Touring Phuket on a Bike
Some people view a holiday in Phuket as a chance to relax and do as little as possible. Other holidaymakers prefer to relax by being active. Bike tours in Phuket are more likely to appeal to this later group of individuals. There are plenty of opportunities for cyclists who are visiting the island to hit the roads. In fact there are an increasing number of people who visit the island on bicycling tours.
Reasons to Go Bicycling in Phuket
Bicycling around Phuket is highly recommended because:
- Travelling around on a bike offers a unique perspective of the island that would otherwise be missed.
- Some people want to pick up a tan during their trip, but they are too antsy to sunbathe. If they spend time cycling around Phuket they are sure to pick up a nice color.
- Cycling is a hugely rewarding fitness activity. It will help people stay healthy during their trip to Thailand.
- A bike can be a handy way to travel around the island – especially for short trips.
- It is arguably much safer to travel by bicycle than it is by motorbike or car.
- There are many bike tours and these are a wonderful day out and offer a unique experience that visitors are unlikely to forget.
- Cyclists usually find it easier to maneuver through traffic without getting caught up in a traffic jam.
Renting Bicycles in Phuket
There are many options for people who wish to rend bicycles in Phuket. Most guest houses offer this facility, and there are also shops where people can rent a bike. Those who do decide to rent need to be careful and consider the following:
- It is vital that people fully check the bike before they rent. Some of these bicycles can be in bad repair or may have recently been involved in an accident.
- Make sure that it is possible to adjust the bike to an appropriate fit before agreeing to the rental.
- If there is any damage to the bicycle it is important to make sure that this is noted in the rental agreement. If such damage is not noted beforehand the owner may try to charge extra for repairs.
- It is not recommended that people hand over their passport when renting a bicycle. This gives the owner of the bike too much power.
- Always test the bike before signing the rental agreement.
- Ask for safety equipment including headgear that offers adequate protection.
- It is possible to buy a bike for as little as 1,000 THB in one of the Thai department stores such as Big C. These are not going to be professional sports bikes but they can be adequate for a bit of leisure cycling, and it does away with the need to rent if people intend to stay on the island long term.
Where to Go Bicycling in Phuket
It is not necessary to join a tour in order to enjoy bicycling in Phuket. The whole island is waiting to be explored and almost everywhere can be reached by bike. The roads on the island are generally good enough for cycling but people will need to take care. A good idea is to get out a map of the island and just plan a ride for the day. It is best to get advice from a local who will be able to suggest the most appropriate routes. The best time for cycling is early in the morning and in the late afternoon.
Staying Safe when Bicycling in Phuket
The roads on Phuket can be dangerous. There is a great deal of traffic and there are too many inexperienced foreigners riding motorbikes – to make matters worse many of these individuals will feel invincible and so take more risks. In order to stay safe while bicycling in Phuket it is recommended that people:
- There are some tough hills on the island, and these will be a huge challenge for the inexperienced cyclist.
- Do not expect other road users to obey the rules. It is common for people to drive on the wrong side of the road and overtake on both sides.
- Riders should be cautious of the sun and be aware that it is possible to get badly burnt even on a cloudy day. It is vital that people wear an appropriate sun block cream.
- It can be nice riding in the rainy season (mid April until October) because the rain cools things down. It can also be dangerous if there is flooding.
- Riding a bicycle at Songkran (Thai New Year) is not for the faint hearted. Cyclists should expect to be repeatedly hit with cold water and have powder rubbed in their face – it can also be fun.
- Some roads in Phuket have many potholes and so cyclists will need to be careful about these.
- There are many dangerous motorcyclists and drivers on the Phuket roads. Cyclists need to be always ready for the unexpected to happen.
- It is important that people bring along water with them when out on the bike because they can quickly become dehydrated.
- It is a good idea to take along a mobile phone in case of emergencies.
- It is highly recommended that cyclists wear safety equipment – including a well made helmet.
- Cycling at night can be particularly dangers unless precautions are taken to increase visibility.
- Areas such as Patong and Phuket tend to be choked with traffic for most of the day. It is best to avoid these places if people want a relaxing ride.
- When stopped by a Thai traffic police officer it is always best to be polite, answer all questions, and smile a lot.