I wanted to take some time before completing this review of Big Bike Tours and our experience with Kay (pronounced “Ky”) and Noah, if for no other reason than it’s taken me some time to process all the experiences we had with these guys and how much they managed to pack into our tour.
First, I should frame this by saying that our group (six guys) have been riding together for quite a few years now and we’ve ridden all around the world: Western Europe, US/Canada, South and Latin America, etc. Until now we’ve always done self-guided tours and primarily visited countries to sight see, use their roads/trails and abuse their traffic laws!
Given that this was our first guided tour, we weren’t quite sure what to expect in terms of riding pace, accommodations, food, BOOZE, etc. In the end, we needn’t have worried, Kay and Noah put together an amazing tour for us. Kay picked us up at the airport, took us to our hotels and got everything lined up for the next day’s start. Once they were comfortable with our riding skills, they were very accommodating on pace and happy to open things up. I should point out that the road conditions in Thailand were very good in most instances. Each day they would break things up with a stop for coffee or various sightseeing activities. While we’re primarily a group of Type A guys, who are only interested in going fast, Kay did an amazing job of exposing us to the Thai culture and helping understand the history and people. For instance, if you get a chance and head up to the Golden Triangle, you’ll get a chance to learn about the Thai history around WWII (an interesting museum/video) an d a very unique chance to visit the Hall of Inspiration, which is dedicated to the history of the area and how the Thai Royal Family helped the local people move away from poppy production and back to a more traditional agricultural way of life. It’s a very fascinating bit of history and really an amazing history of the regional Thai people.
The bikes we rode (Suzuki Versys 650) were perfect for the Thai road system, which Kay and Noah made sure were packed with twists and turns. The bikes were very well maintained and we felt safe the entire ride and they inspected them nightly. We usually ride bigger BMWs on our trips but these bikes had plenty of muscle for the roads and were easy to push through the corners and we were not completely worn out by the end of the day, which was a bonus.
As mentioned the roads were in very good condition. The Thai drivers are pretty courteous and Kay tries to gently educate those who aren’t ;-). There are tons of temples to stop and see as well as other sightseeing activities to help beak things up to help you avoid saddle sores.
Each night Kay/Noah arranged great places to stay, ok maybe a miss on one night but we came away with some great stories! You need to realize that this is Thailand and you’re not staying at the Ritz (I bet they'd do their best to hook it up if you wanted that) but the places they’ve picked are very nice, clean and you never feel like it’s substandard.
The food is absolutely off the hook. These guys will expose you to some amazing food and I can’t think of a single instance where they did not order more than enough food for our group, who really likes to eat and wash it down with a few beers. I really can’t say enough about it but this a riding review not a gastronomic critique.
If you hire these guys it will become apparent very quickly that they are passionate about their jobs, riding (safety fast!), their families, Thai culture and making sure you have a great experience! It seems like we have something go wrong on every adventure trip we take and part of the fun is trying to figure out how to manage those situations and turn them into a positive, also because they tend to make good stories. I can honestly say that not a single thing went wrong on our trip with Big Bike Tours and we still have fantastic stories!! Who'd ever have thought... Kay and Noah clearly thought through all the details and paid a lot of attention to us throughout the entire journey. We got to see and experience things we normally never would have and I think it was well worth it. I’d highly recommend them and ride with them anytime, anywhere.
My favorite Kay quote: “on Zeee Bikes!”, “On Zeee BIKES!!!”
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