Adventure of the Week: Cycle Thailand Coast to Coast - Bangkok to Phuket
When you travel, it is undoubtedly lovely to see the highlights, to see the big-ticket items. However, if you really want to get to know a country or region, meet its people and see their way of life, you need to get out there, to travel through the countryside. Doing this slowly, from the seat of a bike or on your feet, enriches this experience, gives you time to stop at that little roadside stall and chat, to wave at passing schoolkids, to linger in that secluded spot for lunch. Thailand has come under scrutiny in recent years for its over-tourism, simply that its hotspots have become too hot, so why not get a bit off the beaten track and explore a bit more of this exciting, vibrant country on our Cycle Thailand Coast to Coast trip.
Coastal Thailand. Looks alright doesn't it?
In a Nutshell:
Where: We didn't say avoid the big ticket items! This trip starts in Bangkok, giving you some time in the wildly exciting, ever-changing capital of Thailand. It is chaotic, it never sleeps, it is colourful and beautiful, but after seeing the sights, it is time to get out into the countryside. We transfer you down the coast a little (cycling out of Bangkok would be a bit too traumatic for most!) to Hua Hin, where you start your cycling adventure. Taking in days of sleepy, tropical coastline before beginning to cross over the country and seeing what the other coast has to offer before ending up on the island of Phuket.
Distance: All together on this trip you are going to cycle 565km over eight days of cycling. So it averages out about 75km per day, which is just over 40 miles per day. So that daunting figure of 565km is not so bad after all.
Grade: This is a moderately graded cycling trip, so you should have some experience of long-distance cycling before you go, or put in a decent bit of training. The terrain is not too hilly, with coastal cycling making up most of the route, however, some of the days are quite long, so endurance is vital. The navigation is all taken care of with a dedicated app which you can attach to your handlebars, so this side of it, you don't have to focus on at all.
Wat Thammikaram hilltop temple
Why Cycle Here?
Honestly, why not? Thailand is a paradise, but not just in the traditional sense. While it does have beautiful beaches and crystal waters associated with this, the paradise lies in the people and food. To venture out across the country by bike is something unique and something that local people will treat with respect and curiosity. While tourism is rampant in the country, you will be passing through real life in Thailand, meeting people and visiting places that are not set up for mass tourism and this is where the real heart of this beautiful country lies. You can read a million articles on why you should visit Bangkok, it is definitely not to be missed with its Grand Palace, Reclining Buddha, fabulous markets and vibrant nightlife, but after a couple of days of sightseeing, the peace of the rural beckons and there is not a better trip to experience it than this one. The first stop after Bangkok is Hua Hin, and it makes a perfect transition point. Hua Hin is Thailands original beach resort, where residents of Bangkok would visit on their holidays and weekends. It is a cosmopolitan mixture of city and sea with a ton of things to do and see with great markets, parks and beaches to explore.
Hua Hin. Nice spot to relax after visiting Bangkok
Then it is off on your cycling trip proper, powering your bike alongside palm-fringed beaches, past huge karst blocks exploding from the sea, the pace of life drops the further along the road you get and if you see an idyllic spot you want to relax in, just go for it, it is your pace, no groups to keep up with. The next few days are a series of sleepy little coastal towns, full of monkey temples, aquariums and street food that will blow your mind (and your tastebuds if you like your food spicy!) Before you reach the west coast of Thailand on your trip, you will cycle through Khao Sak National Park. This is a spectacular area, covered in the world's oldest evergreen rainforest, it is a place of drama, with limestone cliffs jutting up to the sky and deep valleys. It is filled with a wide array of animal life from leopard and tiger (which you are unlikely to see, so don't worry, one will not knock you off your bike) to one of the 311 species of bird that live here. The rich ecosystem supports such a diversity of flora and fauna that you will be bowled over by its beauty.
I have alluded to it a couple of times, but one of the reasons to go to Thailand is the food. There is nothing quite like it anywhere else on the planet. The hawker's stalls that sell the most exquisite street-food, a fraction of what you would pay back home and for a far fresher, far more vibrant meal. While some people may not like the idea of street food, there are thousands of excellent little restaurants where you can still get excited about amazing Thai food, but I guarantee, at least one night at a street-food market, throwing caution to the wind and trying a myriad of different little things will change your culinary world.
A minute example of the wide array of outstanding food in Thailand
Planning and Preparation
Cycle Thailand Coast to Coast is an easy trip to get to, you just need to book a flight to Bangkok, and there are a thousand websites falling over themselves to sell you flights here. From Phuket, at the end of the trip, you can book a flight back up to Bangkok to meet your international flight. If you have any questions about the route, don't hesitate to contact one of our Destination Specialists, who will be more than happy to help.