Motorcycle riding in South East Asia. It’s a phenomenon in a lot of the countries in the region. The traffic is manic and even as a pedestrian you need to watch your step as the bikes come out of nowhere and without warning. So the discussion is, to ride or not ride motorcycles on the busy South East Asian streets as a tourist?
It was a heavy discussion between my wife and I on our recent trip to Thailand. She wanted to explore her spontaneous side of her life and hire a scooter. I wasn’t so keen and for a couple of reasons. One back home in Australia we had two kids we needed to get home to in one piece. The second reason was, we had never rode a scooter in our life, not once.
I found it observed to think we could hire a scooter, have a practice ride in the hotel parking lot and then get out on the manic streets of Koh Samui. I don’t think so. Now road rules in Koh Samui seem non-existent, whether it is speeding, overtaking at the most dangerous times and plain negligence of other road users. Then there is the standards of the roads which at times it is downright disgraceful. Pot holes on the road, constant road works with poor delineating and drainage on the side of the road which can be quite terrifying.
Regularly back in Australia I will see in the news about tragic accidents involving bikes, particularly in Bali where a lot of Aussies travel. Tragic scenarios that at times has ended in serious injury or fatality. For varying reasons such as inexperience, being unlucky, being negligent or drinking alcohol before riding.
It makes you think. is it worth it?
In the end I won the argument, we didn’t hire any scooters. Not to say I wouldn’t in the future if the situation is different, but the time wasn’t right. Now my argument would be different for experienced riders, where their control of the bike and confidence over all is a lot more competent. But even then the conditions are different to back home.
Now whatever you choose, as it is a choice when all is said and done. Make sure you have the appropriate travel insurance to cover any injuries that could be sustained riding a motorcycle in South East Asia.