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The most important question of all: Does ASIAN MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURES have a tour license?
This is the very first question you should ask any tour operator because the many motorcycle tour companies operating in Thailand and Asia DO NOT have a tour license. And that means they are operating illegally.
ASIAN MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURES has an inbound and outbound tour license (the highest category of tour license available in Thailand). This license allows us to operate tours anywhere in Asia and we are fully sanctioned by the Thailand government. Our tour license number is displayed at the bottom of every page on this website.
A tour license is required for the protection of the customer – you.
To acquire a tour license, a tour company must meet stringent financial and operational standards and put up a substantial cash bound as a sign of their financial stability.
If a tour company does not have a tour license, the Thai government can shut that company down at any time, even while in the middle of a tour. And if a tour company does not have a tour license, it is highly unlikely they will cover you with travel and accident insurance as mandated by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
2nd-most important question!!! What kind of motorcycle riding experience should I have?
This section is aimed primarily at novice motorcyclists. If you are an experienced biker and can ride a motorcycle competently, comfortably, and confidently, you will do fine on our tours.
But for THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE NEW TO THE WORLD OF MOTORCYCLES, please read on….
Our tours are definitely NOT for novice riders. North Thailand roads, and northern S.E. Asia in general, are mountainous and steep and the roads have a high degree of technical difficulty. You will encounter curves you never imagined could even exist. Some days we ride roads that have no straights at all – just turn after turn after turn for hours on end. You can view actual gps tracks of some of the roads we ride if you click on this link.
We liken this explanation to a beginner skier; sure they could go on holiday to an advanced mountain like Aspen, Colorado, but they will only be able to handle a small fraction of the slopes and could easily find themselves in places way beyond their skill level, thus leading to potential injury.
One iota of lack of concentration on these roads and there is a good chance you will not make it all the way around a curve in an upright position. We recommend at least 2 to 3 year of big bike riding experience under your belt before coming on one of our tours. Please take this warning seriously!
You must know how to ride a motorcycle competently, comfortably, and confidently.
A motorcyclist must be 100% comfortable riding and controlling a motorcycle over difficult, steep, and twisty roads and over a variety of different road surfaces. An experienced rider will not be unduly spooked by the local’s sometimes bizarre driving style. If this is not the case, you will be struggling.
Motorcycling is a dangerous activity wherever it is done. The last thing we want on one of our tours is someone getting hurt.
We ask everyone who is looking at our tours; if you are unsure about your own riding skills, you probably do not have enough experience handling the roads and riding we offer. We would rather lose your business than have you injured on one of our tours. Don’t allow your your more-advanced riding buddies pressure you into coming along if you think you will have difficulty handling the riding.
Please take these above warnings seriously!
3rd-most important question to ask a motorcycle tour operator: What kind of motorcycles do you use?
All of our motorcycles are late-model, company-owned, and meticulously maintained. We do not rent motorcycles from other companies unless a guest specifically requests a particular bike. We cannot vouch for the history or maintenance record of hired bikes
After touring around Asia for twenty-five years, we strongly believe that the best overall motorcycle for touring in our region of S.E. Asia is a light-weight dual-purpose motorcycle. This is because we are constantly being challenged by ever-changing road surface conditions.
No matter how great a road is in Asia, sooner rather than later you are going to hit rough patches; construction zones, road repairs, landslide areas, rain run-off debris, etc., etc., etc. Dual-purpose bikes simply glide over these road irregularities like they are not even there. Some of the most spectacular and fun roads we ride on our tours demand the handling and suspension that a dual-purpose motorcycle provides.
Our tours, and our customer’s touring experience, just wouldn’t be the same if we avoided these fantastic but poorly maintained roads.
Solo riders have a choice of riding either a Kawasaki KLX 250 or Honda.
Pillion couples are assigned the Kawasaki Versys 650 or the BMWs.
Solo articipants can ride a Kawasaki Versys 650 or BMW F800 GS at a surcharge, subject to availability.
When is the best time of year for a motorcycle tour in Asia?
Northern Thailand, and northern S.E. Asia in general, has three distinct seasons. Each season appeals to different individuals so you cannot say which is the ‘best” season for motorcycle travel.
All three seasons have their own particular advantages and disadvantages, and their exact starting and ending dates cannot be pinpointed with accuracy because of the vagaries of global weather patterns.
COOL SEASON: Late November-December-January-Early February: mornings and nights are cool to cold (low-teens C. 40° to 50’° F). Daytime temperatures are pleasant. It is generally cold in the higher elevations. When riding a mc you will get chilled, so insulated outerwear should be worn. Near zero chance of rain. These winter months are a popular holiday time and tourism in the region is at its high point of the year.
HOT SEASON: Late-February, March, April, and May. Daytime temperature highs reach into the 30’s° C / 90’s° F). You do not feel the heat while you are riding, but you do once you stop and are in the sun. When not riding, we keep to the shade where it is always tolerable. While riding you probably will want to wear a light cover-up or shell to block the sun. Near zero chance of rain. Tourism is at its low point of the year.
For off-road tours, by early March, the dust on the dirt roads and trails is getting substantial. Late April / May the rains start and you will hit sloppy conditions. We do not schedule off-road motorcycle tours after May.
June: The hot season is ending and the rainy season will soon be starting in earnest.
WET SEASON: June, July, August, September. It usually rains at least once a day for short periods. Rain is localized and moves around the region in an unpredictable manner. Days are cloudy with not much sun and this keeps temperatures down. However, this is the season when Southeast Asia is at its greenest and most lush. Tourism is at a medium point because many people have time off during the summer months and travel to Asia tends to increase.
ON THE CUSP: September and October. The wet season is coming to an end and we probably will encounter some rain during a motorcycle tour. Southeast Asia is at its greenest and bursting with life during these months. The rice crop is being harvested and this is always fascinating to watch. The heat is subsiding and nights and mornings are beginning to cool. Tourism is at its low point of the year.
For South Thailand and southern Southeast Asia in general, they basically have a single season: it is always hot and humid, and there is always a chance of rain, though in the rainy season, rain is a daily occurrence.
ASIAN MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURES does not schedule tours during the wet season. However, we will organize a private group tour if requested, as long as you do not mind getting wet.
What is your usual group size?
We believe in small group sizes, usually between 4 and 6 riders. Seldom do we go above this number.
Our tours are an immersive cultural experience, encompassing way more than the riding and the roads. With small group sizes we can better personalize the attention we give to each participant. Besides, we find riding with a large group to be a more stressful experience, especially when a group is made up of riders with disparate motorcycle skill levels.
How are the motorcycle equipped?
Some Kawasakis KLX250’s sport custom cushioned saddles that are quite comfortable for touring. However, this does add a couple of inches to the seat height. Shorter-of-leg participants might want us to reinstall the stock seats for their tour. Let us know in advance if you would like the stock saddle.
We have 1 Kawasaki with a lowered suspension. Shorter riders should request this bike for their tour. lowering the Hondas is a quick process but please ask in advance. Kawasaki Versys can be lowered but require a little more time.
Tank bags and a Givi rear trunk can be fitted for your motorcycle tour. Please request this in advance.
The Kawasakis are motocross-style bikes and are built high with a lot of ground clearance. If you are short of leg, please let us know about this in advance because some motorcycles in our fleet have been lowered.
Our BMW F800GS’s and Hondas can be equipped with aluminum side panniers, aluminum top box, and tank bag. 2 of the current Versys have Givi hard cases
Do you use a support vehicle?
Yes we do; an expedition‑equipped 4×4 Toyota Hilux pickup truck. The support vehicle is driven by our tour guide and mechanic.
The support truck will carry your luggage so you always travel light and unencumbered on your motorcycle. The support vehicle can also carry any purchases you make during your tour.
Note: on a tour with only a single participant, we do not use a support vehicle, nor is one needed.
What kind of riding gear should I wear and bring?
The old adage, “Dress for the slide. Not for the ride.” applies in spades to an ASIAN MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURE tour.
After 25 years of conducting motorcycle tours, this is what I have discovered: If a rider goes down with his bike, and if he is wearing proper protective riding gear, 98% of the time the rider walks away from the fall unhurt, brushes himself off, gets back on his bike and finishes the day’s riding none the worse for wear.
But we also discovered that if a rider is not wearing proper protective riding equipment, 95% of the time, he will suffer some sort of injury that will negatively affect the rest of his tour, and oftentimes results in a a hospital visit.
So what constitutes proper protective riding gear?
Ventilated Jacket with integral body armour.
Leather gauntlet-style gloves – not the spandex, wrist-length type
Knee and shin protection
Good quality high calf boots
What constitutes improper protective riding gear?
Jeans without Kevlar lining
Light weight non armoured jackets
Light weight synthetic gloves without knuckle protection
Cheap and nasty helmets or open face helmets without visors and cheek protection
Any type of foot covering that is not a reinforced high calf, riding boot. .
Your choice of riding gear is entirely up to you but please always remember the old adage that you should dress for a slide not for the ride .
If you do not own proper protective riding gear, you should think about investing in some before your ASIAN MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURES tour. It is much, much cheaper than an orthopedic surgeon. Given sufficient notice we can purchase good quality gear on your behalf, however, we will not purchase any gear that is not CE standard certified or equivalent standard.
Bring along lightweight rain gear, even in the dry season if you are afraid to get wet….
How long do we ride each day? What is our daily schedule like?
Our shortest days in the saddle are between three and four hours. But these days make up for it with a surplus of sightseeing.
One of the days on our 10-Day Golden Triangle Tour approaches eight hours.
To figure out how easy or tiring your day’s ride is going to be, riding time is the better indicator than distance because our daily average speed varies greatly.
Some days we only average 30 kph; other days up to 70 kph (20-45 mph), depending upon the terrain and roads.
We like to start riding at 07:30 to 08:00 .every morning. This way we have lots of time to reach our evening’s destination without having to ride during the hottest periods of the day. An early start also allows us to fully sample any sightseeing highlights along each route.
We try to arrive at our night’s lodging by around 3 p.m. This gives us enough time to enjoy our new surroundings and take advantage of the resort’s amenities.
We also need some cushion of spare time just in case we encounter an unexpected festival, celebrations, or ceremonies along the route, or need to deal with a repair or breakdown of some sort.
Ten-day tours all have a rest day; some have two.
Expedition-length Tours have rest days spaced approximately five days apart.
Five-day tours do not include a rest day.
Rest days are chosen for their ambiance, range of leisure activities, and sightseeing points of interest.
Rest days also give everyone a chance to re-energize their bodies after so much physical activity and to take care of such mundane tasks like laundry. It also allows us to maintain bikes to ensure the highest availability during the ride days
What kind of insurance do you provide?
Our motorcycles are covered by 1st‑Class insurance policies in Thailand and Laos. ASIAN MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURES is amongst thefew motorcycle touring company in Asia that provides 1st-Class insurance on all their motorcycles.
(If you have a lot to lose, you can lose a lot if you are not adequately covered by 1st-Class insurance.)
However, in China, Tibet, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Nepal, 1st-class insurance is simply not available. In these countries all motorcycles will have 3rd-party coverage only. 3rd-party coverage only covers for damage to 3rd-parties.
PERSONAL INSURANCE, INJURY AND MEDICAL
AMA tour leaders have received basic, advanced and in some cases Adventure first response and casualty management training. All tours have a comprehensive trauma first aid kit located in the support vehicle or on the tour leaders bike.
It is strongly recommended that every participant take out a travel insurance policy before coming on one of our tours.
This policy should cover your personal health whether resulting from an accident or not, medical evacuation, repatriation, trip cancellation or disruption, luggage damage or lose, theft, breakage, etc.
Travel insurance is easy to arrange with a simple call to your insurance broker.
If you want to purchase travel insurance separately, we can recommend one particular global insurance company that offers a comprehensive travel insurance plans that includes the all-important evacuation insurance. Our customers have had good success with: Liaison Majestic Travel Insurance
Please note that you are entering into a separate transaction with Liaison Majestic Travel Insurance. All we are doing is recommending a dependable travel insurance company to you that specializes in adventure sports such as motorcycle touring.
What kind of health precautions should I take ?
Your basic immunization shots should be up to date.
Thailand and Laos are not a malaria hot zones and anti-malarial drugs are not needed.
On motorcycle tours to other regions, we do recommend specific health precautions, and these you can read about in each individual tour’s write‑up.
What kind of driving license must I have?
Because of insurance regulations, all participants must have an unexpired, unrestricted motorcycle license from their country of residence. An international driving license (idl) endorsed for motorcycles is also required.
International licenses are easy and quick to obtain from your home country’s Automobile Association or Motor Vehicle Department. You should contact them to find out their exact requirements, which vary widely from country to country.
Sometimes international drivers licenses are available online.
What about luggage?
All luggage can go into our support vehicle; There is no need to carry anything on your bike.
Sometimes in the support vehicle your luggage will be exposed to the elements, so we request everyone to use waterproof luggage.
For our own personal use, we use Pelican Cases and Sealline brand bags, which are 100% waterproof. At the very least, bring along a waterproof covering of some sort, like an extra-heavy-duty trash bag.
Try to limit yourself to one piece of luggage. If you plan on participating in other sporting activities on your Asian holiday and need to bring lots of equipment along with you, the hotels we use will store all luggage not needed on your motorcycle tour until you return.
What currency should I bring?
Changing currency in Asia is easy. All international airports have currency conversion booths that offer fair rates.
In Thailand, you can exchange foreign currency for Thai baht at just about every bank.
Or you could exchange currency at a bank in your home country before leaving on your tour.
Inside Thailand, all that will be accepted in any business establishment will be Thai baht.
The best foreign currency to bring to Asia is US dollars. If you bring USD make sure they are in pristine condition. USD notes may not be accepted if the notes have small rips, folds, marks, or writing on them, or if they are anything but the latest issue. Go to a bank and ask them for brand new notes with the most recent issue date. Crazy, but that’s the situation.
Before you leave home, you should inform your credit card company where you will be travelling so that you will not experience any difficulties making purchases or withdrawing cash from local ATM machines.
How much money should I bring?
Since most everything is included in your tour package, your biggest expenses will be alcoholic beverages, massage, and shopping.
Three hundred dollars should cover all your expenses if you are not a big drinker. Most participant’s biggest expense is massage and this seldom is more than USD 20 for a two-hour session. Shopping is great so you might want to bring along a reserve of cash in case you see something you really like.
We do require a cash damage deposit on our motorcycles. On the Kawasakis it is USD 500; USD750 on the Hondas; 1 000 USD on the Kawasaki Versys and USD 1,500 on the BMW’s. We can accept this deposit in any currency equivalent.
This damage deposit must be cash or put on your credit card immediately before tour departure (not at the time of your tour payment). Your damage deposit will be promptly refunded to you at the end of your tour providing no damage has occurred to your motorcycle.
I still have questions about your tours.
If you have any additional questions, please send us a separate email and we would be glad to answer you.