ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Trip Planning
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 02-24-2013, 01:45 PM   #1
WhicheverAnyWayCan OP
Deaf Biker
 
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Seven Springs NC
Oddometer: 723
Africa vs SE Asia?

If you are a frugally traveler and want to keep cost down, where would you travel first? Africa or Asia?

I undecided on starting in Africa or Asia after finishing up in South America. The plan is to ride around Africa/India/Asia before starting up to Russia and head out to Europe.

Appreciate any input on your experience..

(Yes posted a much longer question on HU forum but hoping we have few ADVrider who can chime in..)
WhicheverAnyWayCan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2013, 04:09 PM   #2
Witold
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jul 2004
Oddometer: 659
It depends on exactly how 'frugal' you are. Are we talking about staying in low-end hotels, hostels, camp grounds, or just camping in the wild?

Overall, SE Asia is much cheaper for almost everyone, and it's not even close. I'm going to quickly jot down my thoughts without proofreading so if something isn't clear just ask...

My impressions are based on riding around countries Zambia and South. There isn't that much tourism and the tourism that is there tends to be mid/high end. There is no middle class in these countries so everything is either aimed at very poor people, or relatively rich people. There are no price comparison web sites. Some businesses clearly operate as a cartel where they will not undercut each other.

For example, in the middle of nowhere Mozambique, I remember arriving in mid sized city. There were no other cities for about 100 miles in every direction. This mid-size city had 1 'local' hotel, 1 'nice' hotel, and 1 campground. The 'local' hotel was fairly expensive, dumpy - and full. The campground had a reputation for people being robbed with regularity. And the 'nice' hotel was $150ish/night after heavy negotiations and a discount. And it wasn't even that nice... nothing special really.

The above was on the expensive side, but I felt this way in many places. Basically, my goal was to stay in the cheapest clean hotel room I could find that had decent parking for my moto. My M.O. was the same as I traveled: I would get into a city and start looking at the GPS for hotels. In some cities I would literally check every hotel listed. And basically, they were all expensive. Compared to SE Asia, you get crap quality, crap prices, and crap service. Even little things like Internet will cost you $12/hour for a very slow connection.

For food, these African countries suck. Low-end food is terrible. Mid-market food is terrible to acceptable. High end food is only OK. In contrast, SE Asia a food lover's dream. Lots of streetfood that is very tasty. Lots of expat ethnic restaurants that are very cheap and also tasty. No comparison.

For attractions, Africa has true wilderness. But as a rider, what sucks is that you can not enter any of the national parks on a motorcycle. This will screw you up logistically and it will also cost you quite a bit. Every decent safari is pretty darn expensive. And if you want to go the best parks and stay in the good lodges that have some sort of special deal to be able to build their lodges near the watering holes, expect to pay BIG BUCKS.

So that's Africa. Equivalent things cost more across the board. There are very few exceptions to this.

There are two ways to make things cheaper: hostels and rough camping. Hostels will bring down the cost but again, they are much more expensive than in SE Asia. My impression is that there aren't that many of them either, so you really have to plan out your stays if you want to stay in a hostel.

I had a tent with me but I never really camped. This is for 4-ish reasons:
- after a long day of riding, I don't really want to bake in a tent alone. After a day of riding, a comfortable bed and comfortable room are so nice and hard to say 'no' to.
- camping alone sucks. It was nice to stay in hotels and I met a lot of very interesting locals doing very interesting things. (It seems like all middle class Africans have some fascinating stories to tell.)
-I didn't really feel comfortable. No one really knew even the country I was in. I wasn't sure about properly camping in lion/elephant/hippo territories. I'm not much of a camper to begin with.
-I also wasn't really sure about the people. It seems like all the bush near the roads is populated with little villages and it was hard to tell if I would be in an area alone or not.

In my ideal world, if I was doing that ride again I would go with 2 other people and camp inside the local villages with their permission. That would be my advice.
Witold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2013, 04:32 PM   #3
WhicheverAnyWayCan OP
Deaf Biker
 
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Seven Springs NC
Oddometer: 723
Hi Witold,

Thank you very much on your insight on Africa. I read your riding report on riding in south section of Africa and enjoyed many of your pics.

I am pretty much a very frugally rider. When I did TAT with someone, he was more of $50 or higher hotel while I am ok with $30ish. I can remember one town had 3 motel.. $170, $100, or $32 a night. He settled for $100 while I settled for $32 roach motel when we could have split $50 2 ways but $50 was too rich for me. In the end, I spent $1,400 1 way doing TAT and his expenses was almost double of that doing 3/4 of TAT before he returned home. Yes, I finished TAT.

Anyway, after researching and contemplating where I will want to travel after I finish South America I realized that my best bet is to just enjoy traveling North/Central/South America and return back to home to recuperate and start preparing to travel to other country so I don't stress myself trying to plan for next country while I am finishing up South America. And it would be better to prepare for Carnet, vaccine shots, and some visa (if need to) at home prior to departing date.

I am sure you agree on that, and based on what I have read and your experience with Africa, I think I am gonna wait another 5-10 years to see if situation in Africa will improve. If not then at least find 2-3 riders and try to ride together through Africa and split the cost 3-4 ways.
WhicheverAnyWayCan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2013, 02:16 PM   #4
Witold
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jul 2004
Oddometer: 659
WhicheverAnyWayCan, allow me to add two additional thoughts on the topic.

First is that no matter how you do things and no matter what the choices you make, it will probably be substantially cheaper in SE Asia - without feeling cheaper. I have seen $12/night guesthouse rooms in Thailand that are better than many $70/night hotel rooms in the USA. They are plain, but clean and pleasant. It is pretty amazing in what you can get there. In contrast, I would go to some dingy African motel and they would quote me $40/night and they had zero interest in giving me any sort of discount no matter the negotiating approach I tried. And this would be for a room that had mold on the walls, ceiling caving in from water damage, and smelled nasty. I don't mind roughing it, but it's really nice to stay in a nice place with a great view and relax with good food after a ride. You can easily do that in SE Asia without breaking the bank. You will not feel like you are keeping a budget and trying to cut corners to shave costs. If you want to do Africa, I think the ideal way - to save money and to greatly enhance your experience - is to do it with 2 other people and camp in little tribal villages. I think that would be downright epic compared to the sort of trip I did. That's the way to do Africa, IMO. That's what I would like to do in the future.

The great thing about Africa is that it will be easier to cross countries. The countries I visited (Zambia and South) don't even require a Carnet and it takes 15 minutes to cross most borders. Super easy. People on HU report that most of Africa can be done without a Carnet. The rules are more lax. Contrast this with SE Asia: You can't go into Burma at all. Going in to China is super expensive. Going into Vietnam is complicated for bikes with bigger engines. It a PIA.

Second, my recommendation would be to consider skipping SE Asia. It's overdone (Thailand and Vietnam have massive tourism) and aside from the beach areas it is not that visually interesting. It's a great region to relax by the beach and bum around but it's not really great riding. Roads are crowded, scenery is nothing special. I would suggest Indonesia/Malaysia/Philippines, or the Himalayas region instead. It will be more interesting, IMO. Have a look at my Indian Himalayas ride report. Tack on a reentry permit to your visa so you can go into and get back from Nepal and it will be awesome. It will also cost next to nothing. (The Buddhist mountain areas are both cheap and pleasant. The accommodations are plain, but pleasant.) After you are done, you can fly your bike to the 'Stans or whatever...

You should probably go to the place that 'draws you' the most, regardless of what people say.... but think about it...
Witold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2013, 06:22 PM   #5
WhicheverAnyWayCan OP
Deaf Biker
 
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Seven Springs NC
Oddometer: 723
I have a place at the beach so really I grew out of beach and now practically hate it I want to sell the place but my mother and sister isn't for it. I even offered to give up my share in exchange for full ownership of the farm land that I currently operate campground business on. So being a tourist at beach anywhere out there I most likely am not going to do that. I'll settle for fresh water, though!

Anyway, I still would like to tour Asia countries where possible and yes I do want to ride through PH but not sure if they have a ferry service or if I would have to get bike shipped from one of the Asia country to PH? I heard from a filipino I can have it shipped from nearest asia country and buy a plane ticket to PH for $300 all together.

With my lifestyle and my income, it is more feasible for me to ship bike once and visit as many countries as possible before bringing bike back to USA. I can't afford to ship bike back and forth to and from USA few times in 2-3 years. Time is not an issue for me and I will have a steady income although it is not much! And with a very large credit limit on my credit card large enough to pay for a decent used vehicle I think it would make more sense to travel through poor country first paying with cash out of my pocket and finish up in expensive country where they accept credit card for most part (Europe).

Edit:(wanted to add something)
With that said, I am more of planning to travel thru Asia country then India (will check and most likely include Nepal) then part of Middle East then Soviet before finishing up in Europe before going to home in USA. Africa will have to wait much longer for now. Perhaps once I find a group then will see.

Thanks for the input you have shared and I am gonna read your India RR in the morning with few cups of coffee!

WhicheverAnyWayCan screwed with this post 02-27-2013 at 06:29 PM
WhicheverAnyWayCan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2013, 02:01 AM   #6
Pecha72
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: May 2008
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Oddometer: 3,232
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhicheverAnyWayCan View Post
Anyway, I still would like to tour Asia countries where possible
I would most definitely visit SE Asia on my RTW-trip. It is true, that some of the countries (particularly Burma, China, Vietnam) are a PITA of varying degrees. Actually Iīve never ridden in any of those countries, but that doesnīt really hurt, because Iīve had the time of my life in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Indonesia. Probably canīt see them all properly on one trip anyway, especially Indonesia is huge, and slow to travel. But itīs also one of the most amazing countries Iīve ever visited. Basically the same goes for Cambodia, and parts of Laos as well.

To ship to Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur, and do all these countries (spending at least 3 months or more), and then heading through Indonesia to East Timor, then shipping the bike to Darwin and then ride Oz, that would be the way Iīd do it. But you are gonna need the carnet for Indo and Oz, possibly also if you ship into Malaysia. Land border from Thailand seems very relaxed about it.
Pecha72 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2013, 03:40 PM   #7
Witold
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jul 2004
Oddometer: 659
If your budget allows it, you might as well ship to Philippines/Malaysia/Indonesia and start working your way up. There is a decent ferry system that will get you around between many - but not all - islands. But better double check all the choke points. Ferries are dying as cheap air travel becomes even cheaper. Then you can air ship again from Bangkok to Nepal. (Malaysia/Thai border is very easy.) That's what most people appear to be doing.

The more I read your posts, the more I think you should just start in the Himalayas if your schedule isn't long enough to allow you to do everything else. I always thought I was a beach person, but man, that mountain scenery is something else.

SE Asia is great fun. But I think it's great fun despite low-quality riding. It's a good region to relax and chill out. The amazing scenery is mostly beaches... but if you're not into that... The Thai 'mountains' are a joke. The Smokey's/Deal's Gap crush it. It's OK if you're there, but not a reason to travel half way around the world for, IMO. Basically, the scenery is nothing special and the road conditions aren't that great (rarely twisty, not interesting, lots of traffic everywhere.)

You're basically going for a pleasant atmosphere, pleasant people, amazing food culture, great value. The last time I was there for 3 months to do paramotor training I didn't even bother getting a motorcycle - which is a pretty big statement for me considering how cheap and easy it is to get motorcycles in Thailand. I just got a scooter so that I could get around and I didn't miss riding a motorcycle at all.
Witold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2013, 04:28 PM   #8
WhicheverAnyWayCan OP
Deaf Biker
 
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Seven Springs NC
Oddometer: 723
Ok thanks for the input.. maybe this would be a good strategy for me to consider??

Fly down to OZ sometime around late Feb/early March and travel around the OZ (Australia) then ship bike up to India between May-Aug and ride around there before shipping down to SE Asia between Aug-March and travel real slowly.. I do have a friend who is now living in CDO at Philippines.. he married a filipina and had a son with her over there. Said that I am welcome to come over and stay over as long as I like within legal limit. By time time winter passes through in Soviet, I can ship bike to safe section of Middle East during the spring and travel toward Soviet doing Road of Bone before heading out to Europe and finish the trip up.

A tour in India and long stay in Asia will probably allow me to recoup some cash from my monthly income to continue my trip via Middle East/Soviet.

As I said, time is no issue.. no job, no wife/kid, no commitment..
WhicheverAnyWayCan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2013, 01:43 AM   #9
Pecha72
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: May 2008
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Oddometer: 3,232
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhicheverAnyWayCan View Post
maybe this would be a good strategy for me to consider??

Fly down to OZ sometime around late Feb/early March and travel around the OZ (Australia) then ship bike up to India between May-Aug and ride around there before shipping down to SE Asia between Aug-March and travel real slowly..


From Oz, I would much rather make the relatively short shipping from Darwin to East Timor, and then work my way northwest from there. After Iīm finished with SE Asia, then ship to the Indian subcontinent (Kathmandu, Nepal seems to be the best place to ship to – Iīve personally shipped by air from India to Thailand, but India was a bit troublesome, reports seem to indicate that Nepal would be better). From India/Nepal, you should be able to ride all the way to Europe, provided you get the visas for Pakistan and Iran. And no entry to China needed (although the route via the Karakoram Highway thru China and into Kyrgyzstan is used by some travellers, as it only necessitates a relatively short stay inside China – but you still have to pay a bit, get the guide, etc).

BTW, international ferry lines are mostly a thing of the past all around SE Asia. You got ferries between Indonesian islands (exact information, timetables etc. could be hard to find, though!) and you got ferries also going inside Philippines. From country to country, donīt expect to find many. There was something going from West Malaysia to Sumatra a while ago, and also something from Malaysian Borneo to Philippines... but will they be there next year, next month, or even next week, thatīs anyoneīs guess! The only constant thing with these, is change.

I donīt agree, that SE Asia riding is somehow ī2nd gradeī. Maybe Thailand and some other parts are not so adventurous these days. Still plenty to be discovered all around the region, not just beaches. Explore (for example) the mountain areas in northern Laos, the backroads in Cambodiaīs more remote provinces, or the Bukit Barisan mountains, that form Sumatraīs "spine", and itīs not so much on the beaten track any more.. especially on a bike, you donīt need to go, where most tourists go. Add to this itīs cheap, easy, warm 365 days a year, good food, interesting and different cultural attractions packed in a relatively small area (though especially Indonesia is HUGE)... itīs no wonder more than a few people go back as often as they can. But sure itīs not for everybody, and weīre all entitled to our opinions. Iīd say itīs definitely worth visiting once, then you can make up your own mind, if you feel like going back some time or not.

Pecha72 screwed with this post 03-04-2013 at 03:12 AM
Pecha72 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2013, 04:34 PM   #10
Witold
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jul 2004
Oddometer: 659
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhicheverAnyWayCan View Post
Ok thanks for the input.. maybe this would be a good strategy for me to consider??

Fly down to OZ sometime around late Feb/early March and travel around the OZ (Australia) then ship bike up to India between May-Aug and ride around there before shipping down to SE Asia between Aug-March and travel real slowly.. I do have a friend who is now living in CDO at Philippines.. he married a filipina and had a son with her over there. Said that I am welcome to come over and stay over as long as I like within legal limit. By time time winter passes through in Soviet, I can ship bike to safe section of Middle East during the spring and travel toward Soviet doing Road of Bone before heading out to Europe and finish the trip up.

A tour in India and long stay in Asia will probably allow me to recoup some cash from my monthly income to continue my trip via Middle East/Soviet.
It really depends on your budget. Shipping bikes and flying is not cheap and it's almost always a logistical PIA. Unless you're an amazing planner, it will probably cost you delays, extra hotel stays, etc. But if you want to do this, it is possible.

Your route reminds me of Charlie Booman's TV show Sydney to Tokyo By Any Means where he tries to ride from Australia to Japan. You should watch it. I believe his route was Australia-Papua New Guinea-Indonesia-Philippines-Taiwan-Japan and his goal was to not use air travel at all. He runs into some ferry issues. You can watch the show to see how he did on that front. :)

I think it's clear that you need to leverage your local friendship as much as you can. If you have never been to the region, there is no better gentle intro than relaxing with your friend as he shows you around. The best trips are often build on human relationships and who you meet and who you hang out with. Staying with someone who can show you around is a totally different experience from exploring on your own. It's a different perspective - usually a much richer perspective. Use your contact!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pecha72 View Post
I donīt agree, that SE Asia riding is somehow ī2nd gradeī. Maybe Thailand and some other parts are not so adventurous these days. Still plenty to be discovered all around the region, not just beaches. Explore (for example) the mountain areas in northern Laos, the backroads in Cambodiaīs more remote provinces, or the Bukit Barisan mountains, that form Sumatraīs "spine", and itīs not so much on the beaten track any more.. especially on a bike, you donīt need to go, where most tourists go. Add to this itīs cheap, easy, warm 365 days a year, good food, interesting and different cultural attractions packed in a relatively small area (though especially Indonesia is HUGE)... itīs no wonder more than a few people go back as often as they can. But sure itīs not for everybody, and weīre all entitled to our opinions. Iīd say itīs definitely worth visiting once, then you can make up your own mind, if you feel like going back some time or not.
If you stack up destination on a chalkboard and try to rate them, something has to be 2nd grade, doesn't it? In this region, what do you think is 2nd grade? You don't really think that every place is exactly the same, do you? The above was my attempt at stacking up different destinations in regards to their strengths and weaknesses for motorcycle travel, taking into consideration what the OP says throughout the thread. It doesn't mean that the whole country sucks and there is no point in going there. I also live by the mantra that almost every place is worth visiting once, but the realities of life force us to make choices as to where to go first and what destinations leave for later.
Witold is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 01:39 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014