Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Beloved Motorbike in Phuket

Date: Nov 2010
Location: Phuket, Thailand

Phuket is definitely one of our favorite places to visit.  Amazing scenery and beaches, amazing food and just all-around interesting.  However, one of the first things we discovered there was that 1) the island is HUGEr than we though and 2) their taxis are EXPENSIVE.  After taking a bunch of expensive rides we decided to try something else.

I rented a motorcycle.. or to be more accurate--a puny scooter for 300 baht per day. Carissa was terrified at the prospect of riding with me all the way from the Mangosteen Resort in Rawai to Phuket town (see the route here) because the scooter looked so a stray gust of wind could blow us into oncoming traffic or if a falling leaf landed on the bike it might explode.  However, we both wanted to explore Phuket instead of staying at the resort all day like a bunch of noobs so in the end Carissa agreed and we started on our adventure...  I revved the the engine, forgot how to use the breaks and then the motorbike slid into a ditch as we jumped off of it at the last second.  After that rocky start however, things started to go much more smoothly.

The main objective was to find Mango Sticky Rice, which I thought would be abundantly available in Phuket, yet I was still unable to find a single stall or restaurant serving it around our hotel.  After we went snorkeling/island hopping, the excursion company was supposed to drop us back off at the hotel but didn't have a shuttle to take us back and there weren't any other passengers going our way.  So one of their employees, who happened to be a transvestite, offered to drive us back to the hotel in his/her own car.  On the way, we asked if there was any place to find the legendary Mango Sticky Rice to which he/she very emphatically replied, "You can find mango sticky rice near my house!!  They serve it in the morning!  You can come to my place!!  STICKY RICE.." to which we replied politely.. "Uh, we'll see..."..

Anyway, back to the motorbike.. we went along the route I had planned by looking at the Phuket tourist map, stopping along the way at a temple, a small shopping center, and wherever we found something interesting--just enjoying the ride.  When I had to fill up for gas, you could either go to a normal-looking gas station, or just buy gas from the side of the road from shops with gasoline in beer and liquor bottles.  So ghetto, yet so awesome.  Traffic wasn't bad either but it was still scary and dark.  Everywhere I looked, I feared that the transvestite might jump out of the shadows and yell "STICKY RICE!!!!!"

We finally got to Phuket town and it looked like the mall was already closed but we went to some small boutique shops and then on the way back we struck the motherload--Mango Stick RICE BABY!!!!  And it was so cheap too..a quarter of the price in Singapore... we ordered two servings and ate one right there by the roadside, while saving the rest for later ... it was getting really late so we decided to head back and by then I was feeling really comfortable and confident with my bike-riding abilities.

The next day we went to Nai Harn beach for some relaxation by the beach and later that day we went from Rawai to Patong Beach by motorbike. The scenery was absolutely beautiful as we went up the side of a mountain during the sunset... I wish I had stopped to take a picture but I was too busy trying not to get run over by the cars around us.  Later, we got caught at a police trap for tourists and got a ticket for not having a valid driver's license for the bike.. but the fine was only like $20 or something... those cops were totally raking in the money.. there must've been at least 15-20 tourists on motorbikes fined per hour.  Annoying, but whatever.  We were having fun on the bike.. at least I was.. Carissa may still have been petrified.  We made it to Patong Beach and went around there, eating some great Thai food and shopping at the night market. Going back was pretty scary... it started to rain and we were going back down that same mountainside while praying it wouldn't rain any harder.  After what seemed like an eternity, we finally made it safely back to the hotel in once piece and Carissa made me vow never to ride a motorcycle again.  Good bye, Phuket rental motorcycle (licence plate #372), I'll miss you :'(

Related articles:
Mangosteen hotel review


  1. Glad you enjoyed Phuket as much as we do... if you need more ideas to explore less known parts of the island, look at our blog:
    Have a great trip!

  2. thanks for the comment! we're definitely planning to visit phuket sometime again in the future so i'll take a closer look at your blog. lots of great pictures and good info!