Connect with us


Opinion: To bike or not to bike in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: A friend of mine recently arrived in Phuket. It is his very first time in Thailand and he intends to hang around for a while so, within the first week of his stay, he bought a motorcycle.

Admittedly, anyone who wants to get around Phuket needs some form of independent transport, unless they have the time and patience to wait for a bus or ‘songtaew’ or enough money to hire a private limousine.

Alarm bells went off in my head when I heard about my friend’s new (for him) purchase of a second-hand 250cc Kawasaki off-road bike.

Sure, buying a bike was a smart thing to do in order to save time and money in the long run, instead of long-term car rental or forking out for taxi fares every day, but it was certainly not the safest option in my opinion.

I didn’t doubt my friend’s riding skills. It was everything else that I was worried about. Here we had a young man who, for starters, learned to drive on the right hand side of the road in his country, where the road rules are easier to follow, because everyone else is mostly obeying them.

Now, after a few days in Thailand, he was going to immerse himself in an entirely different and frankly, highly dangerous, driving culture; one in which he certainly would not have had enough time to become close to understanding that there is method in the madness.

Mind you, on a recent trip home to the UK, I was surprised how fast people drove over there. I noticed that drivers are confident when they know they have the ‘right of way’. They zoom along with not the slightest worry that someone might just drift out of a side road into their lane without even a glance at the oncoming traffic.

It wouldn’t occur to a British motorist that someone would stop dead on a roundabout. Nor would it occur to an American that everyone else stops a few seconds after the traffic light turns red and then sets off again before it’s turned back to green.

As a rule, when driving in the west, you just don’t expect someone to pass you on the inside, or suddenly come face to face with a noodle cart heading towards you in your lane.

Predictably, my friend, despite being a good rider, came off his new bike a few days after he had bought it. He lost it on a patch of gravel, and now has a nasty graze on his neck.

Thankfully, his driving culture of wearing a good helmet might well have saved him from a more serious injury that day. Of course I hope that was the first and only accident he has while he’s here.

Personally, after coming off motorbikes three times while buzzing about in the Big Mango, I decided it was time to trade in the bike and make a down payment on a car.

It might take longer to get places on four wheels, but it’s certainly a lot safer.

— Andrew Nicholson


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Phuket44 mins ago

Officials predict 600,000 tourists to Phuket following reopening

Phuket1 hour ago

Technician electrocuted to death while trying to fix jacuzzi

Pattaya1 hour ago

Pattaya pushes for August 1 Sealed Route reopening plan

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Thailand2 hours ago

Mother alleges that Doctor mistakenly gave her 10 year old sleeping pills

Bangkok2 hours ago

1 million Sinopharm doses arrive today

Tourism3 hours ago

Full reopening guidelines for Phuket and Samui

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Covid UPDATE: 3,682 new cases, 20 covid-related deaths, provincial totals

Thailand4 hours ago

Poll shows schools, students, parents, “not ready” for online learning

Chon Buri4 hours ago

Man returns lost parakeet, gets rewarded with BBQ

Thai Life5 hours ago

Thai Lion predicts football matches, other abilities currently unknown

Tourism5 hours ago

Reopening details for Phuket, Samui and beyond laid out

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Multiple Chiang Rai schools to close after infections found

Thailand7 hours ago

Woman falls off building on Pattaya’s Walking Street

Tourism9 hours ago

Refinements to the Sandbox as the countdown continues to Thailand’s reopening

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Sunday: 3,682 new infections and 20 covid-related deaths

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8