Southeast Asia is an incredible part of the world that has to be seen, for its incredible scenery, amazing food, extremely friendly locals, and because it is a highly affordable destination. If you plan on enjoying exciting new motorcycle routes, you need to mark Southeast Asia on your map.
You should know that this region is more than suitable when it comes to riding a motorcycle because of various reasons. To start with, the views are breathtaking, and the roads are better than you may think. The traffic is light, and there are many exceptional roads that go through rural areas helping you get a glimpse of the local culture, traditions and some of the best kept culinary secrets you never knew existed. So, let us begin the journey of discovering some of the most magnificent routes in Southeast Asia.
Thailand & Laos
Distance – 2,203 Kms
Days To Complete – 10 Days
Road Conditions – Decent mountainous and tarmac roads for most of the trail. Steep and narrow at certain strips, including rough roads between Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng in Laos.
Difficulty – Moderate. People familiar with riding in the mountains won’t face major issues. Get familiar with driving on the right side of the road.
Why Should You Choose To Ride From Thailand To Laos?
The journey takes you through the picturesque mountain range and valleys, which are yet to get the mainstream touristy attention. This makes for a unique experience throughout the trail with beautiful views all along, not to forget warm and friendly people in Laos, and traditions and culture unheard before.
Personal Account Of The Riding Experience From Thailand To Laos.
For a rider, longer the journey, better it is. And, this is true for me, because this 10-day journey starting from beautiful Chiang Mai in Thailand to lush mystic mountains and valleys across major spots in Laos provides for adventure and experience one certainly cannot forget. Thankfully, the roads throughout the journey were good, which made for a less stressful experience and even though Laos is not hoarded with tons of tourists each year, you definitely won’t get starved because there are ample of local restaurants and cheap hotels around with basic amenities.
Tour highlights for me was riding across and staying in Luang Prabang, named as “The Best Preserved Traditional City in South East Asia”. It has a stunning backdrop and riding through limestone karst landscape is definitely an adventure. Other places worthy of mention include Nam Ngum Damn, Khao Kho (Also known as Thailand’s Little Switzerland), Phu Ta Boek National Park, and Mount Phousi. The list, however, is endless because both Thailand and Laos offers great natural landscape and mesmerizing views, mixed with great culture, food, tradition, and most of all, everything you come across in the journey is pocket-friendly.
Thailand To Cambodia
Distance – 2,153 Kms.
Days To Complete – 10 Days, including 9 riding days.
Road Conditions – The roads in Thailand are mostly good. In Cambodia, it is very good at certain strips, and moderately challenging at few others. As the country is developing fast, the road conditions are getting better, and new roads are being constructed all over Cambodia.
Difficulty – Easy. For experienced riders, this would be a dream ride.
Why Should You Ride From Thailand To Cambodia?
From experiencing the southeast coastline of Thailand to relaxing in few of the world’s best beaches in Cambodia, and exploring world’s largest religious monument at Angkor Wat, there are ample reasons to take on this amazing ride.
Personal Account Of Riding Experience From Thailand To Cambodia.
The journey starts in Pattaya, so for me, fun already began even before the start of the journey. As a beach lover, it was amazing how the journey to Cambodia allowed me to discover southeast coastline of Thailand, from where we crossed into Cambodia where the beaches are equally breathtaking, if not more.
Visiting Kampot City that’s famous for black pepper globally was fun. Strolling across the “Killing Fields” near Phnom Penh, where millions were killed and buried gave an unnerving glimpse into the country’s horrifying yet humbling past. Since I love documenting my escapades with photography, it was fun to take amazing pictures in the beautiful beaches of Cambodia as well as its hosts of temples we came across the trail, not to forget the World Heritage Site of “Angkor Wat”. It’s simply spectacular and well-maintained. Overall, the riding experience would be diverse as you go across beach towns, valleys, developed cities and picturesque mountains all in one tour.
The Great Himalaya Ride
Distance – 1,500 Kms.
Days To Complete – 15 Days Tour, including 11 riding days.
Road Conditions – Smooth tarmac roads at certain stretches, and extremely difficult and narrow mountainous roads at high altitudes and valleys. No presence of roads at many small strips.
Difficulty – Challenging.
Why Should You Choose To Ride From Thailand To Himalaya?
The Himalayan range offers one of the most spectacular views and backdrops in the world. For any rider, this is a lifetime experience.
Personal Account Of The Riding Experience From Thailand To Himalaya.
I have traveled through mountainous regions before, but riding through the Himalayas has been certainly one of the best as well as the most challenging experiences. The high altitudes in Kashmir valley do take the test of your endurance levels, and also provides for the stunning views of Tsomoriri and Tso-Khar lakes.
The famous Indus Valley range with breathtaking 24,000ft snow clad mountains makes for the picturesque view, which makes the journey all the more worthwhile. Riding through the highest motorable passes near Rohtang La linking Ladakh and Zanskarand regions definitely tested my riding abilities to the extremes, but the natural beauty makes up for it.
Overall, if you love mountains and have the passion for riding bikes in the most challenging of stretches in the world, a trip through the Himalayan region, starting from Srinagar to Manali should definitely be on your bucket list.
Thailand & Myanmar
Distance – 2,950 Kms.
Days To Complete – 19 Days Tour, including 16 riding days.
Road Conditions – Roads in Thailand are good, but some stretches in Myanmar can be moderately difficult to ride on.
Difficulty – Somewhere in between Easy To Moderate.
Why Should You Choose To Ride From Thailand To Myanmar?
Very diverse culture and almost untouched natural beauty – isolated from modern tourism atmospherics. Monastery of Kya Khet Wai and Shwedagon Pagoda, which is over 2,500 years old are worth watching. Mahagandayone Monastery in Mandalay is one of the visited monasteries in the country and is home to several thousand monks. Your trip to Mandalay, Myanmar is incomplete without witnessing the grandeur and solace of the Mahagandayone Monastery. One can experience Buddhism very closely across the country.
Personal Account Of The Riding Experience From Thailand To Myanmar.
The riding experience from Thailand to Myanmar is exciting, challenging and fun for sure, which is what the bikers live for. The roads in some of the stretches leading to Myanmar were earlier rough, but due to the efforts made by the government towards infrastructure development, the riders can be sure of experiencing smooth tarmac roads for the most part of their travel in Myanmar.
The roads from Chiang Mai to Mae Sot are as smooth as it can be. You might come across a few potholes when riding towards Mawlamyine, but this stretch has flat roads, and there is nothing much to worry about for a seasoned rider.
After the brief ride through the region, you would be immersed in checking out the beauty of the beautiful Dawna Mountain range and ride parallel to Salween River. Witnessing sunset from Kyaikthanlan Pagoda would replenish your love for Mother Nature. Visiting Mahagandayone Monastery in Mandalay has to be one of the spotlights of the tour, and is a monastery visited heavily by the tourist around the year. During the Buddhist Lent Festival, you can check out the entire monastery lit up, and thousands of monks gather here in the Monastery, which also contributes to the town of Amarapura bustling with activity.
Golden Stupa situated in the archaeological site of Bagan gave me a memorable photo opportunity to capture the historical past and archaeological relics of Myanmar. Handicraft workshop at Myinkaba village helped me know more about the lifestyle of the rural population of the country, and also explore the unique handicrafts items, Burma is famous for. At many places across the country, including in the capital Yangon, I had to travel on the bus as bikes weren’t allowed.
Other places that I visited during my tour that are worth mentioning for their beauty and the way it reflects the well-kept culture and traditions of Myanmar include Golden Palace Monastery, Inle Lake, Manuha Temple, and Mount Popa.
Thailand to Tibet (China)
Distance – 4,800 Kms.
Days To Complete – Total 19 days, including 17 riding days.
Road Conditions – Mostly good throughout the journey.
Difficulty – Easy.
Why Should You Choose To Ride From Thailand To China?
The trip from Thailand to China would take you through the most diverse cultures in one go, starting from Thailand to Laos and from there to Yunan Province in China, including the autonomous regions of Tibet via Shangri-La. The trip is filled with breathtaking views, amazing culinary and shopping experience, and of course the photo opportunities that are incomparable with anywhere else in the world.
Personal Account Of The Riding Experience From Thailand To China.
My love for Thailand is never-ending, and starting my ride to China from Chiang Mai just adds to the beautiful experience that lies ahead. The roads have been a no-brainer for the most part and made for a smooth and easy journey. Discovering the highest hot spring in Thailand, Mae Kachan, towards the north of Chiang Mai was a fun experience during the start of the journey. From Chiang Mai, I rode to Mae Sai in Myanmar and from there to Luang Namtha in Laos, exploring the mighty Mekong River on the way.
The visa on arrival procedures is a bit hectic in Laos and Myanmar, but I had my documents well sorted out, so it was smooth but time-consuming nevertheless. However, once I entered China, the difference is visibly noticed. The roads became much better, and the development is easily seen, even in some of the villages and towns I came across along Mekong River. It is a photographer delight all the way, and I didn’t mind halting at intervals to capture the scenic beauty everywhere I went in China.
Other highlights of my journey through China includes Shaxi’s Sideng Market, Erhai Lake, Casino Town of Boten, Three Pagodas, Shong Sheng Temple, old and beautiful town of Lijiang which is also a UNESCO world heritage site, Yangtze river, riding through the silk road to Shangri-La (Tibet) and the Laos town of Luang Prabang, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The overall experience has been wonderful and has put me in that relentless drive to come back and explore other regions in China, which I certainly will at the first chance I get.
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