Public transport in Phuket is next to non-existent, the taxis remains absurdly expensive, the traffic, at times, hellish. Sure, you can swim around the island to get from one end to the other, but there is a better way. Yes, you guessed right – on a bicycle.
Phuket is home to many kilometres of well-maintained roads, meandering in-between hills, lush green jungle and sparkly lakes. The landscapes are simply stunning. And despite the notion of stereotypical dangerous Thai roads, you can stay safe on a bike in Phuket. Here is how.
There is lots of talk (and rightly so) about the need of wearing helmets when riding motorbikes in Phuket. This is no less true in case of bicycles. Falling head-down from a bicycle can be as painful and dangerous as from a motorcycle so, just to be safe, wear a helmet. If you treat your cycling as a fitness activity and not just means of getting from location A to location B, think of getting a proper cycling outfit, made of breathing fabrics, especially handy in the island’s steamy-hot climate.
Although the Thai drivers here are very patient and friendly towards cyclists, always ensure you make your intentions on the road very clear, whether it be stopping, turning or changing lanes and be very predictable in your actions.
~ Ben Hammond. Triathlon Coach
Phuket’s roads are steep and curvy and the last thing you want on a steep curvy road are breaks that don’t work or handlebar that is loose. Proper maintenance is crucial in Phuket’s cycling circumstances. Luckily, you can get the basic gear in just about any supermarket and bicycle repair shops are never too far away. And in the unfortunate event of a flat tire, just swing by any motorcycle shop, usually marked by a pile of bike tires in front. They will take care of your problem in minutes.
When cycling, you can skip mascara, lipstick and others (you are most welcome to keep them on though) but one cosmetic is a must on a sun-bathed island. Sunscreen is Phuket’s cyclist best companion and greasing your face and other body parts prone to sunburn should be as natural as greasing you bicycle’s chain.
…early. Early mornings are the best and safest time to cycle around Phuket. For two main reasons: One – the traffic right after sunrise is still relatively slow, making it more safe and fun for you and your bike. Two: The sun is yet to go high in the sky and begin burning everything to ashes. In the morning the air is cool, the light soft, the traffic light and the bike rides at their best. It might get cool after sunset too, but cycling in Phuket after dark isn’t the best of ideas.