Being able to have your own transport on a holiday can make for much convenience. Not only will you be able to go wherever you want on your own, you also have the liberty to stop as and when you like. Moreover, renting a motorbike can actually be a cheaper option compared to taking a taxi on a daily basis.
On the other hand, renting a motorcycle for a tourist, especially in Southeast Asia, has gotten some bad reputation. Motorbike scams are not unheard of, and can often result in an unpleasant holiday experience. But if you are convinced that you’d rather rent your own bike during a holiday in Southeast Asia, here are a few things you should take note of.
Have your license on hand
While it’s a well-known fact that many bike shops may not ask for your motorcycle license, although the legal requirement is to have one, especially an international one. Although you can get away without in some cases, you may find that police in popular tourist destinations like Bali and Thailand can stop you along the way and hassle you for some money if you are found without a valid license.
Not only that, it is for your own safety concern as well. It’d be extremely difficult to claim from your travel insurance if you are riding a bike sans license and got hurt.
Costs, Security Deposit and Insurance
Despite the rampant reputation for bike scams, why do tourists still choose to rent a bike if they can afford getting a private driver? Well, the cost is obviously lower, and riding a bike with the wind in your hair, visiting local sites and stopping at the top of a viewpoint make for compelling reasons.
To give you an idea, renting a bike in Thailand costs just about 250 baht a day, which comes up to a one-way ride on a tuk-tuk. If you are not staying right in town, you are likely to make a few trips for meals and sightseeing, which means you get to save quite a bit just by using your own rental bike.
Most motorbike rental shops require you to leave your passport or ID(it’s probably wiser to leave a photocopy), as well as a security deposit in case you decide to ride away and never come back. The amount usually ranges between 3000 to 5000 baht in Thailand.
Are you covered by your travel insurance if you got hurt while riding a motorcycle overseas? DirectAsia’s new travel plans provide the necessary cover, provided that “you hold a motorcycle licence recognised by the country you are riding in, that you wear a helmet at all times and abide by all the applicable road laws”. Simply put, as long as you are riding within legal terms, you’ll have no worries about your travel insurance coverage.
Tips for a Trouble-free Motorcycle Rental
- Always rent from an established, reputable shop rather than from individuals who approach tourists on the streets.
- Check the motorbike for existing damage before you depart from the shop because you can be liable for them when you return. You should also take pictures of the existing damages/scratches and point them out to the shop-owner before you depart.
- Check that the helmets fit well.
- Always get the contact number and address of the shop in case of any problem you might face, such as having a flat tire or an unfortunate crash.
- Ask if they can provide you with a lock(or get your own) and chain to secure your motorbike if you need to park them somewhere overnight. Keep your helmet with you or in the storage under the seats to prevent them from being stolen.
- If you are renting the motorcycle overnight, park it somewhere safe/gated within your accommodation.
- An automatic scooter might be a better choice if you are an inexperienced rider.
Riding a bike or scooter during your holidays can be a very enjoyable part of your trip in Southeast Asia; it can also be the most dangerous part of your trip. Use the above tips to help you stay safe and always remember to get your travel insurance coverage!