh, chowchilla) to have lunch with rally friends who live up near Tacoma. That's the easiest place to hook up. I don't expect that to be exciting but it will be good to see them. I'm going to Belize in July but my friend doesn't ride so we'll just fly and drive (yuck). I am mostly looking forward to going back to Asia. I find I really like it. That might be the result of living in SF, Berkeley and the Bay Area for so many years. I .....can't....wait...!
  17. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    I have never taken the hill coming from the East, but yes, there are some switchbacks on that side that can throw you off especially if you have a pillion that gets scared of the drop-offs down the cliffs! Funny that you mention Tacoma. I will be going up to Seattle next month to link up with my buddy renting my house up there. Going to do the Vancouver, Whistler, Jasper, Radium Hot Springs, Glacier Nat Park, Yellowstone tour. The bears will be just waking up and hungry, so we'll try not to get eaten.

    He only has a week off, so we will split up from there and I will continue South alone through Wyoming, Utah to see the National monuments there, then a few nights in Las Vegas, then back up through Death Valley, then the Sierras/Yosemite. Should be a good 4500 mile loop, hope my new rear tire goes the distance. Have fun in Belize, my Dad loves it there. Some day I will make it down that way.
  18. Beemerfem

    Beemerfem Member

    I'll give my kid credit, he does trust me and has followed my advice on how to be a good passenger. I know I can feel him tense up a bit but the worse part was the 18wheeler that almost ran me off the road on one of those tight curves. I don't know how he got up there but it was close but we came through and it always makes a good story. I plan on taking vacation time in the next year and do some states travel since I haven't done that yet. I lived in Olympia/Tacoma/Graham and environs for 7 years but had to get out and it was really bad for my asthma. My friends I'm meeting are actually from Olalla and have a nice place on the peninsula but even 4 days in western WA is too much for my lungs. Sure is a small world. Have a great trip!
  19. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    Interesting about how the Pacific NW air affected you badly. Chiang Mai will be the total opposite of that, so you will probably be just fine. But riding in town there was a shock to my lungs that's for sure. Luckily once you get out of the city proper, things improve tremendously.
  20. stonevedder

    stonevedder Active Member

    Please tell me if this is a dumb question...but how does pre-booking your bike ensure that you get a good one?
  21. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    Not unless you get someone to go to the shop and find out what number the bike is, and reserve it specifically... Nothing to stop the shop reserving the duds for the guaranteed booking, and keeping the shiny new ones to encourage walk in...

  22. Beemerfem

    Beemerfem Member

    Hotels and flights I usually prebook but not the bike. I found that contacting some businesses gave me a better idea as to whether or not I actually want to do business with them. If they are not good about handling email inquiries it makes me wonder what will happen if I go down. Good communication is paramount. Also, from looking around I see there are so many places to rent from that Daewoo's point is the most valid. Go, look, check brakes and tires, etc. I'm waiting till I get to town then I'll see what looks good.
  23. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    I am lucky that, through my membership of GT-Rider, I have formed freindships with guys in Chiang Mai. Before a trip, I will ask someone to go and check a bike and reserve one for me... but I wouldn't do it without having someone check it first...

    I guess, if you reserve one, and it is a PoS (Piece of Shit), you can always try and swap it for another from the same shop if they have one available... if they don't, you only loose your deposit if you do somewhere else... and it gives you piece of mind that, even if it is a PoS, at least you will have something in the unlikely event that every bike, of the hundreds in Chiang Mai, are booked out...

  24. Captain Wally

    Captain Wally Ol'Timer

    Unlikely indeed. :lol-sign: Have you seen the line-up of ER6s and Dtrackers at Pop's lately?

    Must've won the lottery I reckon.
  25. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    Winning the lottery is, I suppose, one theory of where all the money comes from... Not the theory I heard tho :silent: ..
  26. Captain Wally

    Captain Wally Ol'Timer

    Winning the lottery is, I suppose, one theory of where all the money comes from... Not the theory I heard tho :silent: ..
    I suspect that the theory you've heard is the same one I've heard. Much more likely than a lottery win. :wink: :shh: :silent:

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