So after watching an a top gear special (the one where they buy motorbikes and drive up Vietnam) I have decided I would like to do something like that. I was wondering if any of you seasoned asiia travelers could give me some insight as to what country would be the safest for long distance motoring. I have been to Thailand a few times and Cambodia once. I just feel like biking through a country would let me see more of the of what the country has to offer. So if any of you have heard of people doing this or have any experience and could share some insight that would be awesome.
PS I wrote this on my phone and am truley sorry for spelling and grammar mistakes I know there Is probably a lot
There is a serious number of motorbike accidents and deaths in Asia. Possibly you have seen some in Thailand? I have.
It does not matter how good a driver you are, if a truck runs into you because of bad driver or drunken driving, you are in hospital or dead just the same.
And who do you sue when the driver has no money, no insurance, a beaten up vehicle and lives in an old shack with his family?
It's been years since I was last there but in your place I would consider India. Not that much traffic on the roads outside of towns, though as in much of Asia, I don't know what you'd do if you broke down. At least the road signs usually have an English translation.
Your biggest other problem is the heat and humidity. You see Thais with horrendous injuries because they were only wearing a T-Shirt, and then scrapped along the ground like that, losing lots of skin in the process. Or it could be rain flooding down if you go in the monsoon season.
Wherever you go, do buy insurance and make sure the company knows what you are going to do and where so they cannot weasel out of paying you if worse comes to worse.
As a cyclist I rode in most of south east asian countries. As a foreigner, it would be difficult to cross borders, so you best option would be to rent a motorbike in each county.
The routes I would recommend:
- Northern Thailand along Burma and Laos
- East-northern area nearer to Laos in Thailand
- What Northern circle in Laos: best way to explore the country is by bike
- "Side" roads in the north (west-east angle) in Vietnam
- Northern part of Malaysia: mountains and along the rail track
- Haven't been to Burma: but it must be very nice too
What I would not recommend:
- Norther-southern main highway in Vietnam: very dangerous road
- Most of Cambodia: safety issues plus not very beautiful
- South of Thailand and most of Center area: boring, flat rice paddies
- South of Malaysia: boring palm oil / rubber plantations.
Thailand, Laos and Malaysia are very safe for bikers. However, on steep an windy roads and big cities (like Bangkok), extra precaution is a must. And in general, better to go slowly, at least you enjoy the environment.
Best is to take helmet from home, as local shops sell low quality helmets.
If you seek ultimate experience and some of the most amazing roads in the world, I would rather go to the Himalayas in India and Nepal. Motorbike rents are possible.
China also has some of the most beautiful roads in the world, however local driving licence is needed, plus it is difficult for a foreigner to rent/buy any vehicle.
Best source of information for motorbikers is on horizonunlimited.com.
Have a safe and nice trip!
Here are few websites that may help with your planning.