Thailand Motorcycle Trip Report: Phuket to Bangkok; 930 kilometers return leg in two days

The Siamerican initially told everyone that he was planning to depart for Bangkok early Monday morning, shooting for a the 750 to 800 kilometers (depending on route) to Phetchaburi in one go (leaving only 140-150 kilometer finish to Bangkok for the next day). However, 16 hours straight on a bike wasn’t something to look forward to.

After a dispute with his son Django’s mother on Saturday night, the spontaneity–or better yet, the transcendental subconscious guidance of the Siamerican’s mind at work when suddenly deciding to get in gear ahead of schedule, pacing himself for a less hectic and balanced two day stretch; The trip ahead was thought out and planned carefully, and after 10 days of low-key break in Phuket, the Siamerican was physically and mentally ready to hit the road again, and prepare himself for the second half of university term in Bangkok. Staying upright and surviving long hours on Thailand’s dangerous tar and gravel would have to be executed without flaw first…

Trip Logistics and Route:

Departure was initiated Sunday, March 16, 2008 at 13.00 at Phuket town at 13.00. Pacing the trip into evenly balanced days, the goal was to make his Bangkok apartment destination before evening rush hour of Monday.

If you recall the first trip 10 day prior, the Thailand peninsular crossover was marked at the split from Asia highway 41 at Chumporn, treading along and near the Andaman sea coast of Ranong and Phanga.

The proposed route back would substitute Ranong with Surathani looking like:

Phuket through Phanga through Surathani through Chumporn through Prachuap Kiri Khan through Phetchaburi through Samut Songkram through Samut Sakorn through Pra pra daeng and onto the Upper sukhumwit apartment.

The Siamerican wanted to see if the route would be faster, shorter, and/or easier to navigate than the Andaman mountain narrow highway route coming through Ranong and Phanga along the Andaman coast on Highway 4.

The prime route via Surathani utilizing Asia highway 41 was reported to be wider with straighter highways than those of Ranong, and thus presumably more reliable for speed and time.

From Phanga to Surathani, maps show several appealing shortcuts on secondary highway to get to Asia highway 41. The non-short cut main route calls to take highway Four in South Phanga backtracking southwards some towards the northern part of Krabi before jumping on highway 44 which than shoots northeast towards Surathani town, eventually meeting up with Asia highway 41.

However, cutting north at Tup poot district of Phanga อำเภอทัพปุด on highway 4118, which meets up with highway 401 in south central Surathani, taking one Northeast towards Surathani town, but instead of going to Surathani town, splitting north on highway 4100 which goes through Kiri-rata-nikom district อำเภอคิรีรัฐนิคม, and eventually turning into highway 4262 near Vipawadi district อำเภอวิภาวดี, which would bring one to Asia highway 41 some 20 kilometers north of the Surathani town rat race; Such a route utilizing several secondary highways would possibly save him several dozen kilometers, offer more scenery to take in without constantly stressing about the congestion and danger of large industrial vehicles that transport goods along Thailand’s main highways.

The average raw driving speed would be slower than the main highway, time would also be gained in having less backtracking kilometerage to cover, and avoiding rush hour in Surathani town.

Once on Asia highway 41, the route is confirmed smooth, straight, and predictable all the way up to Bangkok. Well, that is if one doesn’t decide to side track. The Siamerican made one such choice near Lang Suan district อำเภอหลังสวน, which with hind site probably wasn’t the best choice, considering the sun had fully set then by 20.00.

He wanted to see the sea and beach that he had first and last visited six years back, possibly to snooze under the stars, like a lone rider in the wild west days ago. Atleast it was an appealing idea at first for a stint rider.

Unable to properly relax for the night alone at the dark beach, he gazed at the concave of stars and embraced the humming sea breeze for a better part of an hour, always looking over his shoulder as villagers and locals sparingly drove by and parked near the dark night sea side public zone.

The Siamerican finally decided it was better not to be conspicuous stranger in a vulnerable situation and was better off continuing on the road until he found a situation that felt more safe for the first night’s retirement. The idea to sleep bare under the stars suddenly became less appealing as it got later and darker along the Gulf of Thailand coast road.

The sidetracking from 8 to 10 pm lost him some time and kilometers, but he eventually made it back to Asia HW 41 and on the north bound direction.

Speed and Time averages:

On the first day, Sunday March 16, he departed Phuket at 13.00 and covered 433.6 kilometers in 580 minutes, before finally retiring at a truck stop 250 baht motel outside of Chumporn at roughly 10.40 that evening.

The overall average speed for this first day, including stops and breaks time calculated, was roughly 747 meters per minute or 44.85 kilometers per hour. Without break and stoppage time included in the calculations, the adjusted average speed (raw driving only) was 945 meters per minute, or 56.7 kilometers per hour.

For the second leg of the trip, he departed the truckstop-motel at 06.40 and arrived at his Bangkok apartment at 03.40 that afternoon, meaning he drove 492.7 kilometers in exactly 540 minutes, making the overall speed 912 meters every minute, or 54.7 kilometers per hour. However, without breaks and stops, the actual average speed came out to 1247 meters per minute, or 74.8 kilometers per hour.

Clearly the second day had a quicker speed. That is because all of the second day was spent on a straight, smooth, and wide highway (Asia highway 41) with few and short breaks, and no weather or daylight delays. In contrast, the first day was on narrower secondary highways.


Gas, Petrol, Fuel Economics and Budget

As his Kawasaki ZX 130 bike has a fuel tank of 3.8 liters, the Siamerican had to make a total of 8 petrol stops, consuming just over 23 liters of petrol to cover the trip of 930.8 kilometers, which cost a total of 740 baht, making the average cost 32 baht per liter, and average fuel consumption optimizing roughly 40 kilometers per liter.

On the way down, he only used Gasohal 95 petrol, but decided to try and add a controlling variable to see if Bensil 91 would make a difference in fuel economics. The data that was gathered is insufficient to make any solid conclusions as to which type of petrol is more reliable. There are other variables that effect one’s fuel efficiency, such as speed and wind resistance. Also, there’s no way of telling that the quality of all the pumping station’s fuel is decent or poor.

On two fill ups between Chumporn and Prachuap, the Siamerican recorded very poor kilometers per liter averages in the lower 30’s. They were both using Benzene. Even though the average/ratio increased to normal numbers in the mid 40’s after switiching back to Gasohal 91 and 95, the Siamerican believes other factors played a more controlling role.

On such low averages, he had higher speed average, and was racing against medium to strong wind conditions. On the contrary, his highest ratio-average was around 50 kilometers per liter—achievable only with an overall lower speed average, lighter wind conditions, favorable road conditions i.e. less decelerating/accelerating demands, hills, curves, etc.

Either way, the Siamerican has a more favorable attitude towards Gasohal as opposed to Benzene, partly because it’s cheaper price, and through all his recorded data has found nothing to suggest that Benzene petrol is more fuel efficient, visa versa. Cheaper wins!



Thailand Motorcycle Trip Report: Phuket to Bangkok; 930 kilometers return leg in two days — 7 Comments

  1. Pingback: Thailand motorcycle trip report: Bangkok to Phuket; 900 kilometers in 16 hours | The Siamerican

  2. Pingback: Pictures and Images of Bangkok - Phuket motorcycle adventure in March 2008 | The Siamerican

  3. This is a great Motorcycle information forum specific for Thailand, including driving, gear, trips, stories, advice, rules, and advice for motorcycle parts, riding, and everything related.

  4. Here is a report on a trip of similar length done several years back from Bangkok to Chiangmai and back on a Honda Hybrid bike. Interesting, though the fuel economies of a then-record setting ratio-average is about what most petrol based bikes of today can do without much problem

  5. Loved reading about your trip. Am planning to do the phuket to Bangkok trip over a 2 week period stopping and spending a couple of days at many beach destinations along the way. Need to rent a bike one way from phuket and leave it in Bangkok. Do you know of any rental places that do that? Thanks.

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