Southeast Asia, Thailand

January 22, 2015

Our First and Last Scooter Experience – Koh Lanta, Thailand

It was a beautiful morning. We got up early, confident and exhilarated at the thought of the wind in our hair, freedom stretched ahead of us and distant parts of the island at our reach. We choose our bikes from reception, tried on every helmet to see what one fit us the best (we were confident but not THAT confident), got some gas, paid up and were ready to fly.

Well kind of.

Neither myself or Pam had actually ever ridden any kind of motorized bike before. How hard could it be?

So we asked the girl at reception to give us some tips – you know the basics! How do you turn it on? How do you break? How do you turn? ….

We did some trial runs in the parking lot. The girl looked terrified at what she saw and asked us if we were sure we wanted to this.

Absolutely we said! You can’t go to Thailand and not rent scooter. We’ll just do some laps up and down the side street before hitting the main road.

Pulling out of the parking lot slowly (and wobbly), we completed our first lap on the side street, constantly reminding ourselves that they drive on the opposite side of the road. Why can’t I keep that straight?!

After a quick practice, we moved on. No time like the present we thought! We approached the end of the side street to our first intersection on the main road. Once we figured out what side of the road to turn onto and there was any kind of opening into the traffic, we crossed the street screaming slightly at our first turn.

From there it was a smooth ride. Everything we imagined. Wind in our hair (well what peaked under the helmet) and the open road ahead of us. Luckily, on Koh Lanta, it is a “quieter” island so there was a manageable amount of traffic on the road.

We were feeling good!

Sure, there was the one guy on the bicycle that passed us at one point symbolizing maybe we were taking it a little slow. But like I told Pam, slow and steady wins the race, doesn’t it?

Then it happened.

Cruising along, we hit the steepest downward hill we had ever seen. We immediately hit our breaks and coasted down the hill. Not only was it steep, it was a switch back with a crazy turn during the middle of it (did I mention we hadn’t really had a major turn since we entered the main road?)

I kept thinking we should stop. Head back. But something prevented me from doing it. Pride, perhaps? I still don’t know. But we continued and when we reached the bottom, we were hit with the realization that we WILL have to go back up it.

I put on my game face and told Pam not to worry! Up hill would be even easier. All we needed to do was control our speed, not stop and not turn the handle bars! Piece of cake!

So we continued on. Stopped for lunch (would’ve killed for a beer to settle the nerves but thought that might make it worst) and pumped ourselves up for our return.



Nice spot at the National Park where we stopped for lunch and regrouped.


Pam taking a rest and settling her nerves before lunch and the return. On the plus side – lunch was delicious.



Eventually, we got back on our bikes and headed back.

When we reached the base of the hill, I yelled back to Pam whether or not she was ready? Reluctantly, she agreed.

It got quiet. The wind stopped and the traffic seemed to disappear. It was only her, I and the hill. It was time.

Not to be pessimistic, but at that point, I made a decision. We both head up alone. If someone goes down, they must continue without the other to safety. No use in both of us going down…

That’s when it happened. I heard a crash and saw Pam on the ground in my rear view mirror. I yelled “PPAAAMMM” as I quickly turned the corner to safety, parked and ran down the hill to save her.

She was okay! A little shook up, with some scraps and bruises but alright. My super hero complex kicked in (this is a confirmed trait I have from a personality test I did), I told Pam to walk up and I hopped on the bike and road it to safety.

We survived. Now the next question was – what about the bike? Our plan – drop that thing off as soon as possible and run away. Those scratches were there before, right?

We were like two pros pulling those bikes back into the resort. Took off our helmets and casually threw the keys in the return basket. It was “awesome” we yelled to the girl!

Then we ran as fast as we could to our room to assess Pam’s damage.

Needless to say – we are never renting a scooter ever again.

We appologise for lack of pictures taken during this adventure. First off, neither of us had any ability to take pictures while riding. Also, we forgot to take them earlier and after she fell and we got back to the guesthouse – we were not sticking around so anyone could see her battle wounds leading them to look closer at the bike. Even for a photo to prove it happened.

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