South Of Thailand: It’s no secret that Southeast Asia and two-wheeled vehicles are an alliance made in heaven. But few people know that the southern regions of Thailand are the best cycling destinations in the entire region . Of course, they have worthy competitors: for example, the picturesque hills of Bali or the famous ancient temples of the land of Myanmar . But those who dream of a leisurely, full of pleasure and not overshadowed by unnecessary difficulties cycling tour in Asia , cannot find a better place than the Thai south. And that’s why.
1. Incredible beaches
When it comes to Thailand, it’s simply impossible not to mention the beaches : they are perfect here, with soft golden sand, warm sea and postcard decorations. After pedaling for several hours in a row, throwing off your sweaty bike uniform and diving into refreshing water, scaring away flocks of colorful tropical fish, is an incomparable pleasure.
Those who complain about the too warm sea off the coast of Tay have never cycled along Australia’s Great Ocean Road at dawn in June.
A great place to stop is the beaches of Khao Lak : well-groomed, quiet, pristinely beautiful. You should definitely rent a boat and go on a mini cruise on the Andaman Sea. There are countless treasures: the Similan Islands are in the top 10 most beautiful in the world, one of the Bond series was filmed in the Phang-Nga National Park , and the Ko-Panye floating village was built by sea gypsies right on stilts.
2. Cultural diversity
Southern Thailand has more Muslim residents than any other part of the country: for uninformed travelers, this is a surprise and a bonus. If you come, say, from Chiang Mai , the contrast will be especially striking: the numerous Buddhist temples and monasteries will be replaced by traditional oriental markets and monuments of Islamic architecture. And here is a completely different cuisine: chicken fried with rice and turmeric “kao-mok-gai”, “massaman curry” with beef and potatoes instantly recuperate after long cycling trips.
Even typical northern dishes in the south are prepared in a special way: the best “som-tam” – a salad of green papaya – is built by nimble teenagers at the night market in Krabi .
3. Boring landscape
When the cyclist has already resigned himself to falling into the sweet captivity of turquoise water, golden sand and karst islands, the Khao-Sok National Park suddenly appears before his eyes. This is the revived “The Jungle Book”: luscious greenery of impassable thickets, reflections of the sun on the river surface, cries of monkeys, birdsong – every sound and every color seems to be stretched to the maximum.
The journey to the Thai south most often begins in Bangkok , and it also opens up to cyclists from an unexpected side: most of the paths wind along shady alleys and canals, protected from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis.
4. Flawless roads
Bike tour organizers in the south of Thailand claim that the main complaint of experienced travelers is that the roads are too good. No extreme, no potholes and dizzying turns – thrill-seekers can really get bored. But connoisseurs of comfort will definitely be satisfied: an impeccable surface, smooth turns, soft ups and downs will save both strength and nerves.
It is impossible and unnecessary to constantly move on two wheels. To feel the rhythm of the real, non-touristy Thailand, it is worth taking a ride on any of the night trains running around the country. Beginners are often afraid of such exoticism, but, having taken the risk at least once, you realize how interesting and fun it is: to be among the locals and other travelers, rush through the night to unknown horizons, listen, tell and observe.
Such a deep immersion in the authentic atmosphere of Thailand will not happen in a bar, a hostel or a market – so go ahead, on the Bangkok – Surat Thani train.
6. Coconuts. Lots of coconuts!
Thirst is the constant companion of the cyclist in Asia, but it is better to forget about vitamin water and sports drinks with artificial colors. Why are they, if there are coconuts everywhere – a proven, natural source of life-giving moisture, moderately exotic and very photogenic. Of course, you should always have a bottle of clean water on hand: the risk of dehydration in the heat is extremely high. To keep your health in order, you need to drink plenty of morning and evening, use sunscreen, wear a hat, avoid long swimming in the sea and have electrolytes in the first-aid kit just for every fireman.