The Phuket Bike Week is probably the oldest and the longest surviving bikers gathering event in Asia. This year marks the 23rd installment of the annual event which usually takes place around the Songkran Water Festival season. The 2017 Phuket Bike Week was held from the 14th to 16th April on Patong Beach.
The location and setting itself is a massive pull factor for bikers from all around the region to congregate Phuket. Patong beach is known for its powdery sand beach, clear waters, waving coconut trees, beach bars, sea sport activities, massage outlets and massive crowds. But this was also the site of devastation during the 2012 tsunami, Phuket was the quickest to recover and rebuild from the disaster that also struck Aceh and Sri Lanka badly.
This year the theme of the Phuket Bike Week is ‘The World Rides Together’. Participation and support for the Phuket Bike Week comes from as far as South Africa, Japan and Europe but the biggest supporters are the Malaysian bikers. Members of various motorcycle clubs rode in from Malaysia a few days before the event weekend mainly to catch the Songkran celebration held just a two days before the Phuket Bike Week.
BMW Motorrad Malaysia club members took the cake for the largest convoy into Phuket with 57 motorcycles and almost 70 participants. Harley Owners Group Kuala Lumpur Chapter and many other club motorcycle clubs raked up the numbers for the Phuket Bike Week 2017. According to Wittaya Sumon Singkalah, the organiser of the Phuket Bike Week, more than 2000 motorcyclists arrived on the island over the week. This does not include the Thai bikers community set to come in for the second leg of the Phuket Bike Week on 22nd April.
A Grand Welcome
The Phuket Bike Week rolled to a stylish start with a grand welcome dinner on Friday night at Graceland Resort located around a hundred meters from the event site. The Thai street food party served as a great place for the officials from the organising committee to welcome and thank all bikers for their support and participation. Officials from the Phuket Bike Week Association, Phuket Tourism Board, Phuket Highway Police, Phuket Municipal and other governmental bodies expressed their appreciation on stage and representatives from individual clubs were presented with a memorabilia.
Everything from Pad Thai to Khao Niew Ma Muang (Sticky rice with mango), was beautifully presented. A solo guitarist kept the bikers entertained with a great selection of classic rock tunes and dancers from Hooters Phuket took to stage as a teaser for the events on the main stage. The party continued at Patong beach and Bangla Street into the wee hour of the morning.
Here comes the sun.
Clear blue skies welcomed all the participants to a great Easter weekend. The Phuket Bike Week event site was already busy as early as 10am. Curious tourists and beach goers wandered among the motorcycle and vendor booths. The official merchandise booth was the great hit with visitors picking up t-shirts, caps, keychains, balacalavas and other Phuket Bike Week 2017 collectibles.
Bikers had their pick of leisurely activities ranging from sea-sports on the beach, snorkeling, diving, island hopping, visiting local attraction or just getting a beach massage while sipping on an island cocktail.
Bands from Hard-Rock Café Phuket began rocking the crowd as early as 3pm and the crowd swelled up to capacity at about 7pm. The Phuket Bike Week Charity Convoy arrived about half past seven and the festivities were pumped up to its limits. The main stage featured bands, dancers as well as the Miss Phuket Bike Week pageant.
A secondary stage was setup in middle of Loma Market just across the event site along Patong beach. The second stage features some great Thai bands and a Muay Thai training demo. The secondary stage was designed to cover the beer garden area for those who wanted to chill with some cold Singha Beers and Thai street snacks. Once again the parties carried on for those still craving for more. Most Malaysian bikers retired early on Saturday as they prepared for the ride home on Sunday.
Goodbye and see you next year!!!
Engines started rumbling early on Sunday as many were leaving after breakfast. The island began to empty out slowly as bikers embarked on their journey home taking back sweet memories from the Phuket Bike Week 2017. Many have promised to be back as theirs senses and hearts were captivated by the beauty and charm of Phuket and its wonderful people.