Motorbikes on Phuket

Phuket Travel Blog

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My little red death trap on Phuket, Thailand. <3
I was in Phuket, Thailand approximately 4 months ago (I just discovered this site) and among the many amazing experiences I had there is one in particular that sticks out in my mind - motor bikes. On the surface this may seem innocent enough, it's a cheap and efficient method of transportation, but the harsh reality of the problem is that they are fun. Not only are they fun but for your average 23 year old male in his prime for making bad life decisions they are way, way too much fun.

Initially I was totally against renting a motor bike. Any rational human being can watch traffic for about 30 seconds and come to the conclusion that it is not in the interest of self preservation to drive anything other than a tank. However I was posed with 2 major problems:

1) Being someone who likes to travel I really wanted to cruise around the island and see everything there was to see.
2) Some sick, twisted (and apparantly suicidal) part of me suspected driving one of those things would probably be a helluva good time.

It's some minor comfort that my friend was struggling with the same issues. Unfortunately it was his loss of this inner struggle and the ensuing encouragement to disregard personal safety that was to be my downfall. Granted everything started off fine except that part when I first got on it and almost immediately crashed into a ditch (minor setback). On that first day I was very careful and obeyed all traffic laws that we are taught in the USA. The problems started with the realization that traffic laws are more or less a suggestion on Phuket and the incredible feeling of freedom I was experiencing. I do not use the term incredible lightly here. It is was one of the most uplifting experiences of my life (I had never ridden a motorcycle/bike before) and by the second day I was actively seeking straightaways so I could gun my little motorbike all the way up to 65mph and weave around large trucks like some sort of madman.

This brings us to day 3. You already know what's coming - I'm sure the suspense is killing you. You see Phuket, and Bangkok to a lesser extent, has a lot of dogs. Not just 1 or 2 dogs or even a small group of dogs. Phuket has a TON of dogs and they just run around all willy nilly without a care in the world. So there I was cruising through a side street in Katta with confidence when what's that off to left side of the road in front of me? None other than a couple of kids playing with a freacken dog. I don't really remember all of the details. The kids did something to said freacken dog that caused the freacken dog to freacken freack out and run into the street - directly in front of me. I slammed on the breaks but that didn't really work out too well. The motorbike hit the pavement and I went flying happily through the air. I say happily because it really was a wonderous feeling up to the point where I hit the pavement.

This is where some sort of miracle occured as I was very fortunate for a number of reasons. Firstly this particular street was a side street. If it had been a main street I would've, without a doubt, been immediately run over by a dump truck. Secondly this side street was unusally smooth for a street. I've never seen a street as smooth as this one in my life. Lastly (and only god knows for what reason) as I was rolling down this incredibly smooth street I decided it would be a good idea to put my hands down and pop up onto my feet - while wearing sandals. The true miracle of miracles out of all of this is that I was actually successful in performing this popup act and proceeded to "surf" down the street.

When I finaly came to a stop I was jubilant. I felt as if by cheating death I had just conquered some great enemy. It was from an awestruck group of Thai kids that I retrieved my motorbike. The only injuries I had sustained were some minor cuts on my left foot and some of the skin had been scraped off of the palms of my hands when I had put them down on the asphalt to pop up. All I could do was laugh.

I'll admit the event shook me up a bit. From that point on I was much more careful and every time I saw a dog I would slow down a bit. I rode my motorbike without incident for the rest of the trip but I don't think it's something I'll ever forget. Thailand is an amazing place and motorbikes are a great way to get around. Just watch your speed and keep an eye out for the dogs ;).

P.S. I made an observation about traffic on Phuket that I think is absolutely hilarious. When waiting for a red light to turn green all of the motor bikers bunch together at the front and slowly inch forward. It's kind of like penguins crowded around a hole in the ice nudging forward until one falls in so that the rest can see if he gets eaten. Eventually one of these motor bikers just goes and if he survives everyone else follows - even if the light is still red. I couldn't get enough of it haha.

P.S.S. For anyone interested in the aforementioned straightaway it's along Karon beach between Karon and Katta ;).
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My little red death trap on Phuket…
My little red death trap on Phuke…
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photo by: Aclay01