Mountain bikes are available for hire at numerous places around the
island, just don't expect any recognizable brand names. That said, the local
brand bikes are perfectly suitable for a day out tackling the terrain.
If you fancy an endurance test, then a simple circular route around the
island probably suffices. Just remember to give yourself at least four or
five hours, an make sure you're back before dark. Samui's roads are
hair-raising at the best of times at night on a bicycle with no lights
they're downright terrifying. Heading south from Chaweng presents the most
arduous part of the journey - the steep hills between Chaweng and Lamai -
out of the way first. From then on the road is relatively flat until north
of Nathon, when easier gradients but longer hills lay in wait.
For more variable terrain, head inland. One of the best spots is the Mae Nam
Valley area. Simply head down the road next to Angela's Bakery. You'll some
challenging technical downhill's and up hills through coconut groves and
farmland. A compass might be a good idea, and try not to ride over
For real suspension- testing action, the road leading up to Wanorn
Waterfall, south of Nathon, is heavy going and recommended only for the
exceptionally fit. The road actually starts off in pretty good condition,
but deteriorates at a rapid rate as you climb to the 205m high point. By the
end, you're dodging boulders, negotiating slippery mud and cycling up a 1:4
gradient perilously close to the edge of a ravine. The views are spectacular
from the top, and there's always a chance of a refreshing swim. You are
guaranteed to break a sweat. So if this sounds too much like hard work, then
it's probably best to stick to elephants.