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Thailand boat and bike adventure

Thailand and its Andaman Sea has been a popular choice for sailing, snorkelling, diving and island exploration by boat for many years. Its beautiful coastline, sandy beaches, coconut trees and warm tropical water are what make ocean lovers head to the land of Siam for their dose of aquatic activity.

April 2011

Away from the ocean - in the mountains, villages and rice paddies, bicycle tourism is becoming more and more popular in Thailand and throughout South East Asia, as tourists seek to discover something off the beaten track, enjoy views at a nice relaxed pace and get some gentle... or not so gentle exercise while on their vacation.

James Hembrow of Amazing Bike Tours h as come up with a way to combine both of these activities in one action-packed 5-day expedition of Thailand adventure travel. No, they're not suggesting bicycling on water... but they have created a multi-day bike tour that, instead of using hotels and moving to a new destination every few days, will use a boat as the base for accommodation... floating accommodation. So, after each day's biking you can cruise in comfort on the Andaman Sea to the next destination for some more mountain biking activity.

James, the founder of Amazing Bike Tours, told us, "I've always loved the ocean and being on boats; I also grew up doing a lot of biking in Somerset, England. With this new programmme, we've brought together our love of the ocean and biking to create a boat and bike trip. Some of our land-based multi day bike tours are inland, so are not suitable for the combination, but there are so many great areas for biking close to the sea that we thought instead of moving from hotel to hotel, we should live onboard a beautiful boat and get to the biking areas by sea."

This 5-day programme includes biking in Koh Yao Noi, Koh Yao Yai, Krabi province and Koh Lanta. The biking terrain will vary from paved roads with little traffic to off road dirt trails. The biking routes take guests cycling through rice paddies, rubber tree and pineapple plantations, past fishing villages and amazing ocean views.

As there are several bike guides taking care of guests, the cycling is arranged in small groups, with a nice easy pace for the casual cyclist, and other groups of more experienced riders tackling some challenging off road trails. All of the planned rides are optional, so guests who prefer to skip a ride and relax onboard, read a book and enjoy the tropical weather can do so.

The floating accommodation is also what makes the trip unique. Amazing Bike Tours have charted The June Hong Chian Lee, one of several junks built in Penang, Malaysia. She's a 30-metre, 140-ton three mast junk with 330 square metres of sail area.

Built in 1962 for charcoal transportation, the June Hong Chian Lee was part of a small merchant fleet that traded up and down the coastline from Burma to Malaysia. She was mainly used to transport mango wood charcoal until 1985, then she was restored and redesigned for the first time to serve as a classic yacht. In 1997, she changed owners and was completely restored and set up as a liveaboard vessel. The June Hong is constructed mainly from a hard teak wood called Takien Tong.

Also known as 'The Junk', as she is a traditional Chinese Junk sailing vessel, she has featured in many movies including The James Bond movie 'The Man with the Golden Gun'. More recently she was featured in 'Das Weisse Gold', 'Swiss Family Robinson' and 'Shanghai. A true classic boat, she adds to the experience of the Thailand Boat and Bike Adventure Cruise.

It's not all cruising and biking though. While in Krabi province the guests have the chance to climb up one thousand, two hundred and thirty-seven steps to a Buddhist monument perched on a mountain top; the view from the top makes the climb more than worth while. Watch out for all the monkeys on the way up. On the final full day onboard, it's time to give those cycling legs a rest. The Junk visits the Phi Phi Islands for snorkelling, swimming and beach visits.

After five full days of biking, trekking, swimming and snorkelling, the vessel returns to Phuket.

The Boat and Bike Adventure is a package that includes accommodation onboard, all meals, snacks, fruit, tea, coffee and drinking water. Trek mountain bikes and helmets are provided, but guests who prefer to bring their own bikes are free to do so.

For more information visit: www.amazingbiketoursthailand.asia/boatandbike.php

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