Newbie checking in here, that's all.........

Discussion in 'New Members' started by olegeezer, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. olegeezer

    olegeezer Member

    I live in West Virginia, USA. I am a retired mining engineer. I joined the forum because I am planning a tour of Thailand (and possibly more) starting in January 2013. I will be traveling with Digiamo (also a member here) and we are planning on renting bikes for our tour and will be looking here as a resource for travel tips and contacts. We are anxiously awaiting our trip. We plan to be "over there" for 4 to 6 weeks.
    Ride Safe
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  3. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Hiya Joe!

    Welcome to the GT-Rider!

    January is a great time to tour Thailand by motorcycle- clean air and cool dry weather.

    Any ideas where you will ride? What type(s) of bikes interest you?

    Let us know if you have any questions.

    Happy Trails!

    Tony :happy1:
  4. olegeezer

    olegeezer Member

    Hey Tony, we are thinking maybe Laos, I have a contact in Chang Mai. I would like to get down to Phuket and try to work a sailing deal if I can? No firm agenda as of now. Playing it all by ear. I have a Versys back at home and would like to rent something similar or smaller. We wont need any big bikes as we wont be hauling a lot of gear.
  5. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Versys is a fantastic go-anywhere bike for touring in SE Asia, and since they are manufactured in Thailand there are plenty available for rent.

    That said, if Laos is your destination you might find the Versys is really more bike than you need. I think a 250 dirtbike like a KLX250 or the new Honda CRF 250L is more suitable for Laos where you'll never miss the speed of a bigger bike.

    With 4-6 weeks at your disposal I suppose you could also squeeze in some sailing in Phuket. Would you fly or ride to the island? Calm seas in January.

    Sounds like a great vacation!

  6. olegeezer

    olegeezer Member

    Tony thanks for the suggestions on the bikes. I was hoping members would chime in an make some suggestions. Do you know if you can take rentals from one country into another? I'm sure there is a way to work out that detail. Don't know how(or if ) we'll get to Phuket. I prefer to use bikes as the primary mode of transport once I get there. I've thought about taking a train from Bangkok to Chang Mai??
    I am looking forward to some authentic Thai food!!
  7. Digiamo

    Digiamo Member

    Hi Joe and all, I might as well say hi here since Joe started the process of getting to know the good folks here on GT-rider.
    Spoke to a gal in an Indian restaurant about SE Asia travel. "Don't go to Thailand without going to Laos too" was he experienced advice.

    As Joe mentioned we are going to ride smallish rentals. If anyone knows if it's OK or not to cross the Laos border on rentals let us know.

    Joe and I only met a couple of years ago but have already done over a week of riding together and we are of a similar ilk (sorry Joe) :) :crazy::wtf:We have both dreamed of a Thai ride for many years.

    Looking forward to making contact with GT- riders here, and locals once we get there.

    Thanks for the warm welcome, friends. :clap:
  8. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    To take a bike out of Thailand that you don't own you will need written permission of the owner.

    Some, but not all rental companies are willing to allow their bikes out of the country, so best to check before hand.

    Sorry, I don't know which companies do and don't allow their bikes to cross the border, but hopefully some other GT-Rider members can chime in with advice on this point.

    Depending on which border crossing you choose customs and immigration can be quick and efficient or slow and confusing. Patience, a smile and positive attitude is key! It might not be a bad idea to arrange your Laos visa at the Laos embassy in Bangkok. It will save you time at the border.

    Wishing you a fantastic ride!

    Tony :)
  9. guichard

    guichard Ol'Timer

    Every year I rent a Honda 250 AX for a month from Dang Bike in Chiangmai,,solo or with friends.

    He carefully prepares the bikes for these long trips and provides all customs documents.Never had any problem crossing

    at various authorized check points in over 10 years.

    Enjoy riding in magnidicent Northern Laos.

    Cheers, Lung.
  10. olegeezer

    olegeezer Member

    Thanks for that Lung. I was in France in 2010 and thoroughly enjoyed it! Could you give any info on why you like northern Laos so well??
  11. Dougal

    Dougal Ol'Timer

    Welcome Olegeezer,

    Obviously there's a whole lot of info in the individual sections for routes, accommodation etc...
    You've definitely given yourselves enough time.

    One suggestion is to look at doing North Thailand by following the border (Myanmar) from Mae Sot Northwards to Mae Sariang, Mae Hong Son down to Chiang Mai and up again to Mae Sai and the Golden Triangle. From there following the Mekong river around to Chiang Khong and down into Nan province.

    There are a whole lot of side trips:
    From Mae Sot head South to Umphang for a night. From Mae Sariang or Chiang Mai to Doi Inthanon (highest mountain in Thailand).
    From Chiang Mai to Doi AnKhang, Doi Mae Salong and the Samoeng Loop.
    From Chiang Khong heading South to Phu Chi Fah. In Nan the Doi Pukha Loop.

    Just a few of the options open to you.
    The favorite crossing point into Laos is Chiang Khong. There is a bridge from Nong Khai over to Vientiane but the Laos authorities more than often stop bikes crossing over there. You can cross it back into Thailand with no problems.

    Whatever you decide it will be a fabulous trip.
  12. olegeezer

    olegeezer Member

    Thanks Dougal, we're taking notes!!
  13. guichard

    guichard Ol'Timer

    Hi Joe,
    It's an old love story.My. 1st trip to Laos was in 1973.And we fell in love with Luang Prabang.Came back in 74.Not much choice of bikes to rent.The best we could find was a 100cc 2 strke Suzuki. Never the mind we enjoyed riding around,not many paved roads even downtown. Unfortunately,when the Pathet Lao took over Royalty in 75,they forbade the country to foreigners.
    We came back in 91 when the Russians and eastern europeans left but it was still impossible to tavel freely on your own.
    We had to wait 96 to be able renting scooters in Luang Prabang,but no proper bikes for off road ridind.
    Thats why I asked Dang in Chiang Mai where I rented to go around North Thailand if I could go to Laos with one of his bikes.
    No problem. so,since then I go alone ,with my son or friends every year. I love the people,the mountainous scenery,the jungle trails where you're in the middle of nowhere.
    I'll go again this winter and think I'll be able to buy the new 250 Honda CRFL which according to what I read in GT Rider
    is the proper bike for Laos. And I must hurry,because at 73 and a heart stroke last Nov I donn't how long I'll be able to ride before switching to 4 wheels!
    Cheers, Lung.
  14. guichard

    guichard Ol'Timer

    Hi Joe,
    You should go to Jurgen's post of Northeastern Laos,9th june and look at his pictures :Epilogue. But at the previous ones also.
    Have nice dreams of biking in Laos ,

  15. olegeezer

    olegeezer Member

    Thanks Lung, I found the post, he took a lot of good pictures. I hope make it there some day if not on my first trip.
  16. Digiamo

    Digiamo Member

    Does anyone have any recommendations on airlines or ticket agencies. We'll be flying from San Francisco to Bangkok.
    Trying to get the RT price down to $1000 or less if possible. That'll leave more cash to stay longer.

    We'll probably stay a couple of days in Bangkok to see what's around there then move on to Chang Mai.
  17. H Simpson

    H Simpson Member

    ST motorcycles in Chiang Rai does, however I have no personal experience with them.

    It is the best. Be warned however when you return to Farang land the local Thai food will likely dissapoint you!
  18. H Simpson

    H Simpson Member

    We chartered a yacht, "freedom Fargo", for 3 days around koh samui and other islands. The owner was Alf, and he is a top guy and runs this website

    He is very knowlegable, having sailed around the world for years and has some top stories to tell!
  19. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    In the last couple of years I've had quite good luck with Depending on the time of year and travel dates you can sometimes find a fare sale for SFO-BKK for less than $1000 but of course YMMV :)
  20. Digiamo

    Digiamo Member

    Thanks Tony, I'm looking at an Air China flight, JFK to BKK arriving in BKK same exact minute (11:45PM Jan. 9th) as Olegeezer's United flight.
    They want $1155 taxes included.
    We're gonna want to me you and whoever else is in town on the 10th, 11th, 12th...???

    That open sail tour looks like a lot of fun.

    We haven't nail down weather we will buy or rent bikes in Thailand. we'll be there for three months so I'm sure that will skew us toward buying.

    Hope to see you all there. :)
  21. olegeezer

    olegeezer Member

    Just a little update here. Danny and I have booked our flights to BKK arriving Jan9 and staying for 3 months!! We are planning a charity ride into Cambodia for about 10 days on a small scooter? I believe we have decided to rent bikes versus (buying then selling). We are interested in touring in some of the surrounding countries, Laos, Cambodia or Vietnam. We will be coming over with a very flexible plan and may even rent a small sailboat for a few days.
  22. Digiamo

    Digiamo Member

    I just downloaded to my Sammy GS3 Droid. Then I grabbed the maps for Thai, Cam, Laos and Myanmar.
    I shut all data and cell functions off on the phone to simulate "lost in the back hills" and it looks like I have truly off line mapping on the phone.
    No need to have a cell or WiFi connection to have a functional GPS system on my phone.

    Now that the last of my midnight oil is burning dimly, I can sleep knowing my GPS issues are solved ... at least for now.
    I'll get to play with this more on the 'morrow.

    Then I can focus on a translator app. :)
  23. olegeezer

    olegeezer Member

    Thats neat stuff Danny, does that device give Lat/Lon?? if so I would not need to bring the handheld Garmin Map76 for sailing purposes.
  24. Digiamo

    Digiamo Member

    Yup! ... and I just found that the Lat/long format can be selected, so we won't have to use our brains to convert.
    Any headway on a sailboat rental? I'm thinking Phuket might be the place for that, unless you have recent info.
  25. olegeezer

    olegeezer Member

    We can sail the Gulf of Thailand or the Andaman Sea, our choice. Sail rentals on both near Phuket. Small monohull costs 100,000 bhat for a week. We need crew to split cost.
  26. Digiamo

    Digiamo Member

    That looks to be around 3300 USD for the week. Can it fit ten people? Can you get a pic of that boat so we have an idea of the capacity.
    Thanks for researching this, Joe.

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