You're famous - Need some help

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by Mr.Dodgy, Jun 12, 2010.

  1. Hi people, I'm new here and came across this site when Bike magazine went to Thailand last year.

    The brilliant article prompted me to plan a trip for me and my girlfriend this year (surprise birthday present).

    I've been riding in London and across the UK and Europe for six years now and would class myself as fairly experienced, but my girlfriend started riding her own bike last year and is currently on a learner licence (125cc).

    Now, I was wondering if you guys could help me with a few questions.

    Firstly, is hiring a bike for my girlfriend going to be a problem since she doesn't have a full licence. She has been driving for about seven years and has full driving entitlement.

    I would want to hire Kawasaki Ninja 250s for both of us as I believe that bike has the right combination of light weight, agility and ease of use that will allow my girlfriend to make good use of it, and not bore me as I own R1 and GSX-R 1000 superbikes.

    Does anyone know places outside, but near Bangkok (where we arrive) where we can rent these types of bikes?

    Last question, is there a decent bus network in Thailand that will allow us to travel to the rental location?

    Any help appreciated.

    Thank you.
  2. Hi there,
    Renting a bike here is generally not a problem at all. The rental places like to keep your passport just in case there is a problem with the bike on return (or no return) but they don't even check for a drivers licence, motorcycle licence etc. People who have never been on a bike before rent them all the time up here in Chiang Mai. Not really something I recommend but your girlfriend, having experience but no licence, should have no problems at all renting a bike.

    Also the transportation in Thailand is pretty good, you can get most places pretty easily by bus. I can't recommend a specific place to rent a bike near Bangkok as I don't live there and don't have much experience in the area but where ever you do end up renting from will be easy to get to, that much I can tell you. Something to consider though would be to just hop on a bus or a plane and head up to Chiang Mai. Bikes are readily available up here and the riding is fantastic.

    Not too many places have the ninja 250 as I think the mentality went 250 dirt bikes will rent the best lets get lots of those, the 650 will also rent well lets get some of those and the ninja 250 seems to have been somewhat forgotten in the mix. Though there are a couple around.

    Hope that helps.
  3. you could most likely rent one in pattaya,cheap,many buses there, but I dont know that youd want to go there with your girlfriend
    Also the roads around there are real boring compared to chiang mai.
    If you're heading up north the best roads are so twisty you dont often need more than a 250
  4. i) There will be no problem renting the bike... the rental shops just want your money... the only issue you should worry about is your insurance coverage... (I can only speak for Travel Insurance purcahsed in Australia)... here, some Travel Insurance policies do not cover you if on a bike at all... of those that do cover bikes, none cover you if you are doing something you are not licenced to do at home... i.e. ride without a licence, break your cc provision, or carry a pillion if not licenced to carry one... Up to you what you do, I rode for many years on trips to Thailand without any experience or licence at home... just be aware that a shitload of (usually inexperienced) tourists have a get off each year, and if your travel insurance won't cover you, paying your own way can be more expensive that hospitals back home... For this reason, you might consider either pillioning your missus, or going local and getting 125cc scooters... otherwise might be worth while getting Travel Insurance inside Thailand... try

    ii) This site is mostly about riding based from Chiang Mai... if I was you, I would grab a cheap flight from BKK to Chiang Mai, and hire a bike there... The Golden Triangle is definately where the best riding is anyway, and also the easiest place to get good bikes... flights inside Thailand are dirt cheap (probably 50 quid return)... the train often costs more than a flight, buses are heaps cheaper, but take 12 hours I think (never done it) and not a day goes by without a news story of the bloody aftermath of a bus crash... the drivers are just nuts...

    You will have a probelm finding bikes to tour on anywhere other than Chiang Mai... There is one guy in BKK hiring bikes now, but I think he is limited to a couple of old 600cc and a couple of new 650 Ninjas... Seach for frankc on ... le&Ntype=6 ... The bikes in Pattaya (2 hours drive from BKK in the opposite direction to CM) and Phuket (even further) etc are generally for tourists to use in town, and most contracts don't allow you to leave the province...

    In Chiang Mai, there are heaps of 650 Ninjas and ER6Ns, and heaps of (250cc) D-Trackers... I think MrBeer has 1 x 250 Ninja... just turn up and have a look around...

    Hope it helps,
  5. Thank you very much everyone.

    Is it worth getting the maleria jab for the trip?

    Just wondering as the side effects can be a bit harsh.

    Anyone gonna be in the Chiang Mai around 21st June for a meet up?

    Thanks a lot guys.

  6. dodgy, no need for malaria over here unless you are planning some bear grylls style adventure deep in the forest. I dont know of one long term expat over here that takes malaria pills, ive just come back from laos for 2 weeks and didnt take them there either. As you said the drugs have some bad side effects, the best way is to prevent getting bitten in the first place IMO.

    Good luck with the trip from one gixxerboy to another!
  7. Same same as what Suzidirtyhondahonk said, I have never bothered with Malaria tablets... even for the kids when I bought them... Long pants and long sleaves at night, and good quality mosquito repelent are a much better solution if you are conserned...

  8. If I was You I would come straight to Chiang Mai and Rent the Kawasaki D-Tracker instead of the 250 Ninja? I have Ridden them all and I think Your Girlfriend would have a Lot More Fun on the D-Tracker and will be a lot less Likely to Drop it? And if She does have that Misfortune they are a lot tougher and Easier to fix than a Ninja 250 with a Fairing!The Roads up here are more Fun on a D-Tracker as well?
  9. malaria is not a real problem but Dengue fever is common so take precautions against mosquito bites.
  10. Thanks guys...Just a few last questions as we should be leaving for Thailand in a few days.

    We are only staying about 10 days and want to get as much as possible out of the trip, but we don't want to rush around trying to do everything and not enjoy the trip.

    So how should we get to Chiang Mai?

    Should we...

    Fly direct from London? (This seems significantly more expensive than flying to Bangkok).
    Book an internal flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai? (can we do this in the airport...will we need to speak the language? how easy / difficult is this to do?).
    ..or should we get a train from Bangkok (again, how difficult will this be).

    When we arrive in Chiang Mai, should we book a motorcycle guide to show us the best roads / places to visit, and can anyone recommend a good one?

    Is it worth just bringing our helmets and hiring all the other riding gear whilst we're out there? (any recommendations?)

    Can anyone recommend must do roads? I would like to try some dirt biking but not sure how the girlfriend will get on with this (she does have experience of gravel....falling off :lol-sign: ) so might stick to asphalt.

    So guys if you had 10 days in Chiang Mai, how would you play it? Bear in mind that this trip is a surprise birthday present for the missus. She'll probably involve me in some shopping :think: and she'll probably like to see some elephants or other animals in between riding the bikes.

    This site has been invaluable in planning this trip and I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone involved in making it such a useful resource.

    I'm planning to film our trip so hopefully, I'll have some videos when we get back.

    Cheers all.
  11. Mr Dodgy,
    Fly to Bangkok. From there either get a Budget Flight to Chiang Mai. Train & Bus is also available. Distance is 700kms. It is Pretty Warm here at the moment so Unless You Gear is well Vented it might be Too Hot? You can Buy reasonable Bike Kit for reasonable prices in Town. Helmet, Armour etc. If You gear is easy to Carry no problem?
    You can get some GT-Rider Maps when Here and You will probably meet other Riders also so You won't need a Guide?
    Forget the Language as it is difficult to Learn ( In my case Impossible!!! ) Most People in Tourist Areas speak enough English. Elephants and all the Attractions are available out here in Mae Rim which is on the Samoeng Loop. Great Ride. Mae Hon Song Loop is another Great Ride as are many other Roads in the North of Thailand!You can work it out when You arrive no problems.
  12. Ten days is plenty and also not enough... some of the guys have been living there 30+ years and still not sick of riding or ridden all the roads they would like to... I fly in for 5 or 10 days at a time...

    Fly into BKK and get a connection on Air Asia or Nok Air... Note that Nok flies from the old airport, no where near the International Airport... so if you are connecting to an International flight, go with Air Asia...

    Book a flight online if you can... about 1/4 the price of doing it at the airport, also, you can't buy additional luggage allowance at the airport, so you pay much higher excess bagage costs... 34 quid each way. ... lang=en-US 23 Quid each way...

    Forget learning Thai, you will only confuse the locals, most anyone who deals with foreigners can speak enough english to get by...

    There are a couple of guides who advertise on here... I would recommend going to Kafe (the name of a cafe/restaurant) and meeting some of the GT Riders, and The GT Rider, and also going to see John at Jonadda Guesthouse to see if he has any guests looking for riding partners...

    You can buy helmets of a quality you would pay 50-100 Quid in the UK for about 20 Quid in Chiang Mai... if you want more than that, bring it from home... I bring all my riding gear with me, but I don't have any other luggage to worry about... IMHO you don't want to waste a day shopping for gear you don't want... Motorcycling Gear is a luxury good/small market in Th, so much more expensive than at home...

    Everyone has to do the Mae Hon Song Loop - 2 or 3 day ride most of the time... But I agree with Jonadda John that there are great roads to the East of Chiang Mai around Nan - The Doi Pukka Loop is a must do if you can... The problem and beauty is that the East of Chiang Mai is less touristy, so less English, which can be a problem, but part of the adventure as well...

    Depends on how much time you want to spend in BKK... women and their shopping :roll:... In BKK wherever you stay, make sure it is close to the Skytrain (aka BTS) to make it easy to get around...

    For me ;

    Into BKK One day of shopping (MBK, Siam Centre, Paragon, I would say Central World, but some of Bungy's mates burnt it down) - Out to Wat Pho/Wat Phra Kaew ferry accross the river from Tha Tien (the pier near Wat Pho) to Wat Arun to chill on the grass and watch the boats on the river... Ferry Back to Tha Tien, different ferry down the river to Sathorn Pier where you can catch the Skytrain back to the tourist areas of BKK... From then, hit the bars until bed...

    2nd day, fly to Chiang Mai, spend the day organising bikes and seeing the town... plan to do Mae Hon Song Loop for the next two nights, swing by Kafe and meet some of the guys and have dinner...

    3rd day - 5th day - Mae Hon Song Loop - (Stay in Pai and Mae Hon Song)

    6th Day rest day tourist day in Chiang Mai, maybe go up Doi Suthep, Maybe ride out to the Elephant Camps, maybe get drunk and fall down (that is what I would do)...

    7th - 9th Day head to Nan, Doi Pukka Loop...

    Day 10 Fly CM - BKK - Home...

    Day 11, decide you need another holiday and start planning...

  13. Thank you for all the help.

    Especially Daewoo.

    We'll be leaving tomorrow hopefully.

    Will post pics when we return.
  14. We got here yesterday night after a nightmare connection through New Dehli, India which saw us almost miss our connecting flight to Chiang Mai.

    The Thai's were very helpful getting us on the flight despite the gates almost closing.

    Going exploring on bikes tomorrow.

    Loving it so far.

    Cheers :happy2:
  15. This thread has been quite useful for me. Also planning a trip late Nov for a couple of weeks. Been to CM before but not for motorcycling. This trip is for me :)
    I've been scanning through the forum to 'try' to not ask 'dumb' or 'already frequently asked questions' and it has been really handy... so thanks for allowing me to do this.

    Just a couple of extra questions:
    If I wanted to dump some excess stuff while out riding for a few days, can anyone suggest howwhere I could store a small amount of gear?

    Looking to hire a D-Tracker (economical and versatile) to do Mae Hong Son loop (and whatever else I can fit in).
    a) do you think this would be a suitable ride (I noticed Ian Bungy recommended them)?
    b) do the hire bikes mostly have a small gear rack mounted?
    c) do you need to get any other insurance for hire bikes (obviously I will have appropriate travel insurance)?

    Does the 'Tiny Corner' bar still exist? :crazy:
  16. Dumping Gear - You should almost certainly be able to leave it wherever you have accommodation before and after any trips... Most places have a reasonably secure room to allow guests to store luggage while they go treking etc (at your own risk).

    a) D-Traker will be fine, but performance wise, you won't be setting the world on fire. Remember that until 12 months ago, most people were doing these rides on 15 year old XR250s or CB400s.
    b) Hit and miss, just keep looking until you find one that does if that is a requirement for you.
    c) You can buy insurance for the bike (damage and theft) you will have to pay a significant excess (I think 10,000 baht) for damage, and even more significant excess (half the value of the bike) for theft.

    I believe that medical costs for other people you hit are included in the rego of the bike. No cover for damage to other vehicles is included (and is specifically excluded for motorbikes on most travel insurance). Someone smarter than me will need to confirm.

  17. Thanks Daewoo
    Very helpful. A rack isn't necessary, I'll be travelling pretty light. I'd just rather keep my back free of a pack and thought it would be easier to strap down on a rack. Thanks for the insurance advice. I might bring my bike lock :)
    Although not what I'm used to powerwise, the D-Tracker sounds like alot of fun. I'm really wanting to take in the sights rather than scrape pegs.

  18. Your other option is an ER6N/ER6F. They are fun little bikes for roads where speed limits are not your problem... :happy5:

  19. Hey thanks
    They appear to be about 400 Tbht more expensive per day looking at the rental guide on this site, but happy to pay that for the extra wrist twist.
    Appreciate your help!

  20. Well, it looks like just about everything's been answered. The Tiny Bar on Soi 2 was still open the last time I was in CM and across the street at the Hash House Pub they will store your stuff in their baggage room for 20 baht per bag per day if you didn't want to keep a guest house while you were out of town. There are probably more than 100 bikes (DTracker, ER6N,KLX) for rent within walking distance all along Moon Muang Road and across the moat from that point. Pop car/motorbike rental (stores on both sides of the moat) alone appear to have 30 or more and Mr. Mechanic has a selection at each of their several locations to mention just a couple...
  21. Thanks Roaddhist
    I was keen to hear whether that bar still existed. We had some great nights there in 2006. Good to know about the storage option also.
    From what I've been reading Mr Mechanic sounds like a safe option to hire a bike from.

  22. Hey SV,

    Mr Mechanic is a good choice, but only one of 10 that advertise on the site... Mr Mechanic are a bit of a favourite with GT-Riders because they are next door to Kafe, and some of the staff are pleasing on the eye :shock: ... not necessarily critical in evaluating vendors :smile1: ... In your favour, they do have good working relationships with the GT-Rider community...

    I was very happy with the service I received from Mr Beer... When Tony and Pikey at Tony's Big Bikes get some new Kawasakis they would be a great choice...

  23. Hey SV,

    Mr Mechanic is a good choice, but only one of 10 that advertise on the site... Mr Mechanic are a bit of a favourite with GT-Riders because they are next door to Kafe, and some of the staff are pleasing on the eye :shock: ... not necessarily critical in evaluating vendors :smile1: ... In your favour, they do have good working relationships with the GT-Rider community...

    I was very happy with the service I received from Mr Beer... When Tony and Pikey at Tony's Big Bikes get some new Kawasakis they would be a great choice...

    A few comments......
    I honestly believe the bike condition is generally "the same" in all the shops - they all have good & not so good bikes, with good & bad days.

    In high season when it is busy the bikes are often not as well maintained because the bikes are in & straight out, & unless a customer complains about his bike it goes straight back out on the rack for rent. And often the customer will say nothing because he just wants his passport back.

    Just because you book a bike in advance does not mean the shop will always sit on their best bike for you until you turn up. Other customers will take it while it is sitting there. What you generally end up getting is the best bike available at the time of rental. But you will have a bike waiting for you & not need to hunt around wasting time.

    I've seen terrible complaints from dissatisfied customers at both the expat & Thai run shops. Mr Mechanic tends to be the most sympathetic, with the farang more farang like & confrontational. Mr Dodgy who started off this thread is an example, but he won't post his bad experience, will be back, but won't rent from the same shop after returning 2 bikes in 3 days with his holiday stuffed up.I witnessed the 2nd bike return & it was not nice.

    Mr Mechanic is the bike shop GT Rider supports, because they support GT Rider with adverts, map & shirt sales. We like to help each other.
    They also have the best customer relations & service, plus back up support.
    They have one of the best locations in Chiang Mai, next to the Kafe.

    There is a big rental shop with several outlets & a huge fleet of bikes that has not made his money from renting bikes, but other activities. This shop undercuts the other rental shops who are trying to make a genuine living from renting bikes. He maybe there now with a huge fleet, but he also may disappear over night or suddenly have an enforced holiday one day.

    Your best bet is to support those who appreciate their customers & care about their business. Support them so they will be there when you come back next time, for many years to come.
  24. +1 on Mr Mechanic! Couple of years back we rented one of their bikes ( an old but well-maintained CB750) and were stopped by the BIB (local constabulary) near Chiang Rai. They were looking for an excuse to relieve me of cash at a roadblock. Called Mrs Mechanic on the mobile phone then handed it over to the BIB. A brief conversation ensued then it was all smiles and pats on the back and we were on our way. I would certainly rent from them again.
  25. At the risk of turning this into a Mr Mechanic fan club thread, I'll add my two satang.

    I've rented from both Tony's and Mr Mechanic over the last couple of years and had bikes break down from both. As explained in one of the posts above, sometimes these things are unavoidable - Shit happens.
    In the Tony's breakdown (luckily only a few hundred metres from the shop), Pikey Immediately replaced the Phantom I'd hired with a CB400.
    In the case of Mr Mechanic, it was at Chiang Dao but the bike (XJR 1200) was still ridable (just) so I took it back to their workshop and I was offered a smaller (CB 750) replacement bike immediately or wait for the bike to be fixed (couple of hours) I waited and was told if the bike broke down again, they would bring me a replacement bike wherever I was.

    In both cases, although it would of course have been better if the breakdowns never happened, both rental shops did all that could be reasonably expected in the circumstances.
    I'm happy to rent from either but at the moment Mr Mechanic are getting all my business until Tony and Pikey get some ER6s .

    The "customer relations" staff (eye candy) at Mr Mechanic is a factor but that is balanced by the ease of farang - farang communication at Tony's. I find telephone conversation with Mr Mechanic staff slightly difficult.

    P.S - Why does the forum software change my Aussie "s h i t" into the Pommy "s h y t e"?

    P.P.S. It's a pity that Mr Dodgy won't relate his experiences on here.

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