Should you have a break down don’t worry. There are millions of bikes in Thailand with almost every village having a bike repair shop, where repairs and maintenance are done cheaply and quickly. If your bike breaks down or is not running well, take it to a bike repair shop and get it serviced so that you can continue your trip.
Laos & roadside repairs as you go.
If the problem is not so simple, phone the motorcycle hire shop and explain the situation to them, they will advise you what to do, or come and collect both you and the bike.
If you’re on your own big bike & need a lift back into Chiang Mai, German Joe at Joe’s Bike Team provides a breakdown service. Joe’s Bike Team, 26/1 Soi 2 Chang Moi Rd. Tel: +66053251186. Prices start at 300 baht inside Chiang Mai city. Up country pickups cost 500 baht + 7 baht per kilometre.
If you’re on your own bike and need to import the parts, do not use a courier firm, as there are often bad experiences with excessive Customs duty and courier charges, while the parts are held up in Bangkok. If the package is small and not of great value get it sent by EMS or registered airmail to your place of stay. However if the parts are bulky and of significant value use airfreight to Chiang Mai international airport. Here you can clear the parts yourself through Customs & negotiate the rate of duty payable, if at all – you should be able to confirm that the parts are for re-export on your own motorcycle by producing the temporary import papers.
TOURIST POLICE In Thailand there is a special division of the Thai police force for assisting tourists. They are always willing to help with any genuine complaints or problems that a tourist may have. Don’t hesitate to contact them for help; they speak English, are friendly and efficient at settling any disputes that you may have.
Consuls In Chiang Mai
ACCIDENTS If you have an accident and require medical treatment you will normally be taken to the nearest medical clinic or hospital. Here you will be treated and an assessment will be made of your condition – do you need further treatment at another hospital? Nearly all the small towns have some sort of medical clinic, and all the main towns have a hospital with x-ray facilities. In Thailand there are millions of motorbikes & even the young doctors have much experience with motorcycle accident victims. If you’re not satisfied with the treatment you are receiving, your next step is to be moved to one of the main hospitals in Chiang Mai. This transfer can be done by ambulance if necessary and the staff at the hospital where you are can arrange this.
Before your ambulance ride ascertain that your condition is stable & you can be transferred safely without further jeopardizing your condition. The local doctors should be aware of this & do any necessary emergency treatment – cleaning wounds, stemming loss of blood, stitching, & bone fixation if the fractures are compound – before you travel.
If you’ve had a nasty knock on the head, you’re probably not in the best position to make the most rational decisions; so, don’t be excessively obstinate & tell the doctors what to do, they normally know best.
With compound fractures, the first 6-8 hours are the most important, and if they are not compound, the bone fixation can be done later on. In Chiang Mai you can reassess your situation with the help of the doctors. The Chiang Mai doctors are first class and there is no real need to be overly concerned about poor medical treatment.
The best doctors in Chiang Mai are the ones who teach at Suan Dok – Maharaj hospital. Look through the list of doctors, see their speciality & qualifications – the ones who have studied in the west are the ones to go for. Ram Hospital is the # 1 hospital in Chiang Mai.
Note that in Laos if you have a bad accident & want good hospital treatment you need to get to Thailand ASAP.
A GTR spill in northern Laos resulting in a crushed humerus head. Next stop a hospital in Chiang Mai.
Vietnam if you’re planning to ride Vietnam then read this GT Rider Vietnam accident report.
See more tips on what do at an accident scene. Note that in Thailand you don’t need a prescription to buy medicines. As a precaution you can help yourself with minor spills by carrying a small medical kit for treating bumps, cuts and grazes. Falling off a bike is part of the fun of riding. It just hurts a little when you come to a sudden unplanned stop. The important thing to do is don’t panic or worry unnecessarily; your body’s the most amazing machine & can endure tremendous punishment. But when it does hurt just that much more…
Chiang Mai Ram hospital, ground floor, orthopaedic Clinic. Thursdays mornings only 10 am – 12 pm
Dr Sudhee has been the leading Orthopaedic lecturer in North Thailand & most, if not all the orthopaedic surgeons have learnt from him. He has looked after members of the Thai Royal family, plus practiced in the US for many years. David Unkovich personally recommends him, as well as numerous other GT Riders over the years. Sudhee speaks perfect English, can explain diagnosis & prognosis very clearly, has an excellent disposition & is a totally wonderful person. (He’s the GT Rider’s orthopaedic god!)
Unfortunately Sudhee no longer accepts emergency accident victims at hospitals, but he is available for consultation at the Ram clinic. If you are unsure about your treatment, check it out at his clinic.
Emergency Accident Treatment: with broken bones & trauma Dr Sudhee recommends Dr Anupong at Ram hospital. Get yourself admitted to either RAM or Lanna hospitals, & then ask for Dr Anupong. Dr Sudhee works as head of a consultancy team with Dr Anupong, & they often jointly consult on cases.
Good luck & don’t crash. But if you do – use Anupong & Sudhee.
GENERAL PRACTITIONER We recommend and use Dr Tawachai, Loi Kroa Clinic 62 / 2 Loi Kroa Road. Chiang Mai. Mon – Fri: 8:00 am – 1:00 pm and 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm Saturday: 8:00 am – 1:00 pm Sunday: 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm Phone: 053 – 271 571. Dr Tawatchai speaks fluent English. His charges are extremely reasonable, and a select few of the Golden Triangle riders have personally found him very good for cleaning & scraping general (road rash) wounds. The best time to visit his clinic is in the morning when there are fewer patients.
EAR NOSE THROAT DOCTOR We use and recommend Sopina Fooanant, MD Rajavej Chiang Mai Hospital. Clinic Hours: Monday & Friday: 09.00 – 12.00 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 13.00 – 17.00 Wednesday: 15.00 – 20.00 Friday: 14.00 – 20.00 Saturday: 09.00 – 12.00
Medical treatment costs money. So before you hit the road make sure you have some decent insurance. Dont ride without it. Accidents always happen when you least expect them, when you you don’t need them and often are not your fault. Get yourself covered.
To protect yourself check out these GTR insurance recommendations