PLEASE NOTE: We’re not recommending that it’s best to journey a motorcycle or motorbike in Thailand however, when you do, the following tips will assist…
Getting round on a motorcycle or motorbike in Thailand is straightforward sufficient and, particularly in busy visitors, will get you to your vacation spot quicker while the vehicles and vehicles are plodding alongside within the visitors. There might be loads of individuals who say the primary tip about driving a motorcycle in Thailand is “DON’T”. However while many expats swear by no means to step right into a 110cc step-thru scooter, they’re additionally lacking out on a whole slice of life in south east asia.
However we do acknowledge that driving a motorcycle in Thailand will also be very harmful. Nonetheless, when you persist with the widespread sense fundamentals – journey throughout the velocity limits, put on a motorcycle helmet, obey the visitors guidelines and don’t drink and drive – it stays a wonderfully dependable solution to get round.
There might be weekly horror tales of foreigners having bike accidents or getting caught in hospitals with no insurance coverage. It occurs however, statistically, it’s uncommon. And, when you heed all the next recommendation, you’ll be largely protected.
Ensure you have the proper license and insurance coverage earlier than you go wherever close to a motorcycle or motorbike in Thailand!!
1. Put on acceptable garments
Two phrases. Gravel. Rash.
While you’ll see vacationers driving round on their rented motorbikes of their swimming shorts and singlet, you’re going to be a lot safer with just a few garments on. Falling off a motorcycle with out something masking your knees or elbows goes to be painful sufficient – having at the least some cloth between you and the street goes to cut back the painful grazes a bit. Lengthy pants and a protracted shirt are begin. Additionally they assist maintain the solar off you.
All the time put on sneakers for a similar purpose. And a motorcycle helmet as properly – it’s the regulation and it’ll save your life when you fall off and hit the street along with your head. The flimsy plastic ‘lid’ kind helmets price round 200 baht and can get you thru the checkpoints however spending a bit extra on a greater helmet will present extra safety.
You’ll see the locals driving round with their jackets on the flawed manner – they are saying it maintain their garments clear from the street muck and fumes.
2. Maintain your bike in good situation
As hardy and dependable as trendy Thai motorbikes are, they may run higher and for longer when you sustain the service schedule and alter the oil sometimes – say each 3 months. You’ll surprise how they will manufacture these 110-125cc step-thrus for little greater than USD$1,200 model new, however they do and those floating across the roads of Thailand are virtually all made within the land of smiles.
Other than altering the engine oil keep watch over the tyre stress, Thai roads will put on down your tyre tread shortly. Your brakes may also want checking though, like the remainder of the a part of these bikes, the brakes appear to final eternally.
To assist with sustaining your bikes, small bike and motorbike restore locations are sprinkled alongside each primary street in cities throughout the nation. They’re as ubiquitous as comfort shops. And so they’re uniforms low-cost, fast and could have many components on the shelf. If not they’ll name somebody and the half will magically seem inside 5 minutes.
Everytime you’re getting your oil modified get the service particular person to verify the brakes, tyres and ensure nuts and bolts are all tight – they shake free typically. After which there’s the lights at the back and front. Indicators might not be used a lot by the locals however YOU ought to. Ensure that they’re all working.
In any other case there’s little to go flawed on these mighty machines. Even the brand new electrical ones are tremendous dependable and low-cost to run.
3. Ensure you have a correct license
Your automotive license in your house nation isn’t authorized in Thailand to journey a motorcycle or motorbike. Your Worldwide Drivers License for vehicles issued in your house nation isn’t going to chop it both. Legally, the one doc that may fulfill the Thai authorized system, formally, is a Thai motorbike license. It doesn’t matter a lot till a scenario arises the place you’re in an accident and the regulation comes crashing down on you.
For those who reside in Thailand you merely should get a correct bike drivers license of you need to journey a motorcycle right here.
For vacationers, the native bike rent outlets will gladly hire you a motorcycle, normally by merely displaying your passport and giving them a deposit. Some will even inform you that their ‘insurance coverage’ will cowl you within the occasion of an accident – that’s simply not going to occur. YOU are answerable for your personal well being when you get onto a motorcycle in Thailand. Test YOUR scenario and YOUR well being and journey insurance coverage.
And while we’re speaking a couple of Thai Motorcycle License, we’re speaking concerning the ones you get from the Land Transport Workplace, not Khao San street for 500 baht!
(Right here’s some info about getting a motorcycle license in Bangkok, the identical applies on the Land Transport Workplaces in most Thai cities).
We predict you’re insane getting on a motorcycle out of the country with out the proper documentation, which leads us to #4…
4. Test your journey and medical health insurance
Each week The Thaiger hears from vacationers caught in a Thai hospital with mounting hospital payments and an insurance coverage firm that received’t pay out as a result of they didn’t have a correct drivers license. Or no insurance coverage in any respect. And even when you have journey or medical health insurance, verify the high-quality print as a result of some insurance coverage contracts preclude driving on motorbikes in Thailand.
In 10 years driving on Thai roads I’ve had one fall. It winded me badly and I bought abrasions on my ankle and knee. However individuals ran to my help and helped me up. I didn’t have to go to hospital however I used to be grateful, mendacity in the course of the street gasping for breath, that I knew I had good medical health insurance and a correct license.
(The high-quality print in your insurance coverage, totally different nation’s licences and the policeman that reveals up at your accident will all play an element on how your accident will play out. The ONLY certain manner you possibly can show your authorized means to drive on a Thai street is with a Thai bike license)
5. Driving is totally different in Thailand
Lots of the guidelines are the identical as nations that additionally drive on the left-hand aspect of the street. However you could drive like a Thai and concentrate on the totally different rhythm. It’s totally different.
Other than the lunatics that drive too quick, drink-drive or ghost journey (driving towards the circulate of visitors on the flawed aspect of the street), there’s only a totally different angle to driving. We are saying it’s a bit like swimming with a faculty of fish – when you simply go-with-the-flow and maintain within the stream of visitors you’ll do properly.
The western angle of driving defensively will go towards the grain of Thai visitors motion the place ‘private driving area’ isn’t actually honoured and folks will minimize in entrance of you as simply part of every day driving habits. It’s not flawed, it’s totally different and also you’re greatest to be taught the nuances of Thai visitors circulate earlier than you throw your self into the center of a busy Thai street.
Surprisingly, you’ll not often hear a motorcycle horn. In contrast to close by Vietnam, Thais use their horns (and all bikes have them) not often.
6. Inexperienced lights imply GO. Pink lights additionally imply GO typically.
You’ll see what we imply. Don’t even take into consideration making an attempt it. It’s going to both get you fined or useless. Suffice to say, just a few ‘enthusiastic’ Thai motorcyclists received’t wait till the inexperienced gentle. Even the purple gentle received’t cease a few of them from going straight by way of the intersection.
Many infections could have a countdown earlier than the inexperienced gentle and by the point it will get under 5 seconds, the entrance row of bikes will already be getting on with their journey.
7. Have a observe
For those who’re new to driving a motorcycle or new to driving a motorcycle in Thailand don’t throw your self right into a busy stretch of street instantly. Strive one thing a bit of calmer and slower to get a really feel of the refined variations in Thai visitors motion. You’re sharing the street with vehicles, vehicles, buses and passenger vans.
In truth, discover an empty patch of street to get comfy with the behaviour of your bike first.
You’re meant to remain on the left hand aspect and also you’d be properly suggested to take action, regardless of the behaviour of some Thai bike drivers that need to combine it with the bigger vehicles and vehicles. Get some confidence along with your bike and manner it handles, and shifting in and round visitors on a quiet street earlier than you deal with the principle roads.
8. Beware pot holes
The roads round Thailand have actually improved prior to now decade however you’ll nonetheless discover pot holes in locations there wasn’t one the day earlier than. In order for you a extremely good purpose for giving loads of distance between you and the automotive in entrance, it’s to see the pot gap earlier than you find yourself IN it.
While automotive tyres would possibly glide over these gaping holes within the street, your bike is more likely to come to an abrupt halt, with you persevering with over the entrance of the handlebars – one thing to do with Newton’s first regulation of movement. At a minimal you’ll be taught why they name the suspension SHOCK absorbers.
9. For those who’re undecided, don’t
By no means ridden a motorcycle? Didn’t journey a motorcycle in your personal nation? Properly, there’s already two good causes to not attempt it on your first time in Thailand on a busy street.
It may be a little bit of a problem for even skilled bike drivers, properly a unique expertise anyway. There’s loads of different methods to get round Thailand, together with bike taxi drivers (‘win’ drivers) who will expertly drive you to the place you need to go for a really low worth. Particularly in bigger inhabitants areas they’re an indispensable a part of the Thai visitors eco-system. There are actually additionally loads of ride-hailing companies for bikes and vehicles, together with Seize and Bolt (there are others).
10. Police will usually arbitrate on the spot at an accident
In case you are within the flawed and broken somebody or another person’s bike you’re most likely going to should pay up. Now, there’s the ‘official’ solution to type issues out in these case and the ‘unofficial’.
The policemen will get to the scene quickly sufficient and, usually determine, on the spot, who was at fault. They’ll usually negotiate how a lot ought to be paid as properly. The city delusion is that Thai police all the time aspect with the the locals – that’s not the case though, in case you are certainly within the flawed you then’re IN THE WRONG!
In case you are involved that you simply’re being rolled by the locals in finding out a easy bike accident then name the Vacationer Police or your consulate instantly. DON’T conform to pay any cash to ANYONE till you’ve spoken to at the least the Vacationer Police.
Stepping into an argument with the native police won’t ever ever be a good suggestion. Demanding that you simply communicate to the police chief, your lawyer, and so forth, may also normally find yourself within the scenario ending up badly.
Be affected person and don’t lose your cool. Simply politely undergo the motions and, in virtually all circumstances, it’ll price you a large number lower than dragging the scenario out and ending up in a Thai courtroom.
You’re out of the country, you’re a visitor and so they do issues in another way – finish of sentence.
PHOTO: John Everingham
Regardless of the whole lot else, getting round Thailand on a motorcycle or motorbike will provide you with a singular perspective. It may be secure, low-cost, dependable and handy. After studying all this you’re in a a lot better scenario to deal with your motorbike expertise in Thailand.