Help Me Plan My 2 Month Se Asia Tour. Just Arrived.

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by brecchi, Oct 19, 2018.

  1. brecchi

    brecchi Member

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    Hello guys, just arrived last night and am currently in Bangkok for 4-5 days. I posted about this in ADVrider and was told that this was the place to go! So I've amended a post from there below to make it more current.

    Things not to miss in Bangkok are especially appreciated since thats a bit time sensitive. I did a search so I do have a bit of an idea about this.

    "Plane ticket to BKK for 10/18. Plane ticket to fly out of HCMC on 12/20. What I do in between is up to me. I may actually have to postpone the flight for 2 weeks due to a USCIS meeting but fingers are crossed. The idea is to chill in Bangkok for a few days and rent a scooter or bike, head south to the beaches and Malaysia, in time to make it to MotoGP on 11/4.

    From there, I'll likely head north to Chang Mai and possibly a day or 2 in Myanmar off-bike. Then I'll have to decide how to get to Laos and Cambodia. I'll possibly return the rental in Bangkok, go to HCMC and rent a bike there where I have been told that I can cross into Laos and Cambodia with the right paperwork. A loop from HCMC to Hanoi, then back down through Laos and Cambodia would be ideal.



    A few questions:

    -Recommended scooter/bike rental spot in Bangkok that will let me cross borders? (I'm familiar wth the usual restrictions, Vietnam, etc.)

    -I love cities as much as riding off the grid, any must see stuff in the big cities would be appreciated from major landmarks to tiny food stalls.

    - I like carrying a heavier backpack on long rides as it really does keep my upper body strong and in good shape. Would you all recommend something like a Kreiga for support? The generic backpack with waist strap has been my go to but I wonder if its worth the $ to step up.

    -Will phone booths unlock a T mobile phone? It was supposed to have been done but their customer service is abysmal.

    Thanks guys and gals,
    -Ben
     
  2. Dodraugen

    Dodraugen Ol'Timer

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    Sorry I dont wanna sound negative or caviling - I cannot understand why anyone with love for their own life would like to ride around in Bangkoks totally horrible and very dangerous traffic? Do you also know that many roads are not allowed to enter and ride with a bike in BKK? Do you know that crossings bridges over the Chao Praya river and tributiaries are not allowed with motorbikes in Bangkok?
    Do you have any idea of how to get around or out of Bangkok by bike?

    I would much rather rent a bike up north and ride around there. Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai. Maybe also northern parts of Isaan too.

    A rented bike - some rental agencies will allow you to take a bike through a border and give you the right paperwork to do so but the price will be higher. And a solid deposit will be needed as you must have your passport when you cross a border. Normally a rentalshop will keep your passport while you rent the bike. But as mentioned - you can pay a big deposit and keep your passport.
    Remember for Laos no bike less than 250 cc into the country. Remember also you need to be in a group of at least 5 bikes to cross into Laos, get a permit and pay for it at the border. The only exception for this is the Chiang Khong/Huay Xai border.
    Crossing into Cambodia on a rental - I have never heard of anyone doing that. It could of course be that someone has done it though. But its complicated as most bordercrossings now seem to demand a painfully expensive and hard to get permits that you have to travel to Phnom Penh to collect before you enter the country with the bike. So its basically a huge PITA! There are however bordercrossings that seem to allow foreign plated bikes into Cambodia without any paperwork, namely the Chong Chom/Chom/O’Smach bc in Thailands Surin province.
    But who knows - it might have changed now....?

    Bordercrossings in SE-Asia are often a huge PITA, and with a rented bike even more so. Im sure that renting in each country would be much much easier, cheaper and more conveniant.

    Riding a bike with a huge and heavy backpack is not recommended. It makes you more clumsy and vulnerable and changes the whole stability of the bike. Think topheavy and altered behaviour. At least find sone straps and strap it down to the rear carrier or rear part of the seat. Or buy some cheap throw over saddlebags.

    If you search in this forum you will find a list over rentalshops in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
     
  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    #3 DavidFL, Oct 20, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
    There's some good general border crossing info to help you understand it all & get the big picture on GTR here

    Border Crossings

    The place to rent and ride is North Thailand - Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai
    Renting Bikes

    For a route way to go in North Thailand start here
    Tours

    Do yourself a favour and dump the heavy back pack by leaving it at a GH while you go on the road for a week or two. Travel light is the way to go. You don't need to take the kitchen sink with you.
    Touring Tips
     
  4. brecchi

    brecchi Member

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    Thanks guys, a lot of things have been coming together.

    Dodraugen - I am only in Bangkok for a few days to get my bearings and check it out a bit. I've found a Honda PCX 150 on which I plan to head out of town towards the southern beaches. I suppose I didn't know my way around Bangkok when I first got here but after a bit of research I don't anticipate leaving town being a show stopper.

    I don't plan on crossing any borders until I get to Vietnam. Its super restrictive and confusing like you mentioned, not to mention the rules aren't uniform. Tigit Motorbikes has assured me that going to Loas and Cambodia is not a problem on one of their rented bikes, so long as certain rules are followed.

    The backpack isn't huge, rather small although it does have some weight. The bulk of my belongings will be in a waterproof duffel and a small set of panniers.

    Thank you for the link to the rental shops up north.


    DavidFL - thanks very much for the helpful info. I'll be using the route advice once I get up north.

    Thanks guys,
    Ben
     
  5. Dodraugen

    Dodraugen Ol'Timer

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    Very well - but you say youre not planning to cross any border until you get to Vietnam, but how are you gonna go there? Thailand and Vietnam do not have any common borders...

    Tigit Motorbikes has assured you that getting into Laos and Cambodia wont be a problem. Im ever so sorry - but Tigit seem to have absolutely no clue about what theyre talking about. No bikes less than 250 cc are allowed into Laos! How are they or you gonna deal with that? No entering Laos unless youre in a group of at least 5 bikes and then you have to get a hold of a permit that costs money, time and energy. How are you gonna deal with that?
    I guess Tigit forgot to mention that...

    And Cambodia can be much worse to enter on a rented bike. You will need a lot of paperwork, patience and skills no negotiate that hindrance. But by all means - the best of luck with that. Please come back and tell us how it went.

    Its better that you plan to carry your belongings in a duffel and small panniers, much better actually. A PCX has a big storage room under the seat where you can put belongings of a certain value too...
     
  6. brecchi

    brecchi Member

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    Hello, just wanted to touch base and let anyone who is interested know how things went.

    In a nutshell, it was amazing. Riding in Bangkok and southern Thailand isn't super fun, but the accessibility to far flung places and zipping around the islands was great. The gas station/ret stops are great. The north, as everyone knows was fantastic.

    After 5 weeks in Thailand with a quick bike-less dip into Malaysia and Myanmar (Tachiliek for a day), I flew to Vietnam and rented a brand new Honda Wave 110 from Tigit. It ended up being a great choice. I paid $250 for a month with a $500 deposit which included the "blue card", allowing me to cross into Laos and Cambodia. I rode north to Hanoi and then crossed into Laos with absolutely no problem at all. I think I paid $2 or $3 on the Laos side to process paperwork. Vietnam charged me around 10 or 15 bucks to get some form which promised that I'd bring the bike back to Vietnam.

    The notorious Laos to Cambodia border crossing required a "payment." Again, not a huge problem for me and besides being able to ride in Cambodia, the $40 I spent to get through was a lot less than I would have spent backtracking and making my way back through Vietnam to HCMC. Apparently there is a procedure which requires you writing a letter to an office in Phnom Penh and getting official permission to bring a motorbike in the country. But I believe this is reserved for big bikes, and the reality is that almost nobody knows about, or does that, especially on a small bike. Anyway, the border officer and I worked it out and I had no problems whatsoever after we came to an agreement. Had I felt uncomfortable in any way, it would have been very simple for me to backtrack and head to Vietnam.

    I want to stress that Tigit did indeed know what they were talking about. Their customer service is top notch and they prepared me well for the border crossings. They were very clear that crossing into Laos is no problem, and you are certainly allowed to bring a bike less than 250 cc into the country from Vietnam with the blue card. They were also very upfront about the fact that crossing from Laos to Cambodia requires some "creativity" and almost all of their clients find a way through. Worst case scenario would be that you would have to ride back to Vietnam, and then cross into Cambodia from there. According to Tigit, crossing from Vietnam to Cambodia on one of their bikes is as simple as the Vietnam/Laos crossing and I have no reason to doubt them.

    From Cambodia, it was back to HCMC after a few days, then back to the US. If anyone wants to know anything else about my time there, Id be happy to share.

    -Ben
     
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  7. Eoin Christie

    Eoin Christie Ol'Timer

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    Well done, Ben. It sounds like you achieved pretty much what you set out to do, and had a great time along the way.
     

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