As we usually do – we harp about being safe on the roads here and hope everyone has a great time and everything is cool for you on the island. This is our guide to choosing a scooter, chopper or motorcycle on Koh Chang – so maybe we can help you out and make the right choice and have a better time here on the island. We even have a quick map at the bottom showing the main roads, their conditions and where to get gas and repairs. Have a great time!
Availability: There are numerous and plentiful Koh Chang scooter and motorcycle rentals from dedicated rental shops, just about every resort and hotel and lodge and of course the local guy who has three… You can get everything from under powered and old models to scooters of every shape and size and the large choppers and big bike rentals. Because of the steep grades on the hills if you are carrying more than one person, or are a bit “bigger” go for anything above 125cc and preferably 135cc like the Honda Airblade or Yamaha Neuvo.
Good Motorcycle/Scooter Rentals:
They will have a good selection of decent motorcycles that look good and are willing to take the time to talk to you, explain the scooter and how it works. They will have decent (by Thai standards) helmets and the bike will be in good repair. They will not mind if you list damage and will take their time to make sure you understand the bike and how it operates. In short they will not be rushed and explain everything to you.
Bad Scooter/ Motorcycle Dealers:
They will have a sub-standard bike with several cracks and scrapes, and not want to list that on the contract. This is a huge red flag – walk away as soon as they do not want to list that. What has happened in several cases is that they will ask you to pay for prior damage and what can you do? Except pay… They will have bad tires, and the helmets will be what we call Tonka toy helmets with the cheapest quality motorcycles available.
When Choosing a Scooter/ Motorcycle:
- Check the overall shape of the scooter and be sure to write down on both copies of the contract the inclusion of any damage, no matter how minimal. Photos are even better
- Check the tires out and make sure they are in good shape and have a decent tread. Trust us on this, going up or down a hill on a corner with rain is a great way to have an accident with crud tires to blame.
- Take the bike for a quick test and make sure brakes are good and you can stop quickly. If there is any doubt about the brakes move onto another bike or another dealer.
- Check the lights, the signals and the brake levers are all in working order.
- Be sure to learn how to open the gas cap, start the engine and operate the scooter.
- Start the bike and make sure the engine is not blowing smoke and oil and does not feel like it is about to blow up.
If you want to be real particular take pictures of the bike and any scrapes when you rent it. It provides proof that you did or did not damage the bike.
Be aware that flat tires are very common and you will be expected to cover this if it happens. There are lots of small shops along the road and none should charge more than 250 Bht to repair the tires. There is also a mobile repair that we recommend and here is the link to them.
If You Have An Accident:
First things first make sure you and anyone involved are okay. If someone is badly injured call for emergency services and get to the hospital. Remember people can into shock very quickly and so make sure they are coherent and have them sit down and take it easy… Call the Tourist Police if you need any assistance.
Due to infections being serious business in Thailand go to a local clinic and get checked out and maybe a tetanus shot might be in order if you have any cuts or wounds. They can also comb your skin with a nice steel brush to get all the dirt out and are quite good at it… they have a lot of practice unfortunately.
If your bike has damage it is never a good idea to take it back right away to the place where you rented it. Some, not all, dealers pray every day that their bike will be in accident as they can then charge an exorbitant charge to the unsuspecting renter. Some people have paid more for minimal damage than the bike is worth… So be aware.
Take the bike, on your own, to either the dealer or to a shop and get a quote for repairs. It generally will save you thousands of baht. Remember the bike is probably worth only 30-50 thousand Baht. Most damage is cosmetic with fiberglass panel repair and as such and it should not be too expensive.
So drive safe, keep your speed down and enjoy the island. We hope you never have to use the accident part of our guide, but if you do hopefully it can come in handy.
Tour Map for Motorcycles:
Just a quick map to show the road and the hazards, shops and gas stations! Have fun with your Koh Chang scooter! Our friends at bikerguide.org also have a great download PDF of the west coast along with some great driving tips and survival techniques.