The Phuket Bike Week is probably Thailand’s best motorcycles and bikers’ get-together event. Phuket Bike Week 2017 will be held from 10th to 15th April, the Patong Beach (BIKE WEEK gathering) event will be held from 10th to 12th April meanwhile the Songkran Party will be held on the 14th and 15th April. It is organised by Ride Thailand (Sumon) and the Tourism Authority of Phuket. This year will see the 23rd installment of the event and the gathering of over 10,000 bikers from 30 countries.
Majority of the bikers will arrive for the Patong Beach gathering and stay on until the Songkran Party later in the week. Here are some useful notes if you are planning to hit the Phuket Bike Week for the first time.
1. Book your accommodation early, most of the hotels sell out before March. Find out if your if your hotel provides motorcycle parking areas (most hotels around Patong will allocate special parking areas during the Bike Week)
2. Hook up with some ride buddies, riding alone is fine but it’ll be nice to have some company on the road and a buddy looking out for you especially when you are inexperienced in Thailand.
3. Get your ride prepped, service and replace the necessary. Avoid unnecessary breakdown and costs during the ride. Carry puncture repair kits.
4. Plan your route and timing, it’s a 970kms ride one way so you need to have some sort of a plan. Here are some routes to consider:
– Exit via Bukit Kayu Hitam towards Hat Yai (stay a night there then proceed to Phuket the next day). You’re basically splitting the ride into half, a nice and easy plan.
– Exit via Wang Kelian towards Satun, stay a night in Satun and ride up to Phuket the next day. Here you a saving about 50kms taking the Wang Prachan border but take caution at the Wang Kelian mountain pass. The hairpins can take you by surprise.
– Exit at Wang Kelian, push towards Krabi and stay the night. Ride out the next day to Phuket. Here, you do the majority of riding on day one, because from Krabi it’ll be less than 200kms and takes less than 3hours on the bike.
– Some extreme bikers, ride directly to Phuket leaving KL in wee hours. Usually these are seasoned riders that will be the first to cross the border and reach Phuket by nightfall.
5. Get your documents sorted. Here are some essential paperwork to complete:
– Valid passport (check expiry date).
– Motorcycle registration documents, either the Registration Card or the Vehicle Ownership Certificate. If the motorcycle does not belong to you, you’ll need and authorization letter for the registered owner.
– TM2 (vehicle conveyancing form) and TM3 (passenger information), these could be found online so pre-fill them to save time at the border.
– Insurance and white card. The temporary insurance could be purchased at local shops along the Changloon-Kayu Hitam route. Costs less than RM20 for a one week policy.
– International License. The Malaysian Driving/Riding license is valid in Thailand but if you get yourself in a sticky situation like a fender bender, the authorities there can get uptight about the license issue. So better to have the International License done at any JPJ or AAM office.
6. Get enough rest and ride early. Whilst it’s fine to ride in Malaysian highways before sunrise or after sunset, the roads in Thailand surely are not going to be the same. The highways in suburban Thailand can give you some nasty surprises. People, animals and vehicles crossing suddenly will give you a jolt every now and then. Potholes and roadworks are always ongoing along the major routes and in the dark the challenge is double.
7. Stay hydrated. April is one of the driest months in Thailand and dehydration leads to fatigue and loss of concentration. Drink plenty of water during stops and rest every 200km or every 2 hours.
8. Rent a scooter. It’s much easier getting around the island on a scooter that are usually available for rent at about THB250 per day. But you’ll need to ride your big bike out to Patong Beach in order to gain access to the event grounds.
9. Visit the town and other beaches. Phuket is a huge island about the size of Singapore, so there is plenty to see and do. Travel agents booths are everywhere and they offer decent day trip packages.
10. Party at Soi Bangla. The epicenter of all parties in Phuket has to be Soi Bangla. Hundreds of bars and clubs line the street. Lovely ladies will be ushering you in for a drink or two and that’s how all epic parties begin. If you are drinking, don’t ride.
11. Rest well before you leave, as the journey home is usually where mistakes happen. Pace yourself and ride smoothly. Break the journey down into shorter rides and stay the night over at either Hatyai or Dannok before crossing back home.
For more information on the Phuket Bike Week 2017 visit phuketbikeweek.com or check them out on http://www.facebook.com/phuketbikeweek.