Phuket’s three most approachable hills provide you with three amazing viewpoints on the island and three reasons to get you bicycle out on the road.
What makes Phuket fun is not just the deep blue seas that surround it, its choice of beaches or its friendly people, locals and expats alike, but also its hills. And hilly it is! Some even say that the island’s famous name is derived from a Malay word for hill – bukit.
With its highest point at 529 m above the sea level and a number of hills waiting to be peaked, Phuket is a fantastic destination for those who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, and even more so – cycling.
And to make cycling around the island even more fun, why not make it a challenge? After all, almost anything becomes more fun if you add a goal to it, something to achieve.
So here it is – Phuket’s three hills cycling challenge. A new goal for all those bike enthusiasts out there.
We’ve chosen three of Phuket’s most approachable yet steepest hills for you to summit on your bicycle. If you are in top-notch form, you can do all three in one day. If you prefer to extend the pleasure, you can do it over a longer period of time, three consecutive weekends for example. Each hill offers a unique experience, a distinctive reward on the top and a different viewpoint of our beautiful island.
1. Monkey hill
Located on the northeast edge of Phuket Town, Monkey Hill is around 200 meters high. A well maintained, asphalt road leads to the summit, with a number of resting areas to break up your tiresome ride. At the base of the hill, a local shrine offers a chance to ask the deity (in fact, three of them: Toe Sae Dang, Toe Sae Dam and Toe Sae Kaow) for some much-needed strength, to finish the challenge. But before you get to the very top, there is one more obstacle waiting. Yes, you guessed right – monkeys. The hill is highly popular with local macaques that will spare no effort in making your ride even more challenging.
Once you get to the very top where some TV antennas obstruct the view, go down a bit to the nearest viewpoint to soak in a panoramic view of Phuket.
And then on to hill number two…
Located a 6 km ride to the west from Monkey hill, Khao Rang is just a tad lower but no less challenging. Once again, the hill offers an asphalted road to the very top and here you’ll also find a shrine if you need some supernatural help to get to the top. In fact it’s more than a shrine. A full scale Buddhist Wat with one of Phuket’s biggest golden Buddhas towering over it is a worthy stop on the way to the summit. Once you’re finished with securing some good karma, keep pedaling; reward awaits you when you get to the top. Except for a magnificent, panoramic view of the island, the hill-top is home to two restaurant serving great Thai food at more than reasonable prices. If a bowl of savory dear meet curry isn’t a reason good enough to cycle up the hill, we don’t know what is.
Once you satisfy you hunger, move on to hill number three
3. Big Buddha hill
Cycling the 17km route from Phuket Town to Chalong, where Big Buddha hill is located, presents quite a challenge in itself. But don’t let it deceive you – the real test is still ahead of you. Big Buddha Hill is over 400 meters high and the road leading to the top is not for the faint hearted. Very curvy and, at times, extremely steep, will require some true skills and great strength from the daring cyclist.
There is a selection of restaurants and bars on the way to break the climb, not to mention a number of elephant camps offering some great photo opportunities, but the real reward is up there, touching the clouds. Waiting for you on the summit is the Big Buddha of Phuket, a 45 meters tall statue of lord Buddha that has been under construction for many years. Once on top, you can contribute to the construction efforts by purchasing a marble slate, a concrete block or simply donating some cash. Or you can just take a (clockwise, as Buddhists advise) walk around the giant and enjoy a true, 360 panorama of Phuket, knowing that you have just completed the island’s one and only three hills challenge. Well done!
For some great cycling tips take a look at Thanyapura’s triathlon training programs.