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Information To Shopping for A Bike In Southeast Asia

Buying A Motorbike In Southeast Asia View

Each second backpacker you meet in Southeast Asia talks about using scooters round Thailand or taking a motorcycle throughout the size of Vietnam. It has nearly turn into a rite-of-passage for travellers in Southeast Asia to leap behind the handlebars of a Honda Wave or Win and zoom by means of the countryside. After our 8 months and 15’000km using throughout the area, we will actually say that that is maybe one of the best ways to discover the nations of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. For those who wish to do it themselves, right here is our information on shopping for a motorcycle in Southeast Asia.

Do I Want Journey Insurance coverage?

Legally, no. Intelligently, sure. Accidents do occur daily and, sadly, now we have had a couple of associates be significantly injured and worse, killed on the roads in Southeast Asia. Motorbiking is harmful, and there’s no denying that.

You may assume that this gained’t occur to you, or that if you’re injured that medical care is affordable. However not if you find yourself in a critical situation or have a collision with one other individual and you might be liable for private damage. Critically contemplate getting journey insurance coverage earlier than you journey a motorcycle in Southeast Asia!

If the proper firm, you possibly can even purchase journey insurance coverage if you are already on the street (in case you could have already began your journey). If you wish to know extra, learn our article Do I Want Journey Insurance coverage.

We suggest World Nomads.

What Kind Of Bike To Purchase?

The preferred varieties of bikes present in Southeast Asia are 100-125cc scooters, particularly Honda Waves and Honda Desires. These strong, dependable bikes appear to final endlessly, and discovering elements to repair them is extraordinarily simple. If you happen to journey massive bikes again in your house nation you could be delay on the considered downsizing to a moped. Earlier than you write them off fully nevertheless, be mindful simply how laborious it will likely be to search out elements for a CBR600RR in rural Cambodia.

In Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia one other common possibility is a Honda Win. These are precise motorbikes versus scooters, with a full handbook transmission and taller suspension. Discovering elements for these are additionally a bit of cake and nearly each mechanic in Southeast Asia can have no drawback fixing one.

One other factor to bear in mind is licensing. In Vietnam, any engine over 175cc requires particular permits – not one thing that one can attain in a month, and even 3 month lengthy stint within the nation with out placing in appreciable effort and time. For the sake of ease, we suggest shopping for a motorcycle with a smaller engine measurement. Additionally you’ll unlikely be capable to utilise an enormous bike to its full potential on a lot of the traffic-filled, potholed roads of Southeast Asia.

Our advicePurchase a Honda Win or Honda Wave.

Honda Win Buying A Motorbike In Southeast Asia

Handbook Or Automated?

We propose shopping for a full handbook or semi-automatic bike. NOT an automated. Automated bikes are costlier to repair, burn by means of much more gas and are far much less reliable if you’re using on mountainous or gravel terrain. Take our phrase for it – if you’re using down a steep grime street, you’ll need the choice of choosing your gear earlier than descending.

In case you are anxious that you just don’t have the abilities to journey a semi-automatic bike, chill out! They’re very simple to journey and after about one hour of follow you can be constructing your confidence up in a short time. It’s not sophisticated.

Scooter In Thailand Buying A Motorbike In Southeast Asia
Our scooters we rented to do the Mae Hong Son Loop in Thailand. Nice, dependable bikes.

What Do I Want To Purchase A Bike?

Shopping for a model new motorcycle in Southeast Asia might require a whole lot of paperwork. In Thailand for instance you want a housing settlement to show you truly dwell there. Nevertheless if you’re solely planning on using your motorcycle for a couple of months, getting a second hand bike is the best choice. For this you solely really want a fistful of money. Simply make it possible for the earlier proprietor provides you the registration papers. In Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia most individuals simply depart the bike registered within the unique identify as they don’t have to be renewed.

In case you are eager about crossing borders along with your motorcycle, we suggest shopping for a Vietnamese-plated bike. These can enter Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam legally with minimal fuss. Some other registration could be very tough to maneuver throughout borders with out full possession of the bike.

Buying A Motorbike In Southeast Asia
Lesh’s trusty Honda Win exterior of Nha Trang in Vietnam.

Do I Want A Licence?

Technically sure, you do want a licence. In Thailand, Cambodia and Laos an Worldwide Drivers Allow might be sufficient to keep away from bother with the police (though Cambodian police are fairly corrupt and will not settle for it). In Vietnam an area licence is required, nevertheless that is very not often enforced. Likelihood is you’ll by no means be pulled over by a police officer in Vietnam until you might be concerned in an accident or are driving in an unsafe method.

Take into account that your journey insurance coverage is not going to cowl you until you could have a legitimate licence accepted within the nation you might be using in. This implies your automotive licence from again dwelling doesn’t cowl you for using a motorcycle in Cambodia or Laos. In Vietnam you WILL NOT be coated by insurance coverage until you get a Vietnamese licence. Keep in mind all this subsequent time go to open the throttle round a blind nook.

Laos Road Buying A Motorbike In Southeast Asia
A typical street in Northern Laos.

How A lot Ought to I Spend?

You may actually spend as little or as a lot as you need on a motorbike. As a tough ballpark determine for backpackers, you need to be round US$250 for a second hand Honda Win or Wave. This could differ by a few hundred {dollars} both facet relying on situation, the place you purchase it and model. Bikes in Cambodia and Laos are costlier.

The native value on a Honda Win in Vietnam is nearer to US$100, however don’t anticipate to get one for this value until you could have a Vietnamese good friend who makes the acquisition for you.

Cash Buying A Motorbike In Southeast Asia
About handy over all our cash for 2 motorbikes in Luang Prabang, Laos.

Purchase From A Backpacker Or A Store?

If you happen to go to any of the backpacker districts in Vietnam, one can find tons of of individuals promoting their motorbikes. You may normally get a greater value for a motorcycle off of a backpacker, as they’re usually in need of time in the case of promoting. However don’t be a douche bag and throw out a ridiculously low-ball value within the hopes of screwing one other backpacker out of $50. Keep in mind, we’re all travellers and may all look out for one another!

One thing to bear in mind when shopping for a motorcycle off of a backpacker is that some (not all) attempt to spend as little cash as doable on upkeep and repairs. If a biker tells you they did one oil change in 2000km, their bike might be going to crumble on you. You may nearly inform immediately from the individual and the way in which their bike seems whether or not they took care of it or not. Use your instincts.

If you happen to purchase a motorcycle from a store they normally do a full service earlier than they promote it. The price of these bikes will normally be larger, however they usually include a using lesson and a few gear. From the bigger and extra respected outlets they might actually have a assured buy-back scheme on the finish of your journey.

This isn’t to say shopping for a motorcycle off of a backpacker is a foul thought – they no less than know the current historical past of the bike in comparison with a store that simply purchased it from somebody. Simply make certain they commonly maintained it.

Cow Traffic Buying A Motorbike In Southeast Asia
Be careful for the site visitors in Southeast Asia.

What To Look For When Shopping for A Bike In Southeast Asia

Most motorbikes in Southeast Asia have ridden 1000’s and 1000’s of kilometres across the area. Fortunately they’re dependable and sometimes get new elements all through their whole historical past. In case you are unfamiliar with motorbikes and engines, you’ll want to no less than have a look at these few issues if you take it for a check journey:

  • No fluid leaks.
  • Cables and is derived are in good situation.
  • Tyres have tread.
  • Brakes work.
  • Headlight, brake lights and indicators work (low cost to repair if not).
  • No corrosion on battery terminals or wires.
  • Suspension not too smooth.
  • Mirrors (sure you have to these).

Word that your odometre and speedometre will in all probability not work. That is regular in the case of motorbikes, and likelihood is in the event you get it fastened that it’s going to break once more in the future quickly. Don’t stress about this. Additionally keep in mind that repairs are low cost in Southeast Asia. You should buy a complete new engine for US$50 in the event you go to the proper place.

When taking your motorcycle for a check journey be sure you take it out on a freeway (if doable) and actually push the engine to close full velocity. That is the one technique to know whether or not the engine is definitely in good situation. Most bikes sound wonderful in third gear pottering alongside at 20km/h. You actually need to start out hitting 50 or 60 to see if the bike begins shaking violently or if it begins spluttering. Do a brake test at a good velocity as effectively. If you happen to can, journey as much as about 40km/h and brake laborious in a straight line (bear in mind to not lock up the entrance brake). If a child runs out in entrance of you, you’ll wish to know you possibly can truly cease the bike.

Cambodia Vietnam Buying A Motorbike In Southeast Asia
Lesh loving the journey from Snoul to Mondulkiri in Cambodia

Promoting Your Bike

Upon getting reached the tip of your journey you’ll wish to promote your motorcycle once more. The simplest manner to do that is to promote it on to a motorcycle restore store. You’ll not get an incredible value for this, however no less than you’re going to get one thing and it’s trouble free.

In case you are determined to get some more money again on your bike, your finest wager is to promote it to a different backpacker. Go to a well-liked hostel in a backpacker district and make a poster. Additionally make an advert on a web based classifieds web site comparable to Craigslist or an expat web site.

Ma Pi Leng Road Northern Vietnam Motorcycle Adventure North Riding Motorbike Ha Giang Buying A Motorbike In Southeast Asia
Driving a motorcycle in Southeast Asia could possibly be the most effective journey you ever do! Don’t miss out!


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