Take two wheels across Thailand’s south, a place of ancient jungle, imposing mountains, seductive coasts and incredible marine life.
The road is laid out before you on this cycling adventure through Southern Thailand. Beginning in Bangkok with an overnight train, the route sweeps south past emerald waters where tiny islands of exquisite pale rock break the surface. Pedal along undulating roads to unforgettable Khao Sok National Park, walk along dirt trails in search of wildlife, and freewheel down the Andaman Coast to relax on its powdered coastline. Ride inland to Phang Nga Bay and finish up in the classic beachside town of Ao Nang. This active nine-day journey gives a unique look at this fascinating part of the country.
Day 1: Bangkok
Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand. Thailand’s bustling capital is famous for its tuk tuks, khlong boats and street vendors serving up delicious Thai food.
Day 2: Bangkok/Surat Thani
Take to the streets of Bangkok by bike and explore the backstreets, alleyways and canals on a guided tour. Get away from the tourist areas and into the heart and soul of this lively city, and travelling around by bike allows you to move through the city quite easily and at a relaxed pace. After your ride there will be ample time to get cleaned up and shop for any last-minute supplies or souvenirs before boarding an overnight train southbound for Surat Thani.
Day 3: Khao Sok National Park
Arrive in Surat Thani this morning. The real scenic highlight of this area will soon come into view – stunning limestone karsts. Heading west, cycle through a sea of greenery towards the Ratchaprapha Dam. After lunch on the shores of the dam, we travel by vehicle to Khao Sok National Park, and fall asleep to a chorus of crickets and cicadas as a lullaby. (B)
Day 4: Khao Sok National Park
Established as Thailand’s 22nd national park in 1980, Khao Sok is home to the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, deep valleys, the beautiful Cheow Larn Lake, numerous caves, and a significant wild animal population. Here you’ll have free time to walk along the dirt trails that snake through the quiet park, looking out for wildlife as you head for rivers and waterfalls where you might enjoy a cooling dip. Spend the night amid the ancient gnarled rainforest trees in a riverside bungalow. (B)
Day 5: Khao Lak
Begin the day in the support vehicle, leaving the verdant forests and hills behind with a drive west from Khao Sok to the nearby town of Takua Pa. Then jump back on the bike again to begin the day of cycling, travelling across relatively flat terrain through the interior. Pass numerous flowing rivers, palm-fringed roads and smiling local children, then make your way down to the Andaman Coast. Here you’ll run parallel to the sublime Andaman Sea before arriving at your home for the next two nights – the laid-back beach town of Khao Lak. Famous for the likes of Memories Beach, Bang Niang Beach and the aptly-named White Sand Beach, Khao Lak is one Thailand’s quieter beach destinations and a great place to unwind after a long but enjoyable day in the saddle. (B)
Day 6: Khao Lak
Today is a free day to enjoy the beautiful surrounds of the Andaman Coast. There are numerous beaches to chill out on, waterfalls (like Ton Chong Fa) to swim in, fishing trips to take, and if you’re feeling active, bike routes to cycle or underwater worlds to explore by scuba or snorkel. There is as much, or as little, to do here as you like. (B)
Day 7: Phang-Nga
Leave the coast and head inland today, cycling eastwards through rolling hills past forests orchards, and rubber plantations to Phang Nga. Known for its relaxed atmosphere, cheap and authentic food, and some spectacular sights, Phang Nga is the perfect place to taste Southern Thailand. After a relaxing lunch you’ll take a boat tour of the Phang-Nga Bay, where limestone rocks famously erupt out of the water, creating what is, for many, the iconic image of Thailand. You’ll stop by the famous James Bond Island, immortalised in the movie ‘The Man With the Golden Gun’, and Koh Panyee, an extraordinary Muslim fishing village built over water on stilts, with its own mosque and even a floating football pitch. (B)
Day 8: Krabi/Ao Nang
The final day on the bike begins with a transfer in the support vehicle. Then it’s on to your two-wheeled friend for a ride through beautiful inland landscapes and down the coast to the classic Thai beachside town of Ao Nang. After so much time spent moving at a slow pace, Ao Nang comes as a welcome change, with its lively atmosphere, shops that light up the sidewalk, and an enormous selection of food and drink on every corner. While the front beach here is good, the spectacular nearby shores of Tonsai, Railay, Ko Hong, Ko Poda and Ko Gai are true highlights and easily reachable as a day trip. Further afield there’s easy boat access to the islands of Ko Phi Phi and Phuket. If you’ve had enough of the beach, perhaps go rock climbing. Meet up again in the evening to say goodbye to your biking crew, then perhaps enjoy a final night dinner with the group. (B)
Day 9: Krabi/Ao Nang
Your cycling adventure comes to an end today. There are no activities planned and you are free to leave at any time.
TIN-TTXB Cycle Southern Thailand
Images courtesy of InterpidGroup