Buying Scooters in Cambodia

6 Feb

by Dean:

Team USA & Australia Arrive

It hurts me inside to know that i’m sitting on the greatest ever subject matter for a blog entry, but that i cant share it all with the world for fear of embarrassing some participants…

Rule no : 36 what happens on the ride, stays on the ride.

I will share this though.

Yesterday we went out to buy another 2 motos for Frank and John, a process which was much easier the second time around, then while they waited for a few things to be repaired Dave and i went out to the airport to meet the other guys arriving in the afternoon.

They were all really excited to have arrived in Cambodia, so much so that Paul and Gary doubled on the scooters with Dave and I for the ride back into the city

“i am so excited to be here, i’m literally jumping out of my skin!”

We went to a local market for dinner where they roast whole cows on a spit, drank some beers and got to know each other. The resounding theme from the evening was just how excited everyone was, and how much fun we were going to be having.

The beef on the spit was sensational, as was the Angkor beer that was flowing like the mighty Mekong itself and the night ended in a local bar in the wee hours. We did all make it back to the hotel though, and i breathed a sigh of relief when all the lambs were accounted for this morning.

Today was a repeat of yesterday in heading back to the moto market but this time to buy 5 bikes. The scenes were chaotic as almost every bike in the shop was test ridden by each person, and then the haggling for better deals began.

Sale prices were between $500 and $570, with the most expensive bike being bought by Matt after an hour of haggling, in which the price actually went up instead of down.

“this one how much??”
Wanna scrawls 600 into the dirt floor of the sales room…
“but when i came in here the price was only $550!?” retorts matt
The rest of the gang is trying not to laugh openly
“ok special price…” 580 is scrawled into the floor
“but i don’t understand, how has the price gone up?!”
“this one very good bike”
“yes but before it was only 550!”
“ok ok 570 but not less”
Now we’re all laughing pretty hard.

Rule no 54 : Don’t let Matt do the haggling.

Visa came to meet us towards the end of the process and was once again really helpful. All the bikes had a little something or other that needed fixing, so while that was being done Visa went to the Russian market with me to look for offroad tyres for the bikes.

We found a rear tyre but no fronts, so decided to leave it and just ride on regular scooter tyres.

A couple of hours later we met the rest of the guys who were now at the local repairer doing some preventative maintenance on the bikes, things like wheel bearings, brakes, getting faulty lights to work etc. It was really interesting to see the Cambodian mechanics work, and the biggest bill was still only $50!

At some point this repairer produced some offroad tyres (again only for the rear) but given the riding we have planned, we decided to try fitting them to the front as well, so it was now 7 bikes with full off-road tyres. For scooters they look really hardcore J

This all took quite a long time, so it was pushing 6

The same day after buying, we're now getting the scooters upgraded (new tires, chain, brakes, etc).


Everyone and their new Scooters!!!


Paul and Wanna's English speaking niece/.


Wanna Scooter Shop. She (and everyone else) seems to think we're impressed when they rev the throttle high. Apparently that means "Strong Scooter."


Frank and Dave on their way to the scooter shop. We may stick out a little bit compared to other Khmer riders


by the time we were all back at the hotel. A quick bite to eat and an opportunity for the most recent arrivals to meet Frank and John too. The mood tonight was somewhat sombre, but that’s what you get for drinking Anchor beer until 4am…

Which should bring me back to the point where i began this entry, but unfortunately rule 36 prevents me from sharing it with you all J

You’ll just have to come along in 2013 to find out!

Post Ride Edit:

Wanna ended up going back on the deal we set up and did her best to pay us as little as possible for the scooters.  Most scooters were returned in a condition much better than we bought them too!  She couldn’t even make eye contact with us as she knew exactly how she was taking advantage of us.  Ohh well.  The shop right before hers did a better job honoring some other participants deals.

7 Responses to “Buying Scooters in Cambodia”

  1. Shaz Ayris February 6, 2012 at 5:06 am #

    Keep up the great work guys! I missed the Donkey and the Mule and am so happy to again be reading about your adventures! Have fun and stay safe.

  2. tyrhone February 13, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    Hi Dean,

    Glad to come across your post as me, my girlfriend and a mate are in cambodia now and thinking of doing a similar thing to you guys. Just had a week relaxing on rabbit island off Kep and ready for some adventure.

    We were thinking of buying 50cc scooters (no bike licenses) and trying to drive through a few south east asia countries, not sure about border crossings though.

    Anything to be wary of when prepping and getting scooters?

    Good luck on your journey mate, and hopefully you could impart some real world wisdom upon me… scooter on!

    • admin February 13, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

      I’d go with 100cc Daelims. The 50s are too slow and not much cheaper than buying the Korean Daelim. If you’re in PP, I’ll post up the waypoint for the second hand scooter shop.

      If you don’t have an international license and you get pulled over, the fine is $2.

      Re Prepping: If you have more than 1 bike, then you dont need to do much at all. Maybe bring a tow strap so one can tow the other to the nearest workshop. There are workshops in every village no matter how small.

      • Tyrhone February 14, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

        Hi mate, thanks for the info, we saw a 100cc daelim today in kampot for $660, looks in good nick and they will add back seat and fix a few things for us they said.

        It’s not licensed but they said they would take us to the cop station to get licensed and plates costing about $25, you know anything about that? We don’t have international license (or motorbike license) so not sure if that will work.

        Rode up from kep to bokor and back today on 100cc, beautiful place to explore.

        • admin February 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

          660 is a bit high, especially since it isn’t registered. Registration adds a big chunk of value to the bike. We were looking at perfect condition (perfect, appearance only) Daelims for $350-400 (unregistered). If it isn’t registered, it should be way less than $660. Plus, it is my understanding that it takes a while for it to happen.

          In my experience, you shouldn’t pay more than 550-600$ for a daelim of ANY condition. Also note that the condition is solely based on appearance. We ended up doing $20-50 of work on each bike and rebuilt the motor of each one ($8-10).

          A back seat costs $2-$5.

          Repairing everything is ULTRACHEAP. Our Daelim that was in the best possible condition (better than bought it.. new tires, perfect visual condition, rebuilt motor, and light blue) was resold to the shop we bought it from for $450 at a purchase price of $550.

          The daelim isn’t respected much here in Cambo and it is priced accordingly, even though it is a very strong bike.

          • Tyrhone February 15, 2012 at 7:36 am #

            Hi, decided to hold off till we’re in PP and go to the same scooter shop as you guys, and buy an already registered one. Waypoint would be great thanks.

            Hope your travelling well

  3. admin February 15, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    Just make sure you don’t buy from Wanna. She’s overcharged us and didn’t buy back for the amount promised. The FIRST shop on the right as you walk in is another lady’s shop who was 100% straight up with the 2 guys who didn’t buy from Wanna.

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