So you are planning your first Open Road long bike ride across Thailand. You may be a novice or experienced rider back home, but have you ever gone outside your comfort zone and driven in a foreign land where the rains come hard and heavy or the sun beats down at random? Have you ever experienced riding in a troop experiencing foreign landscapes and cultures with hardy big bike enthusiasts at every excursion?
Whether you choose to ride the Mae Hong Son Loop, which takes you to the most mountainous province in Thailand to the highest peak, Doi Inthanon (2.565 meters above sea level) or the Nan Loop excursion which takes you through the most beautiful countryside of Northern Thailand with its great roads, no traffic, no speed cams and stunning scenery. You can ride the famous Highway No. 1148, ranked as one of the top 10 best riding roads all over the world. Ride along the unique panorama of the Border between Laos and Thailand. Cross the Sirikit Dam Reservoir on a wooden ferry and visit the World Heritage Historical Park of Sukhothai.
But like every open rider knows and understands…. you need to prepare well and know what you’re doing in advance.
So here are a few tips to make your experience as pleasant as possible.
Tip Number 1: Driver’s License, Rules of the Road and Insurance
You don’t need a special Thai driving license but you will need a valid international driving permit or a valid license with a motorcycle amendment from your home country so make sure you organize this before you leave home.
In Thailand, we drive on the left. As in England, Ireland and Australia. All speed limits are in km/h, 30-50 for towns, 60 for suburbs and 90 for major roads and dual carriageways. You must always slow down when passing through villages, 50 km/h maximum. Each trip will be led by a troop leader who will take you and your group on the journeys through Thailand landscapes. Our bikes are in excellent condition and ready for the open road, professionally maintained by our staff mechanics.
Thailand (like most Asian countries) has motorbike rules that vary and are followed or not followed by the local people. Since you are with us, we will advise and brief you on the specific rules of the road for Motorcycles before each trip. One of the main priorities of BigBikeTours.com is the safety of our clients, their rides and the excursion we take. Helmets, protective clothing, gloves, observing speed limits, etc. are all enforced for your safety. We recommend Travel Insurance to make sure it covers you for riding motorbikes of 250cc or more. Travel Insurance for Thailand (which also includes coverage for Motorbikes) is not expensive and will offer you many benefits if you require claim.
Tip Number 2 : Choose Your Travel Dates Based on Weather
Here’s a helpful tip of times-of-the-year in Thailand for Open Road riding in Thailand.
October to February
This is the best time to ride Motorbikes in Northern Thailand with warm temperatures, clear blue skies, sun, hardly any rain and forests alive with fresh, lush greenery from the recent monsoon season.
March to June
These are the hottest months of the year. Temperatures can be up to 40 degrees at this time (“Hot Session”). May and June the temperatures cool down to pleasant 30 degrees.
July to October
The monsoon season lasts for about 4 months, but it is not as bad as it sounds. It doesn’t rain every day but when it does it really rains so pack the rain gear.
Tip Number 3 : Bring Suitable Riding Gear
Certain riding gear can be purchase in the bigger cities of Thailand, but European standard gear will cost more in Thailand than in your own country, and you may struggle with sizes.
What riding gear should I bring?
Apart from the obvious protective clothing (as light as possible), you should always bring a second pair of gloves and a bandana or something similar to cover your neck.
There is nothing worse than a soaking wet pair of gloves and having a long day on the bike ahead of you. Your hands and neck are two of the biggest places where you can control your body temperature and having the appropriate gear for both is very important. Also, remember that the back of your neck will be susceptible to sunburn so keep it covered up.
Tip Number 4 : Choose Your Ride Carefully
Pick a bike suitable for you. Make sure that you pick a ride that is comfortable for you, remember that you will be driving long distances.
If you are an experienced rider, you will know what you need or how you ride which helps in the choosing of your bike. If you are not an experienced rider, some choices may be based on your height, comfortability in driving (being able to lean back or sit upright), carry compartments, handling, automatic or manual transmissions or other specific things that might pertain to you. You can ask us!
Tip Number 5 : Expect the Unexpected
Like every Adventure… prepare to expect the unexpected. Although our Bike Tours are planned and mapped beforehand, you never know what experiences may lie ahead. These are the rules for the open road. Animals, weather, people, vehicles, accidents, construction, dust, bugs, mechanical failure, police, etc. are all unexpected hazards that can obstruct or cause some delay to our tours. All issues unexpected are always handled swiftly by our Troop Leaders and usually provide humorous anecdotes and open road stories for your group.
Tip Number 6 : Be Prepared
We cannot stress this enough. The rules of the open road require us all to be prepared. Upon confirmation of your tour, we always provide for you a detailed checklist of items that you should bring or prepare for. Here are some of the examples that we recommend for our riders to get ready.
Many places don’t accept credit cards, so keep a decent amount of cash on you should you need fuel or a bottle of water in remote areas that don’t take credit cards.
In a world of mobile phones, you will most likely want to update your Facebook, etc. with some selfies and pics from the day. You will also need your phone in case of emergencies, but remember on a long road through the mountains there are no power outlets, so we always recommend bringing a portable power pack. They are very cheap and valuable tool on the road.
Picture the scene, you are driving at night, and your headlight blows, its pitch dark and you have miles to the nearest town.
Get yourself a headlamp. Cheap rechargeable headlamps can be found all over Thailand and are great for emergencies.
Finally in summary, for the most important tip of them all… always Use Common Sense.
For a safe and fulfilling trip, in a different country, with a group of people who share your open spirit, on the open-road where anything can happen, where the adventure starts and ends based on distance and mechanical synergy it’s always best to use common sense.
Contact Us today for more information about Big Bike Tours in Thailand and what adventures you can experience with people who enjoy the passions of the open road.
Please feel free to contact us anytime.