If there are any silver linings to the pandemic-induced shutdown of tourism for Grasshopper, one would be a focus on refinement. We have had some time on our hands to evaluate the enormous amount of constructive feedback our guests have provided. We then refined our tour itineraries to meet the preferences of the majority of return travelers. That has led us, quite possibly, to our best cycle tour of Southern Thailand yet: Cycle Bangkok to Phuket. Check out the new changes below and see what you think...
Bangkok to Phuket
I have always thought of the Bangkok to Phuket route as being the most holiday-style ride in the catalog. It’s the sort of ride where you can have a good morning out on the bike with a sea breeze taking the sting out of the tropical heat. Then spend the afternoon getting a Thai Massage by the beach and catching up on some reading with a cold Singha beer in hand. The accommodations are low-key due to the slightly off-the-beaten-path nature of the tour. But in true Thai style, they are clean, comfortable, and well run, often by a family team.
The other essential ingredient in a holiday is great food and the people of Southern Thailand have you covered in that regard. It has been said by a couple of people over time that Thai people are truly focused on food. It almost seems like every second person is in the business of planting, growing, harvesting, transporting, cooking, or selling food. Eating that full range of delicious cuisine is definitely a national pastime.
You spoke, we listened
So in creating the latest edition of this tour in Thailand, we looked at the feedback:
The majority of guests said that, while they loved the linear journey from Bangkok to Phuket, it was a lot of unpacking and repacking as we were moving almost every day. So we slowed the itinerary down and now we only unpack four times in eight days. This means that there are days when you set out from and return to the same hotel. Of course, that means that you aren’t cycling every kilometer of the route from Hua Hin to Phuket and that’s also, partly, to allow for more diversity in activities.
Diversity of Activities
Most people said that they were keen to have some more non-biking activities added into a tour. These include hiking, snorkeling, birding, light kayaking, etc. So I thought back over the different wish list items I had accumulated on my various trips through the area and found there was plenty to fill in the gaps with! We will now pay a visit to a Vineyard near Hua Hin to taste wines produced in this unlikely grape-growing region. We take a boat and hike around to a national park to visit a spectacular cave called Phraya Nakhon. In Chumphon, we spend a morning exploring the colorful sea life off the coast with snorkels. And we also have an optional trip to the Khao Dinsor nature reserve to spot some of the local birdlife. We’ll hike up to the Ton Kiol waterfall in Khao Sok National Park, then float down the river in inflatable kayaks. We’ll also enter Phuket in a much more memorable way than in a van, by taking a boat across the scenic Phang Nga Bay.
Phraya Nakhon cave
One-Week Sweet Spot
It was a resounding message from you all that the sweet spot for the duration of a tour is 7-8 days. This is just enough time to feel like you recharged the batteries with an escape, explored a new part of the world and connected with friendly local people, your fellow travellers, and your Grasshopper guides. So most of our tours will now be 7-8 days long except for the more remote, epic adventures.
Jungle-surrounded lodging on edge of Khao Sok National Park
City & Beach Time
Many of our guests said that they’d love to have an optional pre-tour and/or post-tour package. The goal being that they can see the highlights of those great cities in which we often start or end a tour. Likewise, even bike riders like a little lazy beach time! So where the tour finishes in a beach location, our guests said that they would like a recommendation on where to stay. We have introduced a Bangkok pre-tour package, and a post-tour beach relaxation package on the stunning Ko Yao Noi in Phan Nga Bay near Phuket is on the way soon!
Dramatic Limestone Islands in Phang Nga Bay
Just Maybe, Perfection...
We really do feel like the latest iteration of the Cycle Bangkok to Phuket tour is the very best it can be. We are so excited to get back on the blissfully smooth roads of southern Thailand, riding through the coconut palms and waving to the cheerful locals who are planting, tending to, or harvesting the produce of that region.
Book your 2022 tour now and be among the first to experience this terrific new itinerary.