Road rules in Southeast Asia are very different from the rest of the world. Everything from licensing to the right of ways may differ from what you’re used to in your home country. Once you have completed safety regulations, you will experience the beautiful scenery from one of the most breathtaking places in the world. Regarding Southeast Asia motorcycle tours, it pays to know the rules ahead of time. If you’re planning motorcycle tours in Asia, here are a few guidelines to help keep you on the right side of the law.
Southeast Asia Motorcycle Licensing
Many visitors to Southeast Asia each year rent a motorcycle or motorbike. Laws in Southeast Asia require that you have a motorcycle license to drive one on the road. A home country license may do, depending on local authorities; however, an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) is still recommended.
The IDP must be valid and acquired for a motorcycle in your country of origin. Any other vehicle will not cut it if you plan to do a Southeast Asia motorcycle tour. In rare circumstances, driving a motorcycle in Southeast Asia may require a local license.
Southeast Asia Motorcycle Tours: Common Sense Safety Rules
While riding a motorcycle, regardless of location, safety should be paramount. Standard precautions to take into consideration are:
- Wearing the proper protective gear: a helmet, clothing, gloves, boots
- Know the speed limits and follow them
- Don’t ride while intoxicated or under the influence
- Do all or most of your riding during the day while the sun is up
Motorcycle riding is a high-risk venture. However, by taking additional measures to safeguard yourself and other drivers, you can mitigate any potential risks from being on a motorcycle.
Most of the following safety rules will be aimed at new drivers in Southeast Asia for motorcycle tours. However, veterans should still take note.
Anyone who owns a motorcycle or has been driving one for more than a year should have developed the habit of pre-checking it before you ride it. If you’re not sure how to start, we can teach you. Perform a quick walk-around of your bike before heading out on your day’s first ride. Check the horn, lights, and directional signals to see if they all work correctly. You also want to check the belt, shaft or chain, brakes, and tires for wear and pressure. A clean bike will make it easier to spot leaks, rust, and wear and tear issues.
If you ride your cycle often, you may find it silly to perform a pre-check. However, it only takes a minute and it can save you money in the long run.
Purchase The Best Motorcycle Gear
The best gear doesn’t always mean the most expensive. Just make sure you have the proper gear for your trip. A helmet with a face shield is preferred. However, if your helmet does not have a face shield, we recommend you wear sunglasses while driving to avoid dust, debris, and insects in your eyes.
It gets humid while on motorcycle tours in Asia, so not wearing many layers is understandable. Of course, you will still want to protect your skin from windburn and debris. Gloves are great for grip, especially if it starts to rain. Boots are a better alternative to the flip-flops most locals are likely to wear. Bright colors are also recommended. It may not look as badass as all-black attire, but it will make you easier to see on dimly-lit roads.
Remain Cautious and Alert
Traffic can get very busy in Southeast Asia. It’s best to keep the mindset that everything and everyone can hit you. As motorbikes and motorcycles are common in the area, most other drivers will keep an eye out. However, due to a smaller profile, it’s easier to be hidden in the blind spots of vehicles, especially vans and large trucks. As long as you’re keeping an eye out, you should be able to keep any potential risks at bay.
You’re almost certain to share the roads with larger vehicles. Do not take unnecessary risks with them by attempting to squeeze between narrow gaps. Bigger vehicles are expected to have the right of way, so don’t put yourself in a position where you’re fighting over the road.
Who doesn’t have a mobile phone these days? While engaged in Southeast motorcycle tours, it’s best to be prepared in an emergency. In this case, have a local SIM card with pre-paid data on your phone and ensure your device is fully charged and operational before leaving your hotel room. In addition, it’s also a great idea to have a map application downloaded and installed.
Health insurance is a good idea in general. It’s almost essential when traveling to a foreign country. On that same note, if you’re renting a motorcycle or motorbike, it’s a great idea to get insurance for that as well. It’ll be a lot cheaper to pay around $50 for insurance rather than the cost of a replacement bike.
Motorcycle Safety in Southeast Asia
Motorcycles, motorbikes, and motor-scooters are the preferred transport choices in Southeast Asia. In busier cities, the roads tend to be congested with them. In this part of the world, there are far fewer safety regulations to adhere to. With that being said, it’s important to follow through with our strategies and tips to ensure you have the best experience possible.
While attempting to get the full Southeast Asian experience in motorcycle tours, follow the safety guidelines in this article. They will provide vital knowledge that will keep you safe while motorbike touring throughout Southeast Asia.