You want to RIDE that bike before you Buy it? Thailand’s Wacky Buy before you Try Businesses!

A year ago I looked at a car in Ubon.

A simple car, Honda Prelude like I had back in the states at one point. It was a few years old, maybe 6.

I was thinking that in the states that car, in good shape, like this one appeared to be as it sat motion-less at the dealer, would go for about 10,000 USD.

I was just looking, and had no intention of buying anything but it caught my eye since I love Hondas and I haven’t seen many Preludes in Thailand, and
I’d seen NONE in Ubon (Isaan).

I was with a Thai friend who was doing the translation for me since it was easier. My friend told me they wanted 450,000 for it. I thought – hmm, ok,
not bad. I sat inside, started it up. It sounded good. It sounded great. Everything worked. Power windows, mirrors, sunroof, antenna – everything
worked well. Interior was nice, not worn. Radio had been upgraded and the speakers sounded great.

If I was in the market for a car – I’d be considering it (so far).

We then asked to drive it. My friend said that they said no that we could not. I said, no, ask them again because he must not have understood.

He asked again and we got the same answer. We asked again. Same answer.

I didn’t get it.

Then I thought, oh well, maybe they drive it FOR me and I just sit inside and ensure that it works well.

No, we can’t drive it or drive in it.

I told my friend to tell the guy that nobody would buy a car like that. But, since then, I’ve found that Thai people DO buy a car like that!

Since then I’ve been to a Honda and Suzuki and Yamaha shop to buy motorbikes. They ALL refused to let me drive one before buying it! I was dumbfounded each time!

I went to look at a mountain bike the other day. This bike retails for 11,500 baht. This is about $300 USD. When I asked to ride it – he must have misunderstood because he said, “yes, you can”. When I took the bike into the parking lot and began riding it – the sales guy was talking to me the whole time – telling me that I cannot ride it.

I said, “WHAT? I cannot ride this bike around the parking lot before I buy it?” (I spoke in Thai)

He said, no – it will get dirty tires and then nobody will want to buy it!

HAHAHHA! I had to laugh. I could not believe what he said. Is this place for real?

Apparently it is. Either they don’t let farangs ride their motorsais, bikes, or cars, before we buy them, or this is the policy for all people. I’m guessing it’s for all of us.

I’ve asked my girlfriend and she said usually buyers can’t drive things first before buying.

It’s just one of the wacky Thai business practices that makes me shake my head and wonder how anything gets done in business here. The Thais’
have a very weird idea of running businesses. I’m amazed at how inefficiently it all goes.

I’ve written other places about how I walk into a store and find that if I buy a larger package of coffee I might actually pay MORE than I would for 2 smaller sized coffee packages! YES, I’m not joking! Their sense of business is seriously
different from the USA.

I expect things aren’t going to get better anytime soon!

Link to another article I’ve written about Thai business practices >

So buy your bike BEFORE you ride it, and don’t think about returning it because there is generally a NO RETURNS POLICY for anything in Thailand!

NO! I’m not joking…

So here I sit – carless and bikeless. I had to buy a motorbike without riding it first, so I bought a new one, thinking that it must be OK. Buying 2nd hand
is maybe not such a good idea here…

Moving to Thailand anytime soon?

Living in Thailand – What is it like to live in Thailand? Could you do it? Follow one man’s journey.

Moving to Thailand – What is involved in moving across the globe to live in Thailand? What is it like? All your questions answered.

The Ultimate Guide to Teaching in Thailand – There have been a couple attempts at books that cover this subject. We have reviewed them and found them seriously lacking. Here is a very complete book on the subject.

Author: Vern

I'm an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at There are many photographs of Thailand here - feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page). All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.

One thought on “You want to RIDE that bike before you Buy it? Thailand’s Wacky Buy before you Try Businesses!”

  1. Hi Vern,
    Wow,I wonder how a used bike lot were you could try before you buy would succeed in Thailand?

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