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Phangan Bicycle Tours

phananbicycletours

The average Koh Phangan local would probably scratch their head at the prospect of choosing to get on a push bike and see the island. Why not use a moped like everyone else? These farang are a strange bunch – deliberately choosing the hard option.

And the local Thais have a point. By 9am the sun is up and at full blast. Any physical exercise is going to see even the fittest souls pouring with sweat. And there is sunburn and heat stroke to contend with. And yet…

And yet there is the love of mountain biking, the fun of technically challenging off-road trails, and the chance to explore places that mopeds struggle to get to. Not to mention the great work out and the chance to save the environment the carbon and pollution from combustion engine fumes.

Phangan Bicycle Tours has been around now for a couple of years. The fact that they continue to get good reviews on Tripadvisor suggests they have a viable business. At the time of writing they had 220 ‘excellent’ scores and 3 ‘very good’ scores. No one has marked them as ‘average’, ‘poor’ or ‘terrible’. That is quite a feat. Nearly all popular restaurants and resorts have a handful of unsatisfied customers.

Here are the tours available:

  1. Classic. This is from 8.45am to 1.15pm and covers 19 kilometres. The course includes roads, dirt tracks and jungle trails. The tour takes in a coconut pressing plant, a rubber tree plantation, a temple and Phangan Animal Care in Wok Tum. This is a tour of the West coast of Koh Phangan which gives visitors a chance to see aspects of the island economy that were vital until tourism. The tour includes snacks and drinks and costs 1,150 Thai Baht per person.
  2. Family. This is from 9.45am to 2pm and covers 13 kilometres. The tour is on roads, dirt tracks and jungle trails. Sights passed include a school, the police station and a local market. The cost is 1,200 THB per person and includes snacks, drinks and lunch.
  3. Explorer. This is from 3pm to 7.30pm and covers 18 kilometres. The tour is on roads, countryside tracks and through the jungle. The tour takes in Phangan Police Station, a temple, a coconut processing plant, a rubber tree plantation and the night market. The cost is 1,250 Thai Baht a person and includes drinks, snacks and dinner.

There is a pick up / drop off service for all the tours. It is free from Thongsala, Baan Tai, Baan Kai and Wok Tum. Further away an extra fee of 100 THB is charged (except for Thong Nai Pan and Than Sadet that costs 200 THB).

All tours include mountain bike, helmet and first aid kit. None of the tours are neither particularly demanding nor dangerous. For the Family Tour there is the option of hiring a kid’s trailer (800 THB), kid’s bike (800 THB) or child seat (400 THB).

The company is run by Mark and Soren. They are 2 devoted cyclists who have been at the vanguard of developing the mountain biking scene in Koh Phangan. You can book online or visit their shop in Thongsala. See below for the location of Phangan Bicycle Tours.

The tours are as much about experiencing another side of Koh Phangan and Thai culture as they are getting a workout on a bike. If you are really keen for thrills and spills on a mountain bike then speak to Mark and Soren and they might be able to sort out a more adrenalin inducing tour for you.

Location

Address: 99/121 Moo 1, Tambon Koh Phangan, Amphur Koh Phangan, Suratthani 84280
Telephone: +66 (0)89 593 9732
Website: www.phanganbicycletours.com

Belgian Beer Bar

Belgian-beer-bar

Even though Koh Phangan has a Makro, a Tesco Lotus and boat loads of imported products arriving many of the restaurants on the island are reluctant to leave the tried and tested best sellers such as burger and fries, pizza, pad Thai and green curry. Where ever you go you are sure to find these items along with Singha and Chang beers grabbing your attention when you peruse a menu. Now read these menu items:

Mussels and Belgian fries (‘Moules frites’)
Leffe blond beer
Stassen apple cider
Salade de chêvre chaud
Belgian stew
Carbonade cooked slowly in a dark beer sauce
Beer made by Cistercian monks
Elderflower & Lime Stassen
Charolais steak

Yes, such menu items now exist- they are at Belgian Beer Bar located on Haad Chao Phao.

This is not an easy place to find. Follow the signs to Pirate Bar that you see on the main coastal road on the West Coast, just north of Srithanu. The beaches of Ao Chao Phao and Srithanu (also spelt Seetanu) are separated by a small headland. Confusingly, Belgian Beer Bar is on the premises of Seenatu Bungalows located on Haad Chao Phao. After a large Belgian beer the falsely eponymous nature of the bungalow set up behind the restaurant won’t give you an existential malaise.

Belgian Beer Bar has over 40 Belgian bottled beers and ciders to try. They are not cheap but for many men represent heaven in liquid form. The females in a partnership should not feel brassed off as the menu is quite a thing: big European favourites both as snacking food and entrées. The portions are big and the Belgian chef makes sure standards don’t slip.

This is a small friendly beachfront restaurant and bar. They have chilled music as well as free wifi. There are a few toys knocking around to distract children while they are waiting for their food.

This is a good restaurant that really attempts more sophisticated European cuisine rather than just steaks, burgers and chips. They also serve excellent beers in the glasses designed for them (including the glass horn!). The place is not well sign-posted and a little difficult to get to, but well worth the effort for those who set their sights higher than comfort fast food and Thai standards.

Belgian Beer Bar is open Monday to Sunday 8am to 10pm.

Reviews

I don’t normally include Trip Advisor snippets on this blog, but I have made an exception in this case: