This post was most recently updated on February 14th, 2017
This is a guest post by motorcycling enthusiast, Laura Knight–
I always thought that Southeast Asia was only a great destination for backpackers. It was only after a group of friends told me of their experiences during their motorcycle travels in the region that I decided to go and see for myself. I’ve made a few trips now, and I haven’t looked back since.
Why Motorcycling in SE Asia?
Southeast Asia has such an abundance of diverse places to visit for a motorcycle traveler that it is hard to decide where to start. From iconic temples, picturesque towns, ruins and natural attractions, the adventure is sure to be worth it.
I haven’t even mentioned all the different food options that every foodie should try. Their food is absolutely outstanding. Whether it is from touristy restaurants to roadside shacks, your taste buds are sure to thank you.
Here are some iconic attractions that will not leave you disappointed:
Penang is well known, not just for its colonial buildings, mosques, temples and the UNESCO Heritage Site, but also for its Chinese, Indian and Malay influenced food varieties. It is definitely a destination to be savored, almost literally. On the menu you will find all types of spicy curries, savory soups and delicious laksas. Amazingly, most of the restaurant food is very cheap. Rest assured you will not be breaking the bank to taste what Penang has to offer.
Angkor Archaeological Park (Cambodia)
Most famous attractions are associated with inflated or unrealistic fees. Not these famous Temples of Angkor. One of the most captivating characteristics is the sheer size of this complex. Most tourists go for events such as Angkor Wat or Bayon but there is a whole 400 square kilometers to discover. Even a whole day is not enough to see everything.
Ifugao Rice Terraces (Philippines)
The rice terraces layering the hillsides in this region of the Philippines are an absolute sight to behold. This technology is over one thousand years old and was brought over by migrants from China’s Yunnan Province. The terraces glow in the bright sunshine during the harvest season when the plants are very bright and green. This is the best time to visit.
Hoi An (Vietnam)
If you love travelling, Hoi An was made just for you. First of all, the food in this ancient town is to die for. The architecture dates as far back as the 15th century and there are photo opportunities at every corner. For just under $25 per night, you will find a nice hotel room with a swimming pool.
(For more about motorcycling in Vietnam, see Vietnam’s Moc Chau Plateau)
What do I need before embarking on the trip?
One of the best things about this part of the world is that the weather is never too cold. So, while a snowmobile helmet would be a definite must-have when travelling by motorcycle in some places in Europe or America, that is certainly not the case in Southeast Asia.
Here are some of the things that you need to before you set off on a motorcycle trip in Southeast Asia:
Good motorcycle boots will help keep your feet warm and protect you from water. Choose boots that are well-fitting and comfortable for long hours of riding. They should not be too tight or restrictive as this prevents air from circulating, making your feet cold.
Gloves keep your hands warm by repelling water and wind. But be careful not to have gloves that prevent you from operating the bike’s controls with ease. If possible, have an extra pair of gloves in case you need to change.
Avoid cotton socks at all times. The best choices of socks includes wool, silk, nylon or polypropylene. An extra pair of socks is advised just in case you need to change or add an extra layer.
You never know when a motorcycle will break down. When riding on remote roads, it is very easy to find yourself sitting on the roadside waiting for help after a breakdown. That is why a toolkit is just as important as your helmet.
Google maps can fail you when there is no service. That is why it is very important to always have a physical map with you. There are many maps that are specially designed for motorcycling, that are great for all kinds of riding and also include the best places to take breaks during the trip.
In addition to protecting your hearing, earplugs also reduce fatigue drastically. The fatigue is a result of your brain trying hard to process all the noise from the bike and the wind. Earplugs will cut out most of this noise.
I’ve appreciated learning from Laura’s wealth of motorcycling expertise. What’s next on your traveling bucket list? If motorcycling is your mode of travel, will you give southeast Asia a try?
Laura Knight has been motorcycling for over ten years now. She has built up an incredible passion for travelling by motorbike and wants to contribute to the motorcyclist and traveler community. This is the reason why she created MotorManner.com, where her passion is turned into useful and interesting information for motorcyclists and travel lovers. Visit her blog to read motorcycle traveling gear reviews and more articles with helpful tips!