Off road biking around Krabi

Off road mountain biking is exhilarating!

Off road mountain biking is exhilarating!

A Thai woman whizzing by on a shiny Honda Wave 110 is an everyday sight, but when Janram Troisfontaine kick starts her Kawasaki KLX250, all heads turn.

Janram, better known as ‘Peung’, is one of few female dirt bike enthusiasts in southern Thailand and the driving-force behind ‘Thailand Off-Road Adventures’ - a company specializing in off-road motorcycle and cycling trips.

Peung, a seasoned rider, has mapped an extensive network of trails, suitable for both cyclists and motorcyclists of all levels of ability. The rugged interior of in southern Thailand is just as attractive as its coastline, and doubles up as a challenging trail park designed by nature.

From coast to coast, riders and cyclists follow narrow dirt tracks meandering through thick jungle and hillside plantations, and speed across mountain streams. It’s no easy ride; hairpin bends, slippery mud slats and sheer drops send adrenalin levels soaring. More on Phuket activities.

Contrary to the off-road dirt biking reputation as 'high impact', Janram's tours are badged 'eco-friendly' and all riders are briefed before setting out. "We remind them that nature was here first, and they should always respect the environment and local communities,” she said.

Thailand Off-Road Adventures offers a wide variety of rides, traversing a number of the southern provinces including Phuket, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Krabi and Phang Nga. Regardless of ability or previous experience, everyone can enjoy the activity. Junior-sized dirt bikes allow little ones to follow their parents on tours.

Explore the blustery Andaman Coast

Explore the blustery Andaman Coast

While Thailand Off-Road Adventures offers set packages, ranging from day rides to eight day off-road adventures (accommodation included on multi-day rides), trips can also be customised to suit individual needs or preferences.

Off-road cycling is also an enjoyable way to explore the local landscape, although participants do need to have a relatively good level of fitness. The company also offers cycle rides covering three different categories: tour-orientated, adventure-style, and challenge and endurance-based cycling. As with the motorcycle rides, trips can be customised.

Cycling trips range from one to seven days, with an average of five to six cycling hours during each. A professional mountain bike, multi-lingual guide, meals, refreshments, first aid supplies are included in the price. Accommodation, transfers and support vehicle are not included in the day ride price, but are covered in the longer multi-day trips.

Exploring the region by bicycle is the ultimate eco-friendly travel experience. Cyclists can breathe in the fresh air, drink up the stunning views and become intoxicated by the abounding nature. More on national parks.

Amazing Bike Tours also offer biking tours, inviting cyclists to choose between lakeside tours, island expeditions, and new for 2011, ‘boat and bike adventures’. This trip involves biking through the countryside by day followed by evening cruises aboard a traditional wooden Chinese sailing ship.

The charming junk, known as The June Hong Chian Lee, was built in Penang in 1962 for charcoal transportation and has starred in many movies including The Man with the Golden Gun, Swiss Family Robinson and Shanghai.

After being swayed to sleep by the swells of the Andaman Sea, cyclists wake up to a new adventure each morning. Koh Yao Noi and big sister Koh Yao Yai are the first stops, and other destinations include Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi and Krabi Town.

One of Thailand’s champion cyclists, Mr Samai Klinruk, says there still plenty of off-road adventures to be found in the south. This Krabi-born cyclist has won many prestigious awards including a Royal championship presented by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

Mr Samai knows the region’s on and off road trails like the back of his hand and competes in national competitions on a regular basis. He reveals: “The great thing about Thailand is that, unlike many European countries, there is still plenty of scope for off-road adventure.

“It allows visitors to learn about local life in the south and interact with the different cultures of people residing here. This can be fascinating for newcomers, as they can gain a lot of valuable knowledge about Thailand and insight into its people.”

Mr Samai is the ultimate adventurer, and raves about bike tours which involve a range of activities. He describes his ideal trip by saying: “I love to cycle in Khao Sok as I can take a break from the bike and jump in a kayak or on an elephant for a while. It’s also great to combine a cycling trip with a visit to a hot springs or thermal pool as it’s very therapeutic and soothes your aching muscles.”

Full details of off-road dirt bike and cycling tours including (itineraries and rates) can be found at www.thailand-off-road.com. For on-road cycling tours check www.amazingbiketoursthailand.asia or http://www.spiceroads.com/tours/south.

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