Road Warnings

Road Warnings Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan is a small Island, and the roads are not like the cities or like in Europe. In general the roads are not too bad and the past few years the roads have been upgraded in places with new laid cement, sign posts are rare and in some parts of the Island we have street lamps. The roads do not have white lines down the middle on a lot of the roads.

Roads in General

The roads on Koh Phangan are cement roads, not tarmac. Therefore not as smooth as tarmac, and in some parts you get cracks, drops in levels, and different levels across the road. Some of the new updated roads across Phangan are improved and well sign posted with warnings for sharp bends and descents.

Steep Hills

Across the Island and to access to some resorts or beaches you will face steep descents, which is easy go down providing you use plenty of braking. Coming back up can sometimes be difficult depending on the gradient of the hill. A classic example is the road to Haad Rin, this has very steep hills and at one point it’s so steep your bike will run out of steam, especially if you are carrying an extra passenger. Some of the newer bikes and a bike with over 150cc will go up with no problem. However some bikes struggle. Keep your line, don’t weave over the road to gain power to get up the hill, cars come fast up the hill and you can easily create an accident. If your bike loses all power, you may need to get off and push it up, this is not easy. Other option is to go back down so far and get a good run at the hill.


The weather on Phangan changes very quickly from heavy rain to bright sunshine is very common. A lot of areas at the side of roads have lose ground, sand and soil, with lots of rain and floods lots of sand and other debris get onto the road. When water and sand together they create a muddy trap.

When the sun comes out and the road dries, it leaves sand on the roads, this sand becomes like thousands of tiny marbles. Its builds up in parts of the road. Hitting this on a bend is lethal as the tires on scooters are designed for smooth roads and not dirt roads. Your bike will literally slide from underneath you. Slowing down makes a difference and avoiding the sand.


After heavy rain the roads sometimes flood and pot holes get covered in water or hidden under the water. Warning to go slow during rain and a rain storm. If riding during the rain, we recommend a helmet with visor! You will see many Thai’s holding one hand above their eyes during the rain and only have one hand to control the bike. Two hands on your scooter is a lot better and safer, and a helmet with visor works great in the rain. You will see many times people wearing large plastic jackets in the rain, and sometimes these jackets cover the brake lights and indicators on a scooter. Be advised not to do this when you ride with a large plastic anorak, the traffic behind will not know what your next road action will be and if you are following someone wearing a large plastic rain coat you will know exactly what we mean.

Another common incident on the roads, is people on scooters avoiding puddles, crazy as it may seem but people will avoid a puddle at all cost. As a car driver I have had many scooter riders go to the other side of the road to avoid a puddle and be in the path of oncoming traffic, causing the oncoming traffic to brake. Slow down, hitting a puddle is better than hitting another car.

Speeding after and during rain is also very dangerous, some standing water on roads can be deeper than expected causing the front wheel to aqua plain across the puddle, or even jolt the front wheel. Caution when riding during rain or after rain.

Pot Holes

Often you will come across pot holes in the road, depending on the size, hitting one of these on a bike, can throw you off the bike. Ride with caution!

Dark Roads – Non lit Roads

A lot of roads around Phangan are not lite up like in Europe. Therefore are very dark. Very common to have people walking late at night, if you are not aware you can easily bump into someone om some of the sharp bendy roads. Dogs are also common at night or the early hours of the morning. Hitting a dog on a scooter is very common and can lead to a nasty accident.

Other vehicles

Other road user’s especially larger vehicles, cars and pick-up trucks will always try to pass you when you are on a scooter. Being aware of vehicles coming behind you is the key thing here, use your mirrors. Other vehicles can approach fast from behind and over take you, catching you off guard, the wind and dust from the other vehicle can be off putting on your riding and cause you to lose control.

Taxi drivers here on Koh Phangan especially during high season and full moon party week tend to go a lot faster on the roads, because the faster they are the more business the can get from collecting people. Taxis will cut corners and because they know the roads they will be going extremely fast. Be aware of oncoming traffic during these times, keep to your left.

Parking your scooter

People think they can just put there scooter anywhere. Its not the case, private land, beaches, on sharp bends, in front of markets, are all prohibited for parking a scooter. Use your common sense. Park safely, park where you do not obstruct other road users and park somewhere where you know your bike is safe.

Don’t park under a coconut tree! Sounds crazy on Island that is covered in them, but a coconut falling out of a tree can really damage a bike.

Don’t leave your keys in the bike and don’t leave valuables under the seat. It’s very easy to open the seat without the key.



Would Getting Motorcycle Insurance Help Me?

I’ve researched insurance options for renting a motorbike in Thailand and found no good options. The universal answers are as follows:

You need an international motorcycle license to file a claim. Most Western licenses, such as the American Class C license, specifically exclude motorcycles. An insurance company would not pay a claim for you operating a motorcycle or scooter without a license.
Insurance companies do not offer scooter insurance to international travelers—you are expected to pay for damages out of your pocket.