Heading to SE Asia in November

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by jamiep73, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. Hi Guys & Girls,

    Just wanted to say a quick hello and introduce myself, name is Jamie i'm a 36y/o guy from Sydney Australia. I've been planning a trip to South East Asia for the past 12 months and am now only a couple of months away. Have been browsing these forums for a while now and have found some great info and tips but still have a few questions i'm hoping to pick some of your brains for.

    Basically the plan is to fly in to Bangkok with my bike and ride up to the North and spend a few weeks riding around, cross over to Laos for a few weeks, then i'd like to spend a few weeks in Vietnam ( Not sure how that's going to work ) , then across the top of Cambodia, down South of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, East Timor then back to Australia. I've given myself a rough estimate of 3 months to complete the trip but who knows what will happen :)

    The bike i'm going to be riding is a 2007 XR400M (Supermoto version) which has now had quite a bit of work done to prepare it for the adventure. The thinking behind the XR400 was that it's a pretty simple bike and it's nice and light for the off road stuff. One concern i have which i'd like your thoughts on is overheating in the hot Asian climate. The motard version of the XR doesn't come with an oil cooler standard and am thinking of installing one myself but it's quite a bit of work and am wondering if it's really necessary..?

    Also wanted to ask how easy it is to buy a decent helmet in Thailand, I've found the helmet i want http://www.shark-evoline.com/ it's a flip front where the front actually goes right over the top and slots in at the back. I believe Shark is a European brand but i noticed the other day they're manufactured in Thailand and thought i might be able to pick one up cheaper over there ( $799 in Australia ).

    Anyway i'll leave it there for now, have loads more questions i'm hoping you guys can help me with but just wanted to say a quick hello and thank you all for all the great info and tips on the site.

  2. Hi Jamie,

    I'm a 36yo from Sydney Australia, but I'm pretty sure I am not you :) ...

    I'm flying into CM on about Nov 25th or 26th for 20 days up North if you are still about...

  3. Hi Jamie ,
    I've had the same bike here in Phuket 2007 XR400 SM , its generally hotter and more humid down here..and noo probs with overheating...just go faster :D
    A lot of the guys are using synthetic diesel engine oil...and changing regularly. I have an older XR as well and running the same way, although that has an oil cooler.
    Re Helmets, I recently bought and HJC, which a lot of guys here are wearing, good solid build and fairly light, bought from Paddock in Bkk. Very resonable price too....
    If you should end up down this way give us a yell...
    Si 085 7947600
  4. Cheers guys, where abouts in Sydney are you Daewoo i'm in Bondi. I'm heading over the first week of November at this point and plan on being in Thailand about a month mainly up North so maybe we can catch up for a beer. Thanks for the info Si that's one less thing to worry about i really didn't want to add the oil cooler if i could avoid it so i think i owe you a beer :D I'll definately be spending a week or two on the beach on my way down South so will look you up if i make it to Phuket.
  5. Just out of interest Si, which HJC Helmet did you get and how much was it in baht if you don't mind saying..? I've been looking at the HJC Symax II but it's not out in Australia yet. I think they're going to retail around the $400 mark so would be good to get an idea of the price difference.

    I'd be interested to know what boots you guys are using over there..? I'm planning on doing as much off road as possible but think my MX boots might be a bit to stiff and heavy to walk around in and my road bike boots are a bit to light. A mate of mine uses Alpine Stars Tech 7's and reckons they're the way to go as they're not as stiff as most MX boots and have good ventilation.

    Also i'm looking at which way to go on a GPS, Garmin seem to be a popular choice and i've narrowed it down to 2. The zümo 550 and the nüvi 500. The zümo 550 is about $500 more but has bluetooth and MP3 player, the nüvi 500 has a better battery life and does topographic mapping... Not sure i really need bluetooth but might be handy in the future and the MP3 part i can just plug in my iPod. If anyone has either of these GPS's i'd be interested to know how you've found them..

    Hope you don't mind the barage of questions, i'm trying hard to keep my costs down as i've already gone way over budget but don't want to scrimp on gear and then find i should of spent the extra bucks.
  6. Hi Jamie, I'm in Como (Sutherland), but I ride with Sydney Ridersmostly and try to go to the coffee meet on Tuesday nights and Randwick when work allows... I work at Pyrmont...

    I'm spending Nov13-23 in Phuket/Krabi with the missus and kids, then fly her home and head up North... I would really like to get across to Laos this year if I can organise any of the other GT riders... not sure how long I will stay this trip... probably somewhere between 10 and 20 days...

    Send me a PM if you like and I can pass on my contact details... Maybe we can catch up for a beer before you leave to talk about your planning...

    A lot of the hire bikes out of Chiang Mai were XR250s which cop a flogging most of the time and keep coming back for more... I am sure the 400M will handle it no problem...

    WRT helmets, they are cheaper in Australia... the exceptions will be the TH domestic stuff, which I reckon are probably as good as the $100 helmets with AS approvals in Aust... and stuff that is basically new old stock... since they reckon you should replace a helmet every 5 years...

    I think I heard that the shark helmets made and available in Th are exported to Laos and back again, and therefore attract full Th customs and duty, and are pretty expensive... (I have a Shark helmet in Aus)...

  7. Thanks Daewoo, i chose the XR as i've had another one for about 5 years now and have never had any problems with it no matter how much of a flogging i give it :D Also for it's simplicty and the fact there are plenty of them in SE Asia so getting parts shouldn't be as hard as it might be for something like a KTM or BMW. I was in Cambodia last year and rented an XR Baja 250 for a weeks ride along the Mekong, the bike had obvioulsly had a hard life and basically started falling apart a couple of days in to the ride so i decided next time i was bringing my own wheels. I really am keen on the new Shark Evoline helmet but the $799 price tag is a bit off-putting with the HJC Symax or Rjays TourTech sellling for around $350/$400 mark. I might even try ringing a helmet store in Bangkok to see if i can get a price on the Shark Evoline before i go out and buy something.
    Seems odd living in Sydney i'd never heard of Sydney Riders before :) Just checked out the site and looks like a pretty good group, don't really do much road riding anymore though as i just sold my Fireblade :cry:

  8. Hi Jamie, sounds good. I don't think you will be able to get your bike into Vietnam though, as there is a farily tough no 175cc+ bikes allowed. Also Indonesia will be tough without a carnet de passage. Australia recently (JAN 2009) introduces the same measures, making it almost impossible for us with Thai registered machines to get in to the antipedeans...... Hope you have a great trip mate, post us a report......
  9. Guys, if u pass thru Chiang Mai, let me know .Im also fm Sydney .
    You can get big bikes into Vietnam, I spent a week riding from Saigon up to Dallat on my DL1000 along with 10 other big bikes about a year and a half ago. The trip was arranged thru a Thai guide who had some pull with a high ranking Govt official.When we got to the border expected long delays and to be turned away but instead we were pleasantly surprised to pass thru immigration in less than 30 minutes. We did have to be accompanied everywhere with a lead car bearing flags and flashing lights.We entered from the Cambodian border and exited into Laos.
    Crazy place to ride but no nevertheless an amazing adventure. Malaysia-Thld-Cambodia-Vietnam-Laos-Thld-Malaysia - 20 days in total.
  10. So Jamie, all you need to do to ride in Vietnam is line up 9 more guys (who probably paid dearly), a guide who has a high ranking Govt official for a friend and follow a car with flags. Piece of cake for an individual :?

    Go with the advice from Muzz. 99% :roll: of those who have tried to get into Vietnam with a big bike have failed. You can read this post by Wheezy Rider http://www.wheezyrider.com/2009/02/myanmar-burma.html who flew his bike directly into VN and still never got it past the airport.

    I would not make plans around riding into VN.


    I would be interested in reading more info on your trip. Sounds pretty interesting.
  11. Jamie,

    I'm not familiar with the Shark helmet (and can't be arsed to google it!) but now here we have the "Real" brand of helmets which are DOT approved for use in the USA and sell there for a couple of hundred dollars (I think). Same lids can be got here for between 1200 & 2000 baht depending on model. The quality appears to be good although I don't have personal experience of one. Food for thought?

    Boots - I have a pair of almost new Axo RC6 MX boots that I just don't use. Colour is white and size is UK9/US10. Price would be 5000B.

    GPS - Garmin CSx60 is the unit of choice for offroaders. RAM mount it on the bars, get yourself a couple of sets of rechargeables and a charger and you are good to go. I think the unit is more robust and has more "useful" functionality than the Zumo for an offroader.

    Quoting Silverhawk "So Jamie, all you need to do to ride in Vietnam is line up 9 more guys (who probably paid dearly), a guide who has a high ranking Govt official for a friend and follow a car with flags. Piece of cake for an individual "

    Have you got a little side business going on there D.Early??? ;-)

    Hope this helps.


  12. Schackster
    Sounds like a nice trip report - riding in Vietnam, entering from Thailand. Any chance of some piccies & a brief report.
  13. Thanks for all the help guys, would definately love to catch up with some of you when i'm over there. I'm sure i'll have a few more questions to ask before i head off but things are coming together nicely at this point.

    Thanks pikey for the boots offer i'll do some research and get back to you on that one but the size is perfect :)
  14. yes my bro schackster,
    miss u since u left malaysia and transfer to Chengmai dont froget to meet Devid in Changmai.. :D :arrow:
    will meet u in changmai next CNY for Yunan/DAli trip..cu :D 8)
  15. Burn, who is David ?

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