Q How long has Asian Experience been going?

A Our association with the sub continent goes back to many years spent backpacking around Asia ( plus many other places - Africa, South America, North America, Middle East, Europe plus many more!!! ) in the 70's and 80's. Upon returning to Australia, we were dismayed at the lack of motor bike tours available ( none!! ) and with our travelling experience and passion for motorcycling, we decided to do something about it.......hence Asian Experience was born. We started Asian Experience in 1987 and took our first group in 1988. This first tour was so successful that the group wanted us to organise another tour for them…….this gave us encouragement to realise that we could successfully organise tours!!! We're quite proud to be the first Australians to organise overseas motor bike tours and also the first to be given permission from the Bhutan Govt to take motor bike tours there. So successful have our motor bike tours been that other operators have copied our itineraries……..but of course do not do them better!!!

Q Why are your tour prices lower than other operators?

A Perhaps the question should be.....why are our competitor's prices so high…..in some cases $1000’s. We cannot speak for the other operators but for Asian Experience we have always aimed to provide value for money tours. We do this by being only a 2 person show with minimal overheads and having spent over 40 years travelling in these countries we have a reliable network of friends, colleagues and contacts who can organise the "on ground" arrangements. We don't have a huge advertising budget and are very grateful for the many repeat customers & word of mouth recommendations - ultimately advertising has to impact on the tour prices. We have our own fleet of motor bikes ( Royal Enfield Bullets ) for the India, Nepal and Bhutan tours and this also helps to keep the tour prices down.

Q What is the standard of accommodation?

A This will vary with each tour but will always be in clean, centrally located hotels with each room having attached bathrooms ( hot & cold water ), TV, WiFi, international phones, room service etc. We continually monitor the standard of all the hotels used.

As a rough guide:

Vietnam and Bali: our most “upmarket” tours: 4 star hotel and resorts.

India, Nepal and Tibet: 3 star standard and usually the best hotel available in each town. The Rajasthan Classic tour hotels have swimming pools.

Bhutan: 3 or 4 star standard and all built in the distinctive Bhutanese style - very comfortable and nice.

The Himalayan High Road to Leh tour does involve 2 nights of camping - however these are permanent tents which have attached toilets & bathrooms.

Q Do you include meals?

A We don't include meals, except for some breakfasts, as the group's food preferences vary considerably and providing a "set menu" means that you do not get a choice. We feel that part of the overseas experience is eating out in the local restaurants…….after all isn't that why you're there??? These restaurants provide inexpensive meals which cater for all tastes - Western, Indian, Nepalese, Tibetan, Chinese, Italian, Greek…it amazes us as to the extent of their menus.

Some operators provide all meals and then add a hefty price onto their tour cost for this - reality is that eating out in these good quality restaurants will only cost around $350 for 18 days, so why would you want to be forced into eating set meals, miss out on the pleasure of eating at local restaurants and then pay extra as well????

The exception to this is Bhutan - the Govt tourist tariff includes all buffet style meals…these are of a very good standard and caters for a wide variety of tastes.

Q What motor bikes do you use?

A We have our own fleet of Royal Enfield Bullets 500cc which we use on our Indian, Nepal and Bhutan tours. These bikes are exclusively used for our tours only. All fuel, maintenance and servicing is included and the bikes are comprehensively insured.

In Vietnam & Bali the Government regulations do not allow us to own motor bikes. However, through our network of Vietnamese friends we have access to privately owned Japanese make bikes of between 400 - 750cc whilst in Bali we have access to Yamaha 150cc and Kawasaki 200cc bikes.

Q What are the support vehicles and how are they used???

A Depending on which tour the support vehicles will either be minibus, bus or 4WD's. They will be driven by experienced local drivers and will carry your luggage, tour leader, local guide, motor bike mechanic, motor bike spares & tool kits plus any non riders or pillions who want a "rest" There will be enough seats for all group members, including the riders, as they will also be used for sightseeing tours. The vehicles will have flags attached for easy identification amongst the traffic.

Q What are the road conditions?

A These will vary greatly depending on which tour. On the Himalayan High Road to Leh tour the roads will vary from sealed to extremely rough. On all the other tours the roads are sealed and generally in good condition. Riding on the open roads is around 70 - 80 km/hr due to “life” living along the roads ( bicycles, people, school kids, animals, carts, farm equipment etc )

Q Can pillions come on a Motor Bike tour?

A Yes. We encourage pillions to come along so they can experience the pleasures of these countries with their partners. Pillions can either ride on the bikes or if so inclined can travel in the support vehicles/buses.

Q Can "Non Motor Bike" people come on a Motor Bike tour?

A Yes. Non riders can come along and travel in the support vehicles/buses.

Q Can I ride ahead of the support vehicles?

A Usually we use 2 vehicles - one to lead and the other to follow. The lead vehicle will get you out of the town/city until you are on the open road and then you will have an opportunity to go ahead at your own pace. However, there are certain riding days that involve many towns/villages, intersections, turn offs etc and you will be asked to remain behind the lead vehicle. The tour leader will let you know when you can safely go off ahead.

Q What distances are covered and how long are the riding days?

A The itineraries will show the distances for each of the riding days. We've found that 250 km is pretty much the limit for a comfortable days ride particularly if you're riding in the Himalayas. Although there is not much vehicle traffic, "life" lives on these roads and there will be people, school kids, animals of all descriptions, bicycles, carts, many villages to pass through…..plus stops for photos, rests and drinks……..plus you're on holiday and there to take it all in and enjoy......so why rush it.

Q Do I need to bring all my own riding gear?

A Yes including a helmet. You’re riding in a developing country where health facilities are nowhere near as good as we are fortunate to have. Therefore we advise you to wear what you feel comfortable in with regards to safety and climate. Information on riding gear, clothing and general tour information will be sent to you prior to the commencement of a tour.

Q Is there an accompanying motor bike mechanic?

A Yes. Local mechanics accompany each tour. Motor bike spares & tool kits are carried in the support vehicles.

Q Do I need a motor bike licence?

A Yes. You will require an International Drivers Licence which has been endorsed for motorcycling. This is easily obtained from your motoring organisation over the counter - show your current motor bike licence, one passport photo and pay the fee. Failure to have a licence will invalidate your travel insurance.

Q How do you design the itineraries?

A We've always designed the itineraries as to how we would want to do it again ourselves. After having spent over 40 years travelling we feel we know exactly what there is to see and how long to spend in each place. It was then simply a matter of tying all these must see places into a cohesive itinerary.

Q What will the weather be like?

A The tour dates are chosen to visit during the best possible weather. In the Himalayas the monsoon season dictates everything and this goes from June to early September. Prior to the monsoon the skies can be a bit hazy due to the build up of dust rising up from the plains of India.....whilst late Sept, Oct & Nov the skies should be crystal clear.

Q Will I be affected by altitude?

A The only tours where you might experience the affects of altitude are on our Tibet and Himalayan High Road to Leh tours. We supply each tour member with Diamox which is used to alleviate the effects of altitude.

The rest of our tours do not ascend high enough for altitude to have any effect.

Q Do I need travel insurance?

A Yes. This is compulsory and we cannot stress enough the importance of having it.

Q Will there be any language problems?

A No. English is widely spoken and all printed matter is in English.

Q What do I take my luggage in?

A Suitcase, backpack, duffle bag - whatever is easiest for you as your luggage will be carried in the support vehicles.

Q Do I need a visa?

A Yes. Information and advice on how to apply will be sent to you. Visa fees are not included in the tour costs.

Q How much spending money should I take?

A We recommend at least $30/person/day to cover your day to day expenses.

Q Are there any mandatory vaccinations required to enter any countries?

A No. We will send you a list of possible vaccinations which you should discuss with your GP, Govt Health Department or commercial travel vaccination clinic.

Q Can I use my mobile phone or contact home easily?

A Yes. It's very easy to stay in contact with the outside world. There is an extensive mobile phone network.

WiFi is available in the hotels.

Q Are there Internet Cafes?

A Yes. In most places we stay there will be internet cafes.