Koh Samui Motorbike Rental
Before there was a concrete road around the island, people walked. Or, more usually, they went by boat if it was more than a kilometre or two. Now everybody and their cat has what the Thai people call 'motorbikes'.
These are the universally small-engined (100 to 125 ccs) two-seaters (at least!) that you see buzzing everywhere. These come in two flavours - either with a clutch and gearbox, or with automatic transmission. There's no particular advantage to either, other than the gearbox type is cheaper to hire and the automatic transmission is easier to get used to if you've not had much experience on a motorbike. But if that's the case, then our advice is not to drive a bike here at all.
The local motorbike riders on Samui are in a genre all of their own and will unfailingly do exactly the opposite of what you are expecting!
Universal rates are 150 baht a day for the gearbox type (The Honda Dream or Wave) and 250 baht for the clutchless 'Novo' variety. Shopping around will find you lower prices, but at this kind of money it's hardly worth bothering.
And if you're a closet Biker, then Samui has a great many super-bikes to pick from, although Harleys are somewhat thin on the ground!
But one word of serious caution. The island of Samui is not like the mainland. The concrete roads are worn and potholed, and where they have been fixed it's with big mounds of tarmac. And there is drifting sand on every bend, too. It's hazardous enough pinging about on a motorbike. But with a few hundred kilos of super-bike to unleash, the roads here can only too easily turn out to be an expensive and painful experience.
Expect to pay something like 400 baht a day for a 400cc CBR and increasingly more for bigger and more exotic hardware. These rates reduce if you take it for more more than a week.
Where to Rent a Motorbike
Absolutely everywhere! There are probably more bike-hire shops on Samui than there are Thai restaurants, and even small shops will have invested in one or two to rent out. It all depends where you're staying and in what accommodation, but the chances are your resort will have a couple that they keep just for this purpose.
The same comments apply for motorbike insurance as they do for car insurance, other than the cost of buying your own insurance independently - it's less for a 'bike.
It makes sense to wear a helmet, particularly on Samui. In fact it's Thai law that you have to do so, although Samui is very laid-back about this, and anyway you should be provided with one when you rent the bike.
On the other hand, most the helmets you find here are made of thin plastic and none cost more than a few hundred baht - work it out for yourself.
On Koh Samui, 90% of motorbike accidents involve serious scrapes - what are known as 'road burns' or, locally, 'Samui Tattoos'. These occur on all your body parts that come in contact with the the ground when you slide along raw concrete with your arms out to protect yourself. And yet 99.9% of riders dash about in shorts and tee shirts, wearing only open sandals on their feet.
Be warned and take care!
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