Extended our stay in Phuket for 2 nights after our LOB at Similan without making any plans as no one was that keen on snorkeling or island hopping and we had expected to be able to find sufficient entertainment there.
Took a really slow ride (40km/h) to Karon Beach the first day there, Pam had to keep reminding KS to slow down to wait for me. Well.. better safe than sorry, the last time I rode was years ago plus the terrain was very much different from the flat roads in Singapore. =P
That night, Long and I made a successful ‘trial’ trip to and fro Patong beach from our hotel much to Tam’s surprise given that we were both horrible at directions and she had a hard time explaining the route to us.
Woke up at 6am the next day (I can’t believe I agreed to that) to start our ride as we were planning to return our bikes by 10am.
Loved our morning ride up north from Patong Beach, weather was great, traffic was sparse and the view was amazing.
Armed with a map some what like this which we got from the airport.
The morning rays along the way. It rhymes! =P
At some town further up Patong Beach enroute to FantaSea.
The view as we rode uphill.
Our goal was to reach FantaSea and we did! Way faster than expected.
Stopped by some random stalls to get breakfast. Awesome banana fried fritters with Thai milk tea. Coffee wasn’t available.
Love the roads in Phuket with lotsa ups, downs and turns. With minimal traffic lights except in towns.
One of the beaches we passed on our way back where we stopped for coffee by the roadside and to pick a couple of seashells, not a very pretty one actually.
Made it back to our guesthouse before 10am but was reluctant to spend the day at Jungcylon yet again. And so, we abandoned our friends and left to ride the for the rest of the day before our flight that night.
This time, we decided to ride up to Karon Beach for this awesome thai ice coffee we had the day before. Rode along the beach, till we reached the end at Katanoi Club, passing loads of signs on actions to be taken if a tsunami occurs.
Parked our bikes randomly in between vehicles as there weren’t any designated parking.
The beautiful beach at Katanoi. Way prettier than Patong. Kinda cool how the same sea looks so different along the same stretch.
Hung out on the beach chairs for 20 mins before some guy came to inform us that we had to pay 200baht for the use of the chairs, so we left.
It was still early at the point so we decided to deviate from the road along the beach to explore the place a little, saw road signs leading to Wat Chalong so we decided to head there.
Parking as the locals do.
Saw the Great Buddha, some what like the one in Hong Kong, from the second floor of the temple and decided that was gonna be our next destination despite the lack of road signs to the place.
After circling round a few times and on the verge of giving up with excuses to ourselves like perhaps its only for the locals, its not open to public yet, we saw a handwritten sign in red 6 lanes across from where we were leading through a deserted road uphill.
The tough part, was really cutting across 6 lanes to reach the winding road uphill to the Great Buddha. From there, getting to the Great Buddha was pretty straightforward.
The road leading up to the Big Buddha is off Chao Fa Road East near Chalong. There are many red-and-white signs indicating where it is. Turn down Soi Yodsane and simply follow the indications for the next six kilometres up the hill. You can’t miss it.
I didn’t realize, till today, that it was a 6km ride up. That, and riding since 6am kinda justifies how tired I got from riding =P
On our way up.
Prayer bells attached to a tree.
Phra Puttamingongkol Akenakkiri Buddha, from the top, still under construction then.
Stopped by this Santorini like cafe on our way down for lunch and more coffee, to stay awake for the ride back.
It was a nightmare once we reached the bottom and on to the main road, traffic was at its peak with huge vehicles on the road, construction being done on a very narrow road, being honked at constantly and getting into a very minor accident at a crossroad. It took every ounce of effort to keep riding till we reached our guesthouse.
That aside, that day’s ride, 9 hours straight, ended the trip on an awesome note, making it one of the best trips I had ever.
Best decision ever, to abandon our friends and to explore Phuket on our bikes. It took us half a day to cover almost half of Phuket, pity we didn’t start our road trip the day before, would love to visit Chalong Bay.
And so, I’m finally blogging about it after a year.