It's gotta start somewhere - little help please

Discussion in 'New Members' started by Trumper, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. Trumper

    Trumper New Member

    Hi All,
    I stumbled across this forum, and have enjoyed what I have read so far. I want to put a couple of questions out there if anyone has time to respond. First, a little background...

    A mate and I are planning a 2 week SE Asia bike trip in March 2012. We are both experienced riders (in the safer, more organised streets back home) and have a reasonable amount of off road experience. We are looking for an adventure, and I am hoping this, our first SE Asian ride, will inspire an ongoing annual trip to explore somewhere new.

    For our trip in March, we are still looking to decide:

    1. Which part of SE Asia (we are considering a few, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Burma)

    2. If we should go as part of an organised tour group or map it out and take it on ourselves

    To the first question, we are leaning heavily towards Northern Thailand, though still reading about/looking at the alternatives. Given you guys have seen quite a bit of the region, I am keen to hear what you would recommend a couple of first timers (please don’t say a moped and tourist map icon11.png

    To the second question, should it be a given that we take the first trip as part of an organised group, or is it worth considering doing it independent?

    I hope these questions aren’t too broad as I really would appreciate anything you all have to offer on this.

    Many thanks in advance.
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  3. ronwebb

    ronwebb Ol'Timer

    Hi Trumper and welcome to the forum.
    I dont know how much time you have but I would initially go for Northern Thailand starting from Chiang Mai. The driving habits, road conditions get worse after that on your countries of consideration. Thailand is right hand drive as with Aus, others are left hand so additionally to the fact that road rules in these parts are at best just a 'guide line', you will have to cope with that. Burma is OB - you cant ride bikes there.
    As to whether you go on a tour or independent, I guess that's up to the individual and whether you want on or off road and if off road to what extreem. For on road, get a couple of GT Rider maps (you can order from this site); The Golden Triangle and Mae Hong Song loop maps cover a lot of ground with much to see and do. Its also well worth looking at trip reports on this site - go to Northern Thailand trip reports;
    there is loads of info there along with places to stay, eat etc.
    For off road, I have no experience but its easier to get lost or into trouble if you have an accident/breakdown or whatever and need help but having said that, plenty of experienced rider do that kind of thing. Language can be a problem in remote parts too if you need assistance. Trails are also on the same maps as above.
    The North has so many wonderful roads/rides it could keep you going for a month without seeing it all, depending of course on how much you like to see and enjoy along the way.
    When you know your arrival dates and if you choose to start in Chiang Mai, drop a note on this forum and someone will catch up for a coffee or whatever and give you some first hand info.
    Also, you will not get the selection of bikes in Thailand that you have in Aus, the choice is some what limited comparatively - I assume that you will rent.
    No doubt others will make additions to this post but I am sure you will have a good time up here.
  4. Trumper

    Trumper New Member

    Many thanks for the advice Ron. Point taken about getting a guide for off road. I will check out the link and read up (really loving this site) but think I will settle on Nth Thailand as it seems to be a good all round option and a well worn path.

    Appreciate your help.
  5. ronwebb

    ronwebb Ol'Timer

    Just another thought. If you do venture into Laos or Cambodia, make sure that you have good SOS medivac insurance to get you airlifted to Thailand or ome. You don't want to end up in a hospital in either of those countries for long.
  6. Hudsonian

    Hudsonian Member

    Its that old equation time against money, its usually the way that you have most of one or the other, my advice, given your time constraints and relative lack of experience in this neck of the woods,ie geography, language etc is pay up front and let someone else organise your trip while you earn the coin to pay for it, that way ,ok it costs a bit more but you're not wasting half your holiday sussing things out. Theres some great operators out here, look at first hand reccomendation, they operate mainly in Vietnam but head off road into Laos.
    Good luck
  7. shing

    shing Member

    hey thumper , i did my first solo riding in North thailand, the Mae Hong Son Loop. definitely good adventure for you and yr friend, do it independently, that way you really are free to be flexible on your pace and what you guys wanna do. i definitely had fun and adventure! below is my ride report in north thailand:)
  8. blackb15

    blackb15 Ol'Timer

    Having visted Chaing Mai (CM) the last 2 years ( and Thailand for the last 20 + years) and hired a bike in CM I would really recomend to do that, it is really easy. The GT maps are great and the roads fantastic and forum seems to have the answers and info. I am back in a couple of weeks to do it again it was that good. I have been lucky enough to have toured a bit including Oz and Europe etc and this is the best I have done. As others have said a guided tour is a personal preference, I didn't but I am sure I missed a lot that someone with local knowledge would have pointed out. I have been to the other countries nearby you mention below and my preference is Thailand by far.

    Hope that helps

    Safe riding


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