Siam Bike Tours Review Bangkok to Phuket

Earlier this month, I joined Siam Bike Tour’s Bangkok to Phuket
bike tour, a ride that follows the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman
Sea on its 800 km coastal route (view route map image). This tour
was a great way to take in some of the diverse scenery Thailand
has to offer, while keeping the legs spinning in the company of
like-minded people.
The night before the first stage of the tour (there are 8 in total with
a rest day in Chumpon) there was a pre-tour briefing in Bangkok,
which provided important information about the tour in terms of
safety, food, the route, Thai culture and general logistics. We were
also given a day bag (for putting belongings into that we wanted to
access during the day while riding) and a jersey. The briefing was
also a good chance to meet our fellow riders: in the group there
were 12 of us, with six countries represented – Australia, Austria,
Germany, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland.
The next morning, we departed for Petchaburi (the starting point
for our ride, so as to avoid the Bangkok traffic) in minivans where
our bikes were assembled before we set off.
The bikes provided by Siam Bike Tours were good quality and well
maintained aluminium road bikes – Giant and Canyon brands. A
couple of riders had also chosen to bring their own bikes. During
the tour registration process I’d completed several weeks earlier,
Siam had asked for my riding measurements and pedal preference
so they could provide the most suitable set up. Our tour leader and
driver were competent bike mechanics and had tools on board the
tour bus in the event of any problems along the way.
The official distance of the overall tour route was 810 km / 503
miles, cycled in 8 stages (from 70 to 140 km / 43 to 88 miles ) over
9 days (after the 4th stage there’s a rest day in the laid-back town
of Chumpon). The terrain was very flat which made for easy
pedaling.
During the tour there was the opportunity to see impressive and
iconic Thailand views along the coastline: including rice
plantations, temples, limestone mountains, and small villages – to
name just some of the scenery. It was very useful to have one of
the Siam Bike Tours support staff in the tour bus taking photos of
the surrounds and our group as we cycled, so we could focus on
just taking in the experience with the knowledge that we’d have a
CD of photos provided at the end of the ride to look back on.
Some of the highlights for me personally included the quiet
beachfront roads in and out of small coastal towns, and some
spectacular temples on top of mountains. As some of these
temples were within close proximity to where our tour stopped for
the day (for example, in Prachuap Khiri Khan and Haad Baan Krut)
this provided a good opportunity for an afternoon excursion for
those who were happy to exert some extra energy. Others in the
group elected to relax with a massage or swim at the hotel.
Cycling past one of the many mountain-top temples
In addition, the other cyclists in my tour group were good
companions, who had interesting stories to tell both as we cycled
along, and during meal times. On the subject of food, dining at the
local eateries already tried and trusted many times by our tour
leader was also enjoyable.
As we rode, the group determined the speed and faster riders
sometimes went ahead together, waiting at designated
refreshment stops where water, soft drinks and fresh fruit were
provided.
When we did stop (every 30 kilometres or so), everything seemed
to happen with a minimum of fuss (for example snacks, drinks,
minor repairs etc). The organisation and experience of the tour
company was evident in things running smoothly. For example,
sometimes the tour bus would drive ahead (for example, to preorder
the group’s lunch), or behind (such as in the event of a
cyclist was having a mechanical problem).
Although rarely required, the tour bus (which was transporting the
luggage, spare parts and tools etc) was also available for cyclists
who wanted to take this form of assistance at any time.
When we reached our destination for the day, the hotel
accommodation was also comfortable and clean, and was a good
place to relax and get a good night’s sleep after a day on the bike.
Beachfront cycling with Martin Brot leading the way
Our tour guide and founder of Siam Bike Tours, Martin Brot, was a
very competent tour leader and good cycling companion – having
a real passion for cycling with a great deal of road and mountain
bike racing experience. A Swiss national, Martin has travelled in
Thailand for the past 20 years, and has been living in the country
for the past 10, so had a good understanding of Thai culture. He
was knowledgeable about the countryside in which we were riding
through, and expressed himself quite well in Thai.
In summary, I’d recommend this tour to any enthusiastic cyclist
who is reasonably fit and wants to experience Thailand’s scenic
coastal region in an organised and comfortable fashion. The
company also offers a variety of other tours – which might be of
interest if you, for example, would like to cycle in the mountains of
northern Thailand, or explore along the Mekong River in the north
east, to name just a couple of the other options.
Siam Bike Tours Phone: 0066 (0)89 – 7307 441 – Martin, 0066
(0)76 – 324 211 – Shop Web: www.siambiketours.com Email:
mail@siambiketours.com!

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