Riding a motorbike/scooter in Asia

You’ll soon come to find that it’s the done thing, especially with the locals and even though you have to be crazy to try it in the cities, it’s often the cheapest way to get around too.

Regardless of what anyone says, if you’re not a veteran at riding a bike (and even if you are, it’s a different story in Asia) and you’re thinking of getting involved, here are a few crucial tips to help you stay alive a little longer.

1. Observe and learn
You’ll no doubt have the chance to watch how the locals drive from a bus, taxi or tuk tuk before you hire your own bike, so use this golden opportunity to learn how to prolong your life by being switched on to the driving habits of others.

2. Get used to being overtaken and just let it happen
Cars, other bikes and pretty much everything on the road will no doubt want to overtake you, and I can be fairly sure in telling you that they will go to some pretty extreme levels to do so. So unless you want to be clipped by a car, be aware of your position on the road, give yourself room to move out of the way and keep alert to what’s coming up behind you.

3. The horn is your friend.
In Asia, the horn is used for pretty much everything, turning, coming around a corner, overtaking, stopping, you name it they’ll honk it. So why not join the crowd, use it when overtaking, or if something starts to pull out on you. The locals will be used to hearing it a lot, so get involved!
4. Having people on the back does make a difference.
You are more than likely going to want to split the price at some point or give some new found travelling friends a ride somewhere, but just be warned that having people on the back of the bike, not only slows it down but makes it harder to turn and less stable when setting off and stopping. As long as you are aware of that, you’ll be fine.

5. Lock, double lock and lock again.
Even though it’s a motorbike/scooter it can still be locked, so make sure you do lock your rented bike when leaving it. Plenty of horror stories of people having their bikes stolen (sometimes by the people they rented it from) and then not being able to get their passports they left as a deposit back.

Whether you’re a newbie traveller looking for help or a backpacking veteran with words of wisdom to share, our community is waiting for you.

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