As you may know from other stories I have out there on this site, I have been riding motorbikes of all sizes for about 40 years. I can't wait to share a motorbike tour from Phuket to Pattaya with my friend and family.
So, to start with...
In the beginning, I just needed to get around riding motorbikes. And my iron horse was the best way to do that at a low cost with a bit of fun. I used it to go to work, to the store, visit friends, and maybe for some nights out every now & then.
Over the years, I have had some unbelievable adventures on my two-wheelers. I discovered all sorts of things in places that I would not have been in touch with so closely otherwise. I realized that I was connected to the world around me so much better traveling this way.
So, coming all the way to Thailand later in life, I still had my love for motorbikes. I found myself in motorbike heaven. These things are a way of life here and not just a way to get around. An adventure is still very much a part of this kind of lifestyle.
In 2010, my friend Martin from Germany came to visit me. It was like a throwback to this original feeling. We have been longtime friends way back since high school.
At the time he arrived in Thailand, he had just gotten his Motorcycle driver’s license in Germany. As you also may know, I live in the Pattaya Bay Area. So, when he got here and he saw the two-wheel life which is so big here, it didn’t take long before the idea came up to hit the road!
One night, after a few beers, we decided to have a motorbike tour from Phuket to Pattaya. It means that I would drive with my Pickup and 2 Scooters to Phuket and that we would ride the bikes back to Pattaya. The plan was to ape hang 300-400 km a day, mostly in the morning and late afternoon. Then in-between, we do some sightseeing and relax a bit along the way.
But you would not believe what a storm of criticism we took from everybody we knew when we told them all about our planned motorbike tour from Phuket to Pattaya!
They said we were crazy and that we were in the midst of a midlife crisis; that we had some sort of youthful fantasy about what it was like to do this; and that we have no contact with reality.
All of our friends said that we can’t go all that way on a small scooter. But we were determined to fly in the face of all that… we were going to do it anyway no matter what anybody said!
When all was ready, we set out for a 3-day car trip on the hectic and sometimes dangerous roads of Thailand luckily we didn't bite the asphalt. We arrived at Patong Beach on Phuket island, where we met up with my family and stayed for two nights of food, fun, and seaside life…Thai-style!
Then one morning, after a seriously big Farang breakfast (Farang is what Thais call white western foreigners), we hopped on the bikes and rode up the big hill rising out of Phuket to the north. We followed the road to the bridge over the small bit of sea that makes this resort world an island off the rest of Thailand...
The first stop was on a beach close to the road for some selfies.
After the bridge, we had planned to take the left-hand fork in the road and drive north to Rayong. But we missed the turn and found ourselves in Phan-Nga. Meanwhile, my wife and kids riding along a bit behind us in the pickup truck took the fork to the right instead…
So, we ended up crossing over to Khao Lak and had our first unplanned ADV. The two of us found ourselves in the middle of a procession of some kind of Buddhist vegetarian festival. It was really not easy to get through the wall of people with motorbikes!
But eventually, we managed to reach the right road. We went on in the general direction of Khura Buri, passing the night in a nice bungalow at Bun Piya Resort.
However, as anyone that is married can imagine, our little misdirection was not so easily explained to my wife!
After the initial worry over what happened to us came the suspicion of how “convenient” it was that we ended up going off on our own. Thank goodness for cell phones! I was able to communicate with her about what happened right away, and the situation calmed down quickly.
Most Thai girls are notoriously protective of their husbands and our veering off the road required a good 10 minutes of discussion to make sure it was understood that this was an innocent mistake, and not a planned deviation.
So, with the grace of “all’s well that ends well”, we met up early the next day. We all drove north together for a visit to the beautiful hot springs in Rayong. Looking back on everything, it was all very nice and pretty funny.
After Rayong, the road went up into the mountains, a route with an uncountable number of curves.
Our joyride became a challenge, the kind every two-wheel rider dreams of. It was like the famous “Dragon” - the road in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina USA - twists and turns that demand tremendous riding skills, all the while surrounded by unbelievably beautiful scenery.
This is very difficult to enjoy if you are a rider. It's because of the concentration on the road that’s required, but later the flashes of the views in your memory are unforgettable luckily we didn't get off.
As we passed through this area, we came upon some waterfalls and once again stopped for pictures. We visited the Kra Isthmus (the smallest land area between the Indian and the Pacific Ocean). We met up with some Burmese fishermen along the river that runs through it here.
Continuing in a generally northward direction, we were now leaving the Andaman Sea coast. We crossed over the great dividing ridge to the East Side of Thailand.
In the evening, we reached Chumphon on the Gulf of Thailand side of the Malay peninsula. And by then we were hungry, really hungry!
By pure chance, we found a classic Asian duck shop. The kind you can find anywhere from Taiwan to Myanmar, and everywhere in between.
In Thailand, these places have the Ducks hanging behind a small glass partition. When you order a portion, they cut a few slices and put it on a bowl of rice. However, we made a deal with the owner to get the entire duck… and it took him nearly 15 minutes to calculate the price! He needed to do the home economics calculation of basically guessing how many slices he had to make for how many portions. Long story short, we got the duck by paying a few extra dollars. We ate up all the meat with just a little bit of rice.
The “Ambiance” was a StreetSide plastic table with plastic chairs from Big-C under neon lights with “Do-Do-Doo-Ther-Tum” playing somewhere off in the distance from somebody’s radio along the road. Probably everybody who was in Thailand about this time will remember this song - it sticks in your head for weeks.
A few tall Chang beers and the meal was complete! It was an absolutely classic Thai village Street-food experience! One that cannot be duplicated anywhere else for flavor and down-to-earth charm.
The next morning, highly motivated after last night’s dinner and after what happened so far with our planned tour from Phuket to Pattaya, we got back out on the road on the way to Cha-Am/Hua Hin. Once again, about halfway there, we found a gorgeous Waterfall. We hung out there for a while before we hit the road again.
Eventually, we got where we were going. After 3 days on the road, we realized we weren’t really in a hurry to get anywhere… As a great travel writer once said - traveling is all about the journey, the destination is just where you happen to end up.
This was especially true because when we finally got to Hua Hin, we didn’t find a room anywhere. And after we decided to continue on to Cha-Am, we got pounded by heavy rain!
So after getting completely soaked, we found a little motel on the highway and absolutely crashed out sleeping.
The place was kind of disappointing in the sense that it wasn’t the wonderful spot we all might have imagined for such a famously luxurious part of Thailand. It was small, dingy, and anybody would say it was dirty - but at least it was dry… and in not too long, we all dried out and felt really good and very thankful for the shelter.
The next day we left early without even doing the formality of checking out. We already had paid, so it was bye-bye to this place without ever looking back. We found a Farang breakfast place on the highway, and by lunchtime, we arrived in Bangkok.
Unfortunately, and after all this time on the road, it was here we got stopped by the cops. Even worse, the guy that stopped us was right in doing it. We crossed the dividing lines against the rules! We drew some heat, and we had to pay the fine.
After getting our heads back together from that, we wound our way through the city. We crossed the Chao Phraya river at the familiar Phra Pradaeng Pier and followed Sukhumvit road south the rest of the way to home sweet home.
But before getting to the safety and sanctuary of our home, one last thing happened that “stuck” in my memory of this trip...
Shortly after Chonburi, I hit a piece of metal. I still have no idea what it was and it cut into the high side. The tire blew out and went flat immediately!
But like with everything else good, bad, or ugly on this trip, we had a bit of luck… only 400 meters away there was a tire repair shop for trucks. I was able to push the bike there with no problem.
The guys at the shop were really great as they fixed the hole in the tire, gave me a new inner tube, and got me right back on my way.
So, after 30 minutes and 80 Baht, we were back on the road… We reached Pattaya in the evening just in time for some Khao Pat Moo (rice plates with pork) and a few Chang beers.
To top it all off, somewhere in the background we heard somebody singing Do-Do-Doo-Ther-Tum… our new anthem.
As the saying goes, “A good friend listens to your adventures. A best friend makes them with you.”
1300 km. 4 nights and 5 days, on two 125cc mopeds all the way…
A Motorbike Tour from Phuket to Pattaya, and WE MADE IT!
So, until next time... Rumble on!
Hi, I'm Big Bear. I love to hit the road with the motorbike for the long haul. Join my adventure in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
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