PLEASE NOTE: We’re not recommending that you must experience a motorcycle or bike in Thailand however, in case you do, the following pointers will assist…
Getting round on a motorcycle or bike in Thailand is simple sufficient and, particularly in busy visitors, will get you to your vacation spot quicker while the automobiles and vans are plodding alongside within the visitors. There will probably 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 can be very harmful. Nonetheless, in case you stick with the frequent sense fundamentals – experience inside the pace 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 will probably 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, in case you heed all the next recommendation, you can be largely protected.
Be sure you have the proper license and insurance coverage earlier than you go anyplace close to a motorcycle or bike in Thailand!!
1. Put on applicable 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 a couple of garments on. Falling off a motorcycle with out something overlaying your knees or elbows goes to be painful sufficient – having no less than some material between you and the street goes to cut back the painful grazes a bit. Lengthy pants and an extended shirt are begin. In addition they assist hold the solar off you.
All the time put on sneakers for a similar motive. And a motorcycle helmet as effectively – it’s the legislation and it’ll save your life in case you fall off and hit the street along with your head. The flimsy plastic ‘lid’ kind helmets value 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 incorrect manner – they are saying it hold their garments clear from the street muck and fumes.
2. Preserve your bike in good situation
As hardy and dependable as fashionable Thai motorbikes are, they may run higher and for longer in case you sustain the service schedule and alter the oil often – say each 3 months. You’ll marvel how they’ll 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 control the tyre strain, Thai roads will put on down your tyre tread rapidly. Your brakes will even want checking though, like the remainder of the a part of these bikes, the brakes appear to final ceaselessly.
To assist with sustaining your bikes, small bike and bike restore locations are sprinkled alongside each important street in cities throughout the nation. They’re as ubiquitous as comfort shops. They usually’re uniforms low cost, fast and may have many elements 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 individual to examine 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 is probably not used a lot by the locals however YOU ought to. Make sure that they’re all working.
In any other case there’s little to go incorrect on these mighty machines. Even the brand new electrical ones are tremendous dependable and low cost to run.
3. Be sure you have a correct license
Your automotive license in your house nation isn’t authorized in Thailand to experience a motorcycle or bike. Your Worldwide Drivers License for automobiles 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 bike license. It doesn’t matter a lot till a scenario arises the place you’re in an accident and the legislation comes crashing down on you.
In the event you reside in Thailand you merely should get a correct bike drivers license of you wish to experience 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 accountable for your personal well being in case you get onto a motorcycle in Thailand. Examine YOUR scenario and YOUR well being and journey insurance coverage.
And while we’re speaking a couple of Thai Motorcycle License, we’re speaking in regards to 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 Places of work in most Thai cities).
We predict you’re insane getting on a motorcycle abroad with out the proper documentation, which leads us to #4…
4. Examine 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 gained’t pay out as a result of they didn’t have a correct drivers license. Or no insurance coverage in any respect. And even if in case you have journey or medical health insurance, examine the advantageous 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 folks 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 advantageous print in your insurance coverage, completely 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 completely 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 pay attention to the completely different rhythm. It’s completely different.
Other than the lunatics that drive too quick, drink-drive or ghost experience (driving in opposition to the circulate of visitors on the incorrect aspect of the street), there’s only a completely different perspective to driving. We are saying it’s a bit like swimming with a college of fish – in case you simply go-with-the-flow and hold within the stream of visitors you’ll do effectively.
The western perspective of driving defensively will go in opposition to the grain of Thai visitors motion the place ‘private driving house’ isn’t actually honoured and folks will lower in entrance of you as simply part of every day driving habits. It’s not incorrect, it’s completely different and also you’re finest 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. Not like close by Vietnam, Thais use their horns (and all bikes have them) not often.
6. Inexperienced lights imply GO. Crimson lights additionally imply GO typically.
You’ll see what we imply. Don’t even take into consideration attempting it. It’s going to both get you fined or lifeless. Suffice to say, a couple of ‘enthusiastic’ Thai motorcyclists gained’t wait till the inexperienced gentle. Even the pink gentle gained’t cease a few of them from going straight by means of the intersection.
Many infections may 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 apply
In the event you’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 slightly calmer and slower to get a really feel of the refined variations in Thai visitors motion. You’re sharing the street with vans, automobiles, buses and passenger vans.
Actually, 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 effectively suggested to take action, regardless of the behaviour of some Thai bike drivers that wish to combine it with the bigger automobiles and vans. Get some confidence along with your bike and manner it handles, and shifting in and round visitors on a quiet street earlier than you sort out the principle roads.
8. Beware pot holes
The roads round Thailand have actually improved up to now decade however you’ll nonetheless discover pot holes in locations there wasn’t one the day earlier than. If you’d like a extremely good motive 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 may glide over these gaping holes within the street, your bike is prone to come to an abrupt halt, with you persevering with over the entrance of the handlebars – one thing to do with Newton’s first legislation of movement. At a minimal you’ll be taught why they name the suspension SHOCK absorbers.
9. In the event you’re undecided, don’t
By no means ridden a motorcycle? Didn’t experience a motorcycle in your personal nation? Properly, there’s already two good causes to not strive it in your first time in Thailand on a busy street.
It may be a little bit of a problem for even skilled bike drivers, effectively a distinct 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 wish 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 at the moment are additionally loads of ride-hailing providers for bikes and automobiles, together with Seize and Bolt (there are others).
10. Police will typically arbitrate on the spot at an accident
In case you are within the incorrect and broken somebody or another person’s bike you’re in all probability going to need to 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, typically determine, on the spot, who was at fault. They’ll typically negotiate how a lot needs to be paid as effectively. The city delusion is that Thai police at all times aspect with the the locals – that’s not the case though, if you’re certainly within the incorrect 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 no less than 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, will even 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 instances, it’s going to value you a large number lower than dragging the scenario out and ending up in a Thai courtroom.
You’re abroad, you’re a visitor they usually do issues otherwise – finish of sentence.
PHOTO: John Everingham
Regardless of every part else, getting round Thailand on a motorcycle or bike gives you a singular perspective. It may be secure, low cost, dependable and handy. After studying all this you’re in a significantly better scenario to sort out your bike expertise in Thailand.