Driving in Laos on a 100cc as i have no experience with big bikes - good or bad idea?

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by peco, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. Hi everyone

    Im going to be heading to Laos in a month and i want to explore the country on a bike. I have some questions that i hope can be answered :)

    1 - I dont have a license of any sort, is it a major problem in Laos, can i still rent?

    I have been traveling in Asia for the last 18 months and have driven in China, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, so i am use to the road conditions here (in fact its the only road conditions i know as i have never driven anything before i come to Asia :D).

    In vietnam i drove from HN - HCMC on a 125cc minsk which was great fun but i am wondering what options i have for riding in Laos?

    I only learnt how to drive while traveling and have mostly used semi automatics (apart from the minsk), i dont think it would be a good idea getting a big bike simply because i dont have the experience and i will be riding alone.

    I have been looking on the forums and see there are no minsk's available in the rental shops so i guess i will have to go a step down instead of up to be safe.

    I would just stick to a main route, no off road stuff.

    2 - Would a 100cc be efficient? is it possible to store bags and such on a bike like this (i have never seen it be done)

    Or should i just bite the bullet and go with a 200cc or 250cc Baja or something so i can make use of saddle bags and the extra ooommppphhh.

    Money is also important as im on a bit of a budget. I really dont have the money to be spending $20-30 per day on a bike. Can you find bikes for $10-15 per day in Vientiane?

    So i guess my question is what would be the safest and most economical way of riding in Laos.

    thanks in advance for any suggestions you have :)
  2. highways are the more dangerous place as the most dangerous thing about lao roads it the other road users there are less humans on the smaller un tarmaced roads. Cows goats dogs etc are a minor iritant but at least they dont drink loadsa beer laos and drive in the dark with no lights on. However that being said never never never drive in the dark unless of course you have a death wish.

    Bikes for rent in vietiane 250 cc trail bikes no different to riding a minsk just as you have more power doesnt mean you have to use it.

    I have seen people riding smaller bikes but think they bought them rode them sold them.
    Even semiautos are expensive to rent outside of vietiane and paxe.

    Licence not a problem as i dont have one and nobody has ever asked me for one.

    It is only my opinion but spend a little more and get a bike up to the job and then at least if your confidence is improving then the option exists to take more dirt roads. Also alot of the "main" roads in laos are not asphalt and dont know how i would feel abot travelling on a semi for days on end with limited suspension travel.

    Hope that is helpful.
  3. yes i couldnt agree with you more re the dangers of driving at night

    when i was driving from Hanoi - HCMC on the first day we wanted to get to Halong Bay and drove until about 7pm when it was dark, we had promised ourselves not to do it. Anyway about 1 km away from our destination a man with no lights pulled in front of my friend and they crashed. he broke his legs and had to return back to the UK.

    the 250 dirt bikes look good but could i rent one for $10-15 per day?

    Re licenses - i thought as much ;)
  4. If you find a 250 for under 25 bucks a day let me know. Having just reminded myself of what the lao road are like wouldnt personally want to ride a smaller bike. Having said that i am sure people have and the link that reverend old git posted may be of use. Just spent 3 days getting from vietianne to Luang parabang on orrange coulered roads ( gt riders map ) and although the locals were riding waves etc the distances covered in a day would be about a quater of what a dirt bike can do. In certain places the wave would not cut the mustard. I guess it depends on the route you are going to take if 100 cc is all you have then the route would have to be planned acordingly
  5. Hi Peco,
    Back in Australia, we buy 2nd hand 110cc "POSTIE BIKES" they are a honda used throughout the wold with different names. In Asia known as dreams etc.
    These little bikes will go anywhere a BMW, KTM, TransAlp or Tenere will go.
    I rented one in Cambodia because I was afraid my precious tyres on my BMW would be damaged on one particular road. So much for the big bikes.
    If you have the time go for a little Honda in good condition, you will not regret it.
    ps. 20 of them rode across the Nulabar Plains last year, they all finished.
  6. I rode in Laos mid '09 on a Chinese 110cc Wave copy. I had no problems with it's lack of power. Sure, up some the hills it struggled and it wasn't really a blistering speed by any means but it still kept on going! Had no mechanical problems other than a broken electric starter (kickstart was fine) and some dodgy electrics. But really, who needs a spedometer, odometer and a fuel gauge anyway right? Ha!

    I would have liked a bigger more powerful bike but in the end the Waves (and those like it) are plentiful and everybody knows how to fix them if something goes wrong, decent on fuel, (in my experience) relatively reliable and for the relatively inexperienced right like yourself (and me) they are pretty simple things to ride.

    They are pretty slow that I will admit and no doubt a dirtbike could do the same trip significantly faster but personally I didn't mind the relaxed pace. I guess it depends on where you are in Laos though. The hills around Tha Khaek where I rode weren't like those between Vientienne and Luang Prabang.

    Good luck!
  7. Ron,

    It is not only your computer but my computer also comes up with the same message "Sorry - no matches. Please try some different terms."

    Well, as was said in another forum post when you commented that the site was degenerating and that it was time for some healing :Indeed too many smart comments for the sake of commenting. Some people need to back right off &/or take a break.

    That is what I'll do - have been trying to help during the last few weeks but I am getting tired of it so I'll take a break and be offline for the next few months till things are back to normal.
  8. Its not uncommon when forum upgrades happen for lots of link to end up pointing at old database relationships. Its just the growing pains of a much deserved upgrade.

    Will all settle down in the end and I am sure a bit of digging can find most of the threads somehow.
  9. They exist not from big opperators but from local bike shops may take a little more time and effort to arrange but met a norwegian guy who had rented and 80's style 150 cc dirt bike (never saw it as we only had some supper together) His was branded a kawasaki but with chineese engine he assured me that rental should be no more than 10 dollars a day. Also met a nz couple who had seen similar machines in bike shops in phonsovan (not sure if they were for rent) So i guess that there is a cheaper option out there that have more capability than the honda dream or equivalent. You live and learn! Good luck.:smile1:


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