Travel News

Guide To Buying A Motorbike In Southeast Asia

Buying A Motorbike In Southeast Asia View

Every second backpacker you meet in Southeast Asia talks about riding scooters around Thailand or taking a motorbike across the length of Vietnam. It has almost become a rite-of-passage for travellers in Southeast Asia to jump behind the handlebars of a Honda Wave or Win and zoom through the countryside. After our 8 months and 15’000km riding across the region, we can honestly say that this is perhaps the best way to explore the countries of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. For those that want to do it themselves, here is our guide on buying a motorbike in Southeast Asia.

Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Legally, no. Intelligently, yes. Accidents do happen every day and, unfortunately, we have had a few friends be seriously injured and worse, killed on the roads in Southeast Asia. Motorbiking is dangerous, and there is no denying that.

You might think that this won’t happen to you, or that if you are injured that medical care is cheap. But not if you end up in a serious condition or have a collision with another person and you are liable for personal injury. Seriously consider getting travel insurance before you ride a motorbike in Southeast Asia!

If you know the right company, you can even buy travel insurance while you are already on the road (in case you have already started your trip). If you want to know more, read our article Do I Need Travel Insurance.

We recommend World Nomads.

What Type Of Motorbike To Buy?

The most popular types of bikes found in Southeast Asia are 100-125cc scooters, in particular Honda Waves and Honda Dreams. These solid, reliable bikes seem to last forever, and finding parts to fix them is extremely easy. If you ride big bikes back in your home country you may be put off at the thought of downsizing to a moped. Before you write them off completely however, keep in mind just how hard it will be to find parts for a CBR600RR in rural Cambodia.

In Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia another popular option is a Honda Win. These are actual motorbikes as opposed to scooters, with a full manual transmission and taller suspension. Finding parts for these are also a piece of cake and just about every mechanic in Southeast Asia will have no problem fixing one.

Another thing to keep in mind is licensing. In Vietnam, any engine over 175cc requires special permits – not something that one can attain in a month, or even 3 month long stint in the country without putting in considerable time and effort. For the sake of ease, we recommend…

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