We completed the 7 day Coast to Coast Mountain biking trip of Southern Thailand with Thai Cycle in Sept 2011. It was just a small group, which meant it was very personalised to our abilities.
The company is run by Dave Williams, who has a bizarre sense of humour and interesting views on life ;-) , but always went out of his way to ensure we had a great time. He was also very helpful in the bookings stage.
In addition, we were accompanied by Run (our local thai cyclist) and Sen (our local thai truck driver). Again these guys were friendly, helpful and never without a cheeky grin.
Basically we started on the west side of the Malay Penninsula of Thailand, perhaps an hour or so north of Phuket (where we were picked up) and cycled across to Gulf of Thailand. The truck has an open style rear with bench seats and is quite comfortable. It also has the job of carrying the bikes on the roof, our bags, the eskies of cold water and fruit, plus the occasional beer!
The total kms we rode was something around 360km. We did some exploring and occasionally found new trails (sometimes by getting lost - but not in any serious way, just a lot of fun). We travelled up and down mountains and hills, through palm farms, rubber farms, single trail, dirt road, a few main roads, through schools and temples, across rickety bridges, through mud / dust/ rain / sun and the highlight - crossing two fairly big rivers by foot.
We ate at amazing road side stalls, met lots of interesting locals (saw only 2 other tourists in the area), found lots of great markets, visited temples, went to a festival, saw elephants working fields, locals hard at work etc
Dave is very interested in the local flora and fauna and could point out a lot of things to us. We saw macaques, snakes, butterflies, orchids etc - all of which he could name.
Each day ended with a hard earned beer and a few salty treats - either the regular chips, or more interestingly a local mix of peanuts, chillis and anchovies.
Each night we stayed in basic hotels. They had airconditioning. They did the job at the end of a long strenous day. Breakfast and dinner were also always varied, so that we could sample loads of different dishes. I felt that we really got to eat the "local dishes" as we went to the same places all the locals did.
The bikes were pretty good and the guys checked them over each day. Any adjustemnts / repairs were quickly managed. Being the slowest of the group, i was often last, but they would never leave me behind or leave me out on the fun. One of my favourite touches were the ice cold washers that Sen would arrive out of the heat with, plus the super sugary energy drinks! Being the only girl, and a bit of a wimp traveller at times, I once never felt unsafe about my surroundings, which was very reassuring.
I would easily say this is one of my favourite holidays, and after this trip we went on to Cambodia and Vietnam, but this was the highlight (plus our kayaing in Khao Sok which i have also posted).
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