If you happen to be visiting Koh Phangan, Thailand the most popular way to get around the island is by renting a rental bike. Many visitors struggle with moped rentals from the start, that’s why I wanted to put together some safety tips from the locals and point out a good moped rental spot to make your selection process go with a breeze.
I’ll be honest, I’m scared of riding anything automobile related
For the first month on Koh Phangan I didn’t want to ride a scooter rental because I’ve never had any experience driving one before, but I was living over in Haad Rin and have to get to the Koh Space a Co-working space I’m based at over in Baan Thai and it got to a point paying 100 Baht there and 100 Baht back was simply costing too much. I had to go to a motorbike rental in the end, if you plan on being on the island for a while its just simply needed to get around. I bit the built and went for it.
People have Motorbike accidents all the time on the island of Koh Phangan, you must be careful!
(Lots of Motorbike users on the island, its the most used form of transport, so keep a look out and be aware at all times)
I’m not even joking when I say this, it’s a serious problem on the island of Koh Phangan, crashes happen daily because users are not being careful and take it for granted, motorbike rentals are dangerous modes of transport. During my first hour on the island of Koh Phangan I witnessed a crash right in front of the restaurant I was eating at, funnily enough, whilst talking about motorbike safety with some local islanders!
It’s not a case of if a motorbike crash will happen its a case of when!
Rule 1: Always wear a helmet and protective clothing
Every bike rental shop will let you borrow a helmet for free, so use it. All the time I see moped riders with their helmet clipped to the side of their bike, why? The most important element is always safety and head protection is key, fall of a bike and smack your head, its game over!
Stop trying to be cool, everyone on the island encourages you to wear a helmet, its free so use it!
Motorcycle Helmets don’t even have to be expensive. You can find many good offers and deals online. You really have no excuses on wearing a Motorcycle Helmet.
If you can avoid wearing flip flops, wearing some more protective covered shoes can help if you need to jump off. Most accidents are caused by other motorbike riders, so even if you are extremely advanced, you can’t prepare for others failures which is rather common with a lot of the first riders on the island.
Check your bike first before driving away
You want to give your motorbike a quick inspection and practice drive before leaving the moped rental shop. Check the wheels and tires for cuts, take photos of any scratches already present on the bike and inform the shop if you find anything wrong, and then give it a quick spin around the block to check it works.
Be careful with motorbike damage on Koh Phangan
At all costs, never ride your moped drunk, this is the number one cause for big crashes. Often around the full moon time you see people covered in bandages from head to toe, this is because they weren’t well protected and wasn’t safely riding their bike, you have to be careful and if you have had something to drink, just grab a tuk tuk taxi and come back to collect your rental bike in the morning, don’t risk it!
Ask your bike shop for damage rates so you can prepare to pay the price
Please ask your moped rental shop for costs of damage for each part of the bike, Adam big bike shop has a print out of this information. This will give you an idea what parts will cost if you fall off your bike, damage a part or scratch an area of the bike.
You have to understand that they are a local business, accidents do happen, if you were to break a window in a hotel, of course you would have to pay for your damage, this goes for the same with motorbike rentals, this is their business, be smart when you are riding and understand that if you damage your bike it needs to get fixed.
You Don’t have to hand over your passport
If you can avoid it, try and keep hold of your passport, it’s an important document that should stay with you at all times, especially in case of an emergency. A photocopy should be efficient enough to cover you for your rental. Alternatively, you can apply for an international driver’s license, which should also be enough of an alternative to replace your passport.
Best way to make sure your bike is running well, head to Haad Rin, Koh Phangan
If your moped rental can climb the big hills towards Haad Rin beach, then your motorbike is perfect! That’s not the best piece of road to drive along as you pass a number of huge hills, if you are new to driving moped rentals this will be a big test, tips are to avoid driving on sand which will wobble your bike and take your time going at your own pace, don’t over do it on your first attempt, be smart. A good idea is to get a moped over 125CC which will be enough to get two passengers over the hills to Haad Rin.
Another tip is to try and avoid slamming your breaks suddenly. This is how most people fall off, especially when you hit the sand. Steadily play with the breaks with an even play to gradually bring your bike to a stop. This will avoid sudden movements which can rock you off your bike.
Thank you for reading my blog post and I hope you picked up some useful tips on how to be safe on a moped and rent a motorbike in Koh Phangan. Remember to wear a helmet, keep calm, don’t worry about Speeding too quickly, take it slow and avoid riding after a few drinks, have a great time in Koh Phangan!