Touring Phuket on a mountain bike provides an excellent opportunity to go off the beaten track to more remote locations.
Phuket on a Mountain Bike
Mountain biking in Phuket can be enjoyable if people have realistic expectations. There are no mountains on the islands, but there are plenty of hills. It is possible to find off road routes, and there are biking tour groups on the island offer trips around the local countryside. One of the nicest things about mountain bike riding in Phuket is that there is such a variety of terrain in close proximity. It is possible to be riding hill trails one minute and then get to enjoy the view of the sea from a coastal path the next minute. Even though so much of Phuket has become commercialized and overdeveloped it is still possible to enjoy unspoilt beauty on a mountain bike.
Exploring Phuket on a Mountain Bike
The best mountain biking in Phuket can be found off road and riding through pineapple plantations, trails up the hills, trials through lowland valleys, and dirt roads through small villages. Some of the best routes require cutting through land that is owned by local farmers. These people understandably do not like it if cyclists go on their land without permission. This is why if riders really want to enjoy the best mountain biking on the island they are probably best choosing a tour group.
Some of the best mountain bike trails on the island include:
- The Layan Southern Loop which offers 7 miles of dirt tracks with steep inclines. This is near Layan beach to the north of the island.
- If people are looking for a longer route they can do a 49 mile tour of North Phuket. This takes approximately six hours to complete and involves a loop that begins near to Laguna Phuket.
The Village Resort is on Coconut Island which is just 500 meters off the coast of Phuket. Surrounding the resort is jungle treks which are perfect for mountain bike riding. The resort can supply bikes and tours or they are happy to allow guests to explore by themselves.
Where to Hire Mountain Bikes in Phuket
It is possible to hire mountain bikes in Phuket. The options for this include:
- Amazing Bike Tours are able to hire out bikes to people even if they are not going on one of their tours. They have a large collection of Trek 4,500 mountain bikes.
- Phuket Mountain Bike Hash is affiliated with the Phuket Hash House Harriers. They host regular events and they also rent mountain bikes for their events, and this currently costs 250 THB for the afternoon (as of mid 2012).
- Holiday Bicycles is located on Karon Beach, and they rent bikes for 150 THB per day.
- Many resorts and hotels in Phuket will have mountain bikes that they can rent to their customers.
If people plan to stay on the island long term they might be better off buying their own bike. It is usually possible to pick up a good bike second hand from the classified section of Phuket News. The sports store on the top floor of Central Festival also offers a good selection of new mountain bikes for sale.
Mountain Bike Tours of Phuket
The options for mountain bike tours in Phuket include:
- Amazing Bike Tours offer various half day and full day tours in Phuket and other nearby destinations including Yao Noi Island.
- Bike Tours Thailand offer a number of mountain bike tours of the local countryside – including visits to rural village areas with a Thai guide. They offer half day, full day, and multi-day tours.
- Thai Cycle offers a mountain bike night ride. This is a 2 hour tour that is only really appropriate for experienced riders because it takes a great deal of skill to navigate these dirt tracks and trails when it is dark.
- Gecko Thailand also offers tours on the island and nearby locations such as Koh Yao Noi.
Mountain Bike Riding Near Phuket
There are some good options for mountain bike riding near Phuket including:
- The nearby island of Yao Noi is located in between Phuket and Krabi. There are some nice tracks on this island that are perfect for mountain bike riding – most of the mountain bike tour groups offer trips here.
- Koh Sok National Park is in Surat Thani province and this jungle area offers plenty of mountain bike trails.
- Thai Meung is located in Phang Nga and there are some great opportunities for bike tours here that include traveling through mountainous national park areas and riding beside stunning waterfalls. This area offers the best mountain biking experience near to Phuket.
Staying Safe When Mountain Biking in Phuket
The most important consideration when mountain biking in Phuket is staying safe and this can be achieved by:
- If people plan to be using their mountain bike on public roads they will need to be careful of traffic. A common complaint is that Thai road users do not seem to follow any rules and motorbikes are everywhere.
- It is recommended that people have mirrors on both sides of their handlebars because there is no telling which side problems are going to come from.
- There can be sharp debris left on Thai roads so it is best to choose tires that are as puncture resistant as possible.
- It is important that anyone going out on a bike takes along appropriate fluids. It does not take long in the Thai heat to become dehydrated.
- During the rainy season (May until the end of October) the dirt tracks will get muddy. This can make the trip a bit more challenging and fun, but increased vigilance will be required to avoid accidents.
- The hard packed clay paths on the island can be slippery so extra care is needed.