Photo: On the road to Banlung.

Motorbiking in Asia forum

4 months around SE Asia

Posted by Lostbeachbum on 10/9/2011 at 23:49

Hey everyone,

My name is John, I'm 27 from the US and have been riding most of my life, over 100k miles. I'm leaving on my RWT next month and SE Asia is my first stop. After spending a few weeks exploring Thailand's South Coast starting in Prachuap, I'm flying into Han Oi to buy a WIN or similar to start a 3 1/2 month ride through Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia-Thailand-Malaysia.

My basic route: Take the Northern and Northwestern loop from Han Oi, then get my Laos visa in Dien Bien Phu. From there my rough plan is to spend alot of time exploring the small towns of Northern Laos, Northern Thailand and Northeastern Cambodia. I love getting off the beaten path and experiencing local culture, these areas seem the best to do that. I'll loop around and do the HCM trail, eventually making my way back into southern Thailand where I'll do some island hopping, then Malaysia and Singapore (via KUL). I plan on flying out of KL to New Zealand sometime in February. If anyone is doing a simlar trip around the same time and wants to meet up, let me know.

John

#1 Lostbeachbum has been a member since 9/9/2011. Location: United States. Posts: 40

Posted by megeb on 13/9/2011 at 21:01

Hey John!

A friend and I are planning on doing SE Asia(at least Vietnam) by mortobike around that time as well. We are both 20-something American girls, who met last year while teaching in South Korea. My experience on motorbikes, is actually limited to Vespas, so we may be below your level of desired companions, but we'd be happy to meet up if our paths happen to cross. We don't have a set itinerary, but probably won't be looking to get a bike until 2nd week of November.

Cheers,
Megan

#2 megeb has been a member since 10/6/2011. Posts: 10


Posted by Lostbeachbum on 14/9/2011 at 03:46

Hey Megan,

Wow, 4 replies in a row, you must me anxious to get on the road! I'm happy to meet up with you girls along the way, riding skill isn't a big deal as much as the pace of travel. I travel slow, don't plan ahead and hang out in remote areas with locals and try to stay away from party areas. I do like to party, heavily, but I'm more of a dive bar on the beach with a few people kinda guy rather than FMPs, been there done that... I'm very into food, scenery, culture, history, meditation and getting lost. Give me a shout when you get into VN. By 2nd week of November I will probably be somewhere around Sapa.

John

#3 Lostbeachbum has been a member since 9/9/2011. Location: United States. Posts: 40

Posted by megeb on 14/9/2011 at 05:21

Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry!! No idea how that happened!! I'll let you know when we are heading into Vietnam, and hopefully we'll be able to meet up!

#4 megeb has been a member since 10/6/2011. Posts: 10

Posted by ridetheworld on 14/9/2011 at 10:28

Hi John.
Interesting plan you have. Really.
There are some issues you have to consider when crossing borders here in South East Asia.
Regulations in general: It is not easy to take bike from country to another. To make this even more challenging, different countries have different rules and when we are in Asia, different custom officers seems to have different rules too.

Tolls and taxes: Again, different rules in every country. Be prepared to spend time, tobacco and money with paperwork.

Insurances: This is the most important. Bike insurance has to cover all countries you plan to ride. And you might have difficulties to have your Vietnamese bike insured to Thailand or Malaysia, not even speaking about Singapore.

In case you are willing to ride in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, the easiest might be to take the bike from Singapore. Singaporean bikes do have easy access all the way to Thailand. After that, everything is up to insurance companies.

Check www.bigloudrides.com and contact those guys for more information. They might be able to give you a solution.

Nasai

#5 ridetheworld has been a member since 15/7/2011. Posts: 6

Posted by Lostbeachbum on 14/9/2011 at 21:58

Thanks for the advice ridetheworld. I am prepared for any problems with boarder crossings along the way. After dozens of hours of research, I'm confident in my plan. I'm in contact with several people who've made the same trip and some who are doing it right now. The consensus is that small VN registered bikes roll through the boarders with relative ease. A $10 or $20 in your passport makes things alot smoother. The trick is knowing which crossings to take. Worst case scenario, bike gets confiscated and I'm out $300-$400. If I have any trouble bringing my bike into Malaysia or want to rent a bike in Singapore, I'll look you up. Thanks!

#6 Lostbeachbum has been a member since 9/9/2011. Location: United States. Posts: 40

Posted by Lostbeachbum on 14/9/2011 at 22:01

Thanks for the advice ridetheworld. I am prepared for any problems with boarder crossings along the way. After dozens of hours of research, I'm confident in my plan. I'm in contact with several people who've made the same trip and some who are doing it right now. The consensus is that small VN registered bikes roll through the boarders with relative ease. A $10 or $20 in your passport makes things alot smoother. The trick is knowing which crossings to take. Worst case scenario, bike gets confiscated and I'm out $300-$400. If I have any trouble bringing my bike into Malaysia or want to rent a bike in Singapore, I'll look you up. Thanks!

#7 Lostbeachbum has been a member since 9/9/2011. Location: United States. Posts: 40

Posted by Lostbeachbum on 30/11/2011 at 00:53

Well, my plans changed around a little bit but I'm still doing this trip. Spent the last 2 months in the Caribbean riding around Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago. I fly into Bangkok on Dec 6. My basic plan is to spend a few nights in the city then head to Siem Reap to buy a bike. If I can't find one there that has Vietnam papers, I'll go to Phnom Penh where I know there is a shop that has a few. No set plans really once I get the bike. I'll probably just take it slow and explore along coast as I plan on being in Sville or one of the Islands for Christmas/NYE. If anyone is doing something similar and wants to meet up, shoot me a PM or my contact info is in my profile. Safe riding everyone,

John

#8 Lostbeachbum has been a member since 9/9/2011. Location: United States. Posts: 40

Posted by MattEdge on 7/12/2011 at 02:25

John - I just rode got into Phnom Pehn today from Chau Doc, Vietnam. I have a honda win that I bought in Hanoi with Vietnam papers. I am planning to sell in the next couple days if I find a buyer either here or in Siem Reap. Unfortunately, I'm running out of time and plan to head to Bangkok on Sunday from Siem Reap. Let me know if you are going to be there and want to take a look. You can best reach me @ mtedging@gmail.com.

#9 MattEdge has been a member since 7/12/2011. Posts: 4

Posted by MADMAC on 7/12/2011 at 07:21

Lost,

If you end up doing the west bank of the Mekong (Nakhon Phanom, That Phanom, Mukdahan, Khemmerat) look me up.

#10 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Lostbeachbum on 8/12/2011 at 22:23

Thanks for the offer MM, I'll definitely look you up if I'm in the area. Matt, I would love to check out your bike but I won't be in Cambo that soon. Maybe early next week. Goodluck with the sale though!

#11 Lostbeachbum has been a member since 9/9/2011. Location: United States. Posts: 40

Posted by MattEdge on 9/12/2011 at 01:51

No worries. Think I'm actually gonna ride to the border to see if I can get it into Thailand tomorrow. If not, I may just sell it nearby or try to get back to Siem Reap. I'll let you know. If you're in Bangkok and wanna take a look there, that could work out too (if I get it across).

#12 MattEdge has been a member since 7/12/2011. Posts: 4

Posted by Lostbeachbum on 20/12/2011 at 22:09

Hey Matt, I picked up my bike here in Phnom Penh a few days ago. Having a full service done then heading for the coast. Note to anyone buying or bringing a bike into Cambodia. There are NO parts here for any bike that's not a scooter. If you have a Win, Bonus, Minsk or GN125, have a good service done before you get here and or bring spare parts with you. Also note, riding in SE Asia is not for the faint of heart or inexperienced rider. I see sooo many stupid kids hobbling around and bandaged from head to toe because they don't know how to ride or drink and drive, most of the time both. Here in Cambodia there are no laws or rules of the road beyond if it's bigger get out of the way. These people have absolutely ZERO common sense while driving and apparently have no fear of death either. A dangerous combination...

#13 Lostbeachbum has been a member since 9/9/2011. Location: United States. Posts: 40

Posted by johnysac on 22/12/2011 at 14:55

Posted from within Vietnam.

Hey Guys
That applies to all of Se asia . No Road sense at all I have been here 5 years and every death is from a stupid manouver . i e I think i can turn in front of this container truck while he is making a right turn and can not see me . Oh it ran over me now i am dead . or i will ride fast with no helmet and no lights on the wrong side of the road . Look friends i am cool . Oh the taxi did not see me . Now I am dead . Treat every driver as a mooron and ride slow and its ok . I agree with you about parts in cambodia with the minsk and bonus but the win has the same engine and drive gear as the wave and dream scooters the win is not a problem any where . Only place for minsk parts is hanoi . even saigon is drying up now

Happy holidays Johny

#14 johnysac has been a member since 25/10/2009. Posts: 71

Posted by Lostbeachbum on 18/2/2012 at 23:54

One of the best decisions I've ever made was to ride around SE Asia. The bike is a POS but it's been a great time. Hanging out in Kep now been bouncing around the islands for awhile, this region is beautiful. Thinking about heading North soon into Laos stopping in Phnom Penh for a night or 2. If anyone is doing anything similar let me know. Safe travels!

John

#15 Lostbeachbum has been a member since 9/9/2011. Location: United States. Posts: 40

Posted by Criggy on 22/2/2012 at 09:22

Hi John,

I'm curious to hear how you got on with border crossings with your motorbike.
I'm planning a trip next month (Vietnam-Cambodia-Laos-Thailand) and looking to do at least the Vietnam part by bike. Depending on how simple it is to move the bike between countries, I may choose to sell the bike in HCMC (buying it in Hanoi) or take it with me.
Also, can you pass on any information regarding buying your bike? How much did you end up paying? What is the general ballpark figure? I saw your initial plan was to buy in Hanoi, did you end up doing this? Any advice on this?

Thanks for any help,

-Chris

#16 Criggy has been a member since 21/2/2012. Posts: 13


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