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Amazing Bike Tour round Ko Yao Noi

Ko Yao Noi, Thailand

James picked us up first thing in his minivan, then collected Imran and Nanee, a nice couple from Singapore, on the way to Ko Yao Noi, a small island in Phang Nga Bay, near to Phuket. The tour around the island was at a nice sedate pace and the terrain was very easy, with only a little bit of off-road. The island was mostly flat as well, but the girls struggled a little bit on the few hills we encountered. James, Imran, and I, of course, stayed on our bikes all the way up the hills, after all we are men, but the girls ended every upward hill with a push. Joanne seemed to master the 18 gears, which was an improvement on the last time we had been on a mountain bike together. It was a real pleasure to ride on a decent bike again, after all the rubbish tiny flimsy gearless Chinese bikes we had endured so far on the trip, and I pictured much more cycling from now on, and on our return from the trip.

I think the girls struggled a little bit on most of the downhill sections as well because, while James and I were whooshing down at high speed, we inevitably had to wait for a few minutes at the bottom for the others to catch up. I think Imran was just hanging back to look after Nanee and give her advice. Then on our final descent, disaster! Nanee took a tumble, although I didn't think she had been travelling all that fast. I stopped but Joanne told me to continue ahead and fetch James. James was waiting at the side to get some action photos as the group came around the bend and had started to wonder where everyone was. When I told him someone had fallen, he rushed to her rescue and immediately produced his medical kit. Luckily it wasn't at all serious, although she did have a nasty gravel burn that must have stung, but she put on a brave face nonetheless.

On the way back I spoke to Imran and Nanee about Singapore. They seemed to love living there, but mostly because the rest of South East Asia was in their back garden. I asked if they would recommended Singapore for a tourist visit, and they both said that they wouldn't really, unless you wanted to go shopping. They were actually on their honeymoon as well, so we all congratulated each other on getting married. They hoped to go to Europe some time soon, but found it very hard to justify the expense when they can go to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and so on, all within a couple of hours flying.

Afterwards, James told us his business was struggling to get properly off the ground, reckoning that the combined problems of the airport barricading last year, combined with the current economic crisis, made it almost impossible to do particularly well in the tourist industry in Thailand at the moment. I can only hope that things pick up for him. Joanne and James had met while working as Dive Masters on a live-aboard dive boat in Australia. James had been working in diving before he started the bike tour business, and was picking up some extra work again until his own business gathered a bit more momentum. Joanne told him that we were planning to go diving in Ko Tao, as it was reportedly the cheapest place to die in Thailand, and certainly has a reasonable reputation, getting more people qualified to dive than any other place in the world apart from Cairns in Australia.

He told us that the truth was, the diving there was not great, although it was perfectly adequate for people who were just learning. The best diving in Thailand, he explained, was on the Andaman Coast, not the Gulf of Thailand, in fact it was amongst the best in the world. He had already told us he could get a decent discount from the company he worked for, for a six-day live-aboard expedition, but it was really still far outside our planned budget. In the end he made it sound so great that we started thinking about, and Joanne reckoned it would be a “once in a lifetime” opportunity. Later that evening he called and said there was now another option to make it cheaper by cutting down the length of the trip because a couple of people were leaving for the trip late, so were being taken out by speedboat the day after the live-aboard left. Finally we cracked and agreed to go along. It was Joanne's “opportunity of a lifetime” that had really sold me. We decided our excuse would be to make it an early birthday present, although I'd had no intention of spending anything like that, but it made us both feel better.

permalink written by  The Happy Couple on May 1, 2009 from Ko Yao Noi, Thailand
from the travel blog: Michael's Round-the-World honeymoon
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permalink written by  mm on May 19, 2009

Ko Yao Noi was amazing and there are other great places in Thailand that are worth to visit, try Chiang Mai paradise or relaxing Phuket, both gorgeous destinations I discover thanks to my royal holiday club. http://www.club.royal-holiday.com/index.php?fuseaction=home.search&activ=0&zones=0&countries=46&destinations=0&x=13&y=7

permalink written by  Gillian on May 19, 2009

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