Asia, Europe, or US

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by aterry1067, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. aterry1067

    aterry1067 Been here awhile

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    Hey y'all,

    I'm up in arms trying to decide what to do, and would like to hear from folks that's been there. I have pretty much narrowed it down to three options: 1. Go to BKK, rent a bike, travel Thailand. Would love to do Siem Reap in Cam while I am at it. I have rented a scooter for a day in Cambodia, and it was a blast (in PP), but haven't ridden a bike in Thailand; only ridden in a truck with a crazy driver. 2. Romania, rent a bike, and ride. I haven't been to eastern Europe, but the mystique draws me so.
    3. Stay in the US and roam around the country on a BMW RT. There are lots of places I haven't been to here, that would be amazing to visit on a bike.

    If I travel Thailand, Chang Mai would be at the top of the list, but Siem reap would be a close second. The border crossing with a thai bike would decide if it was first on the list.

    Any suggestions or insight?


    This would be for about 2 weeks in April.

    Thanks,
    #1
  2. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

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    All options sound fantastic but I'll throw in my two cents.

    Thailand has amazing quality roads, and having done the Mae Sa Valley loop in Chiang Mai I can tell you that no matter what you're missing out on by choosing Asia you won't regret it after swooping up and down those sweet hills and twisties.
    Incidentally, the water festival of Songkran is in mid April - could be interesting.

    I rode in Cambodia; it's definitely an adventure but the bumpy potholed roads don't even compare to the smooth asphalt of Thailand. Of course, some people like it rough...
    Can't speak to the border crossing but if you only have two weeks you'd be best off picking one or the other. Unless you're just looking to zoom by everything you'll be hard pressed to make the best of your time.
    #2
  3. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

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  4. Babysteps

    Babysteps 102° Rx = + /_\

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    To quote a World famous in New Zealand TV Advert. Don't leave town till you've seen the country! :clap

    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/5NidFF9eQu0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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  5. aterry1067

    aterry1067 Been here awhile

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    Thanks all.

    Babysteps, that's kinda my thinking at this point. Nothing would please me more to go to another country and rent a bike, but there is just so much that I haven't seen here. I have traveled in the US quite a bit, but not yet on a bike. I have also traveled in other countries, but again, not yet on a bike.

    I still have a month or so to decide, so will give it some more thought and more research.

    When I do go back to Thailand, I will be SURE to look into your suggestion there El Explorador. Thanks!
    #5
  6. squawk77

    squawk77 Dreamer

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    I just got back from Chiang Mai and I hope to do Romania this year as well (US been there done that). I spent Christmas in Afghan so I had lots of leave to use in Jan/Feb. Thailand is perfect riding weather from Dec-Mar whereas it rains a lot from May-Oct (April and Nov in between) A 650cc ER6N or Ninja rental is under $250/week (including ins) and nice hotels w pool/sauna are ~$20. I was also interested in seeing Cambodia or Laos but it's a hassle and leaving the country is not typical on a rental (standard procedure they require to hold your passport). Having a bike really gets you away from the tourist traps though and out into what I consider more "authentic" traveling. The roads were great and the traffic was never an issue on a bike at all. I was surprised I didn't see more foreign biker outside of town in such a place - mostly local scooters and pickups. In 3 weeks I didn't run out of places to explore, and I think to get to Siem Reap you would burn at least a few precious days in transit (road is pretty plain compared to the north and it's hard to cover so much distance)

    I sold my bike last year to move and I wouldn't have my new GS in Europe until spring, so Chiang Mai was an easy choice for me. Tough choice between your 3 options for sure. It might be hard to cram Eastern Europe into a few weeks as well, and unfortunately I can't compare the 2 yet from experience. From reading ADV reports though, sounds like cops can be a pain in E Europe especially with foreign bikers. There are rental scams in Thailand to avoid (in the heavy tourist beach areas they rent unregistered bikes and use the spare key to steal them, or falsely claim you damaged the rental etc) however I never sensed any issues in Chiang Mai or even saw a cop on the backroads (they even waved me through the seldom checkpoints in town) I think you should do all 3 when the time is right! :1drink

    I wasn't really "adventure riding" on an ER6N, but I did end up coming down a steep mountain on very loose gravel by accident which was very "sporty" on street tires. There are definitely endless "adventure" type roads to explore in Chiang Mai and dirt-bikes/S-motos for rent as well

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    #6
  7. squawk77

    squawk77 Dreamer

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    In Jan/Feb, the weather was sunny ~100F everyday. Maybe some clouds or light rain at night. I hear now that the heavy smog has settling in Chiang Mai as it does every year about this time, until the rainy season clears it away. It's due to the geography and pollution and locals burning off bush in the hills. I would aim for Dec/Jan/Feb and lean towards somewhere else for April
    #7
  8. Roadscum

    Roadscum Long timer

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    Two weeks is not a lot of time. I'd stay local to maximize riding time and minimize travel time.

    Regards, Paul
    #8
  9. aterry1067

    aterry1067 Been here awhile

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    Wow! Awesome pics griever! I'm seriously considering Thailand. I know it won't be the best time of year for it, but I have to take what I can get. If it's ok, I might PM you sometime for a little more info on bike rentals in the area.

    I seen your keychain. You aren't by chance aircrew or mechanic are ya?

    I know two weeks isn't that much time, and I would certainly prefer more. But it is what it is at this point. The trip wouldn't only be about riding. It's as much about culture and people as it is anything else. I loved my time spent in SE Asia, and long to go back. But, there is the flip side, that there is just as much culture and tradition (and great riding) right here in my own back yard, I just have to go look for it.

    I hadn't put much thought into it this past week, as the vacation time was threatened by work issues. All's good, for now, and I am back researching and contemplating.

    Thanks again for all your suggestions and insight.
    #9
  10. squawk77

    squawk77 Dreamer

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    I am aircrew on an E3A and I noticed your avatar as well. Vacation time is valuable and you can always tour your backyard on long weekends etc. Chiang Mai is definitely good for more than biking and the bike is an enjoyable way to get around and discover it. My pictures don't do justice to the cultural experiences. I'll pm you a few good referrals in case you go
    #10
  11. JDK111

    JDK111 Been here awhile

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    I was in Chiang Mai in Dec./Jan. and what Griever says is dead on.
    If I might add - plan on basing yourself out of Chiang Rai for a few days too...... it's a little more 'centrally located' to what could be some awesome daytrips in the 'golden triangle' (Thai, Laos, Myanmar border areas). I'd go back there in a heartbeat :D
    #11
  12. aterry1067

    aterry1067 Been here awhile

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    .............and yet, here I am, facing this question yet again.

    Where to go? Any updated conversation pieces?

    If I stay in the US, I will buy a 250 DS bike to tag along on the back of the FJ. This is not a bad set-up, as I love the FJ (Toyota) and I love all the room while camping. But.......... for the price of the 250 DS, I could buy a plane ticket to XXX country and rent a bike from there.


    Dilemmas, dilemmas.
    #12