Riding a motorcycle in Thailand can be one of the most liberating feelings possible. If you're confident and well-practiced on one of these two wheelers then the tropical scenery is something that should not be missed. Equally, if you've never ridden a scooter before and you're the type of person who likes to throw themselves into the deep end without lessons, then Thailand can be a comfortable transition that you will not forget.
1. Understand Thai Traffic
It only takes a second for an unnoticed vehicle to pull out from a junction, or for the person in front to slow, or for the road ahead to bend unexpectedly. And half of the time it is the fault of other road users that cause problems. People in Thailand have a habit of being reckless when overtaking other traffic, although this is nothing compared with other southeast Asian countries. Moreover, with so many tourists on the road there is a high chance of the majority looking down at their phone or up at the sunset. So awareness is essential in order to avoid these potential dangers.
2. Never use your passport as a deposit
Aside from that, hiring a scooter is easy - and some would say too easy. With locals realising the potential of such a prolific business, shops and signs are dotted about anywhere where there are tourists. All of them will ask for a security deposit to cover the vehicle for any damages that might incur, and usually this deposit will be your passport. As you can imagine this makes a lot of customers feel uneasy. The fear of damaging the bike might cause the passport to be confiscated until an extortionate fee is paid out to repair the bike. Fortunately I have discovered a way around this potential disaster.
Explain to the tradesman that giving your passport to her/him, or any other person for that matter, is illegal. Therefore you must regrettably refuse to commit such an offence. Offer a different form of identification as an alternative - a student card works for me (keep hold of your driver's license!). Be apologetic that this alternative will have to suffice, yet firm in your action, and this should work. If not then there are usually plenty of other shops that will accept.
3. Check the damage of the bike before renting
An important bit of advice when completing the transaction is to check for any damage on the bike. I've heard stories in the past about travellers who return their bike after an amazing day, only to be accused of damaging it when handing back over the keys. Check the bike before you ride off into the distance, otherwise risk being falsely accused and charged significantly. If it has scratches but can still be used, inform the renter and perhaps take a photograph to be sure (or ask to exchange). Don't forget a helmet! Hire from someone who includes the helmet within the price. Then all that's left to do is ride to freedom.
4. Your life, take food care of it!
Fatalities from motorcycle accidents are more common than one might think, especially when the feeling of freedom makes you feel invincible. Being distracted by picturesque views is arguably the biggest danger, especially if you're a tourist and are constantly taken aback by so many new sights. Awareness is key, and if you find yourself distracted like this, or if you're attempting to capture a picture or video whilst navigating the road, then I guarantee your focus is occupied elsewhere.
More places in Krabi you can visit on your scooter
Being able to stop whenever a beautiful opportunity presents itself is much better than watching from behind a bus window. Whether it is passing through a rubber tree plantation or a palm forest, drifting over the winding roads of hills and mountains, or cruising along the coast with limestone islands sitting atop the water, the surrounding sights are something that will continue to amaze any visitor. But with such dazzling environments comes the potential of being dangerously distracted.
Tiger Cave Temple : Click here to find out how to ride & hike to Krabi's famous Tiger Cave Temple
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