Riding a motorcycle in China on a group tour or as an individual is ridiculously expensive because of all the numerous fees that must be paid to various Chinese government departments—everyone wants their palms greased.
To be more specific, we have to pay group tour fees, custom clearances, and bonds need to be put up for the value of the motorcycles. Then there’s rider’s health check fees (where nothing actually gets checked), motorcycle inspection fees (where nothing actually gets inspected), translation fees (where nothing actually gets translated). Plus we have to pay for China insurance, vehicle registration, vehicle taxes, yadda, yadda, yadda, ad infinitum.
And since China is not party to the International Driving License Convention of Road Traffic, they also force each rider to obtain (at considerable expense) a Chinese motorcycle license that is in effect only for the exact duration of the tour and then you can’t use this license ever again! To add insult to injury everyone has to sit through a ridiculous, one hour video explaining how to drive inside China, narrated in Chinese!, a video that no Chinese driver ever watched because they probably are the worst drivers in the world.
In addition we are required to hire a Chinese tour guide and ground handler for the duration of our trip and pay for all their living expenses plus their transportation and time getting to the arrival point and leaving from the finishing point. Throw in a support vehicle, driver and mechanic, and tour costs climb into the stratosphere.
Also, don’t forget to add in your normal tour costs of food, fuel, and lodging.
What motorcyclists can do for free in almost every other country in the world, which is ride a motorcycle unimpeded inside their national borders, China wrings us for every penny they can. This really infuriates me because a Chinese driver is permitted to drive his family car totally unregulated and unfettered into Laos and then into Thailand without paying a penny for anything and without having to jump through hoops and complete reams of paperwork for permissions. It just isn’t fair! But this is the situation as it exists now.
The above is what we have to deal with every single time we organize a motorcycle tour into China.
No one is forcing anyone to do a motorcycle tour inside China—a rider has the whole rest of the world to choose from. But ASIAN MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURES is offering China motorcycle tours if you want to go on one, and if you want to do so, we have to pay through the nose for this privilege.
This is why a motorcycle tour in China is so damn expensive.
Maybe this will change in a few years’ time? Maybe not? If you want to wait it out, go right ahead.
But if you want to experience riding a motorcycle through China – a truly awesome experience, plus the absolute best motorcycle riding in Asia – start saving now.