Cycling – a different way to travel in Thailand

If you’re looking for adventure on your next holiday to Thailand, why not consider a cycle tour?

Photo credit: © Tourism Authority of Thailand.

By travelling on two wheels you get to experience Thailand’s beautiful countryside and culture up close, and you’ll also become fitter in the process!

Cycling in Bangkok

Looking at the traffic in Thailand’s very busy capital city Bangkok, you may be forgiven for thinking that cycling here must only be for the truly obsessed (or mad!).

However, the countryside and jungle just outside Bangkok is easily accessible by bicycle and there are a number of organised tours you can book. This is a great way to escape the bulk of tourists and get to see a different aspect of this fascinating city.

For instance, www.bangkok.com details four popular cycling tours around Bangkok: a 1-day gentle ride through countryside to the famous Damnoen Nam Saduak floating market; a 1-day trip into the Bangkok countryside which gives you a glimpse of traditional Thai lifestyle and culture; a half-day tour of Bangkok’s Chinatown, including visits to famous landmarks such as The Grand Palace; and a 1-day Ayutthaya cycling tour where you get to explore many historic temples by foot and bike.

Here’s a short video from our Thailand Reunited YouTube channel which gives you an insight into a cycle tour to Ayutthaya:

For a more detailed account of what cycling in Bangkok can be like, we’d recommend you read experienced traveller Backpacker Becki’s blog post of a recent 6-7 hour cycle Bangkok countryside tour. Her tour was organised by Grasshopper Adventures, which also offers a night bike tour of Bangkok – a unique experience!

Photo credit: www.backpackerbecki.com

Independent cycling tours

Most towns in Thailand will have local bike hire shops where you can hire bikes, helmets and other biking equipment from as little as 50p per day to bike around at leisure. This means you can simply go for a ride as the mood takes you to explore the surrounding area and get off the tourist track.

The really adventurous will probably want to do a bit more than explore the area they’re staying in – they’ll want to travel independently and make up their own itinerary to cover specific areas of Thailand.

If this sounds like you, then check out American travellers Amanda and Rich Ligato’s website – www.vwvagabonds.com.  They have cycled extensively through Thailand and their website offers some useful basic information about travelling on Thailand’s roads, a brief insight into Thai culture, and, of course, some essential cycling tips.

A tip we like is to use a handle-bar mirror to keep an eye on motorists and the scooters that zip in and out of traffic.  You can get mirrors that unclip so that they can be easily moved from side to side.

Of course, you should always familiarise yourselves with the rules of the road, wear helmets, take plenty of water with you on your cycle trips, and always lock up your bike when you stop to shop or sight-see.

Organised cycle tours of Thailand

For many people, whatever their level of fitness and prowess on a bicycle, a preferred option is to be part of a more organised and structured cycling tour of Thailand. Specialist companies, such as SpiceRoads Cycle Tours provide a range of expert-led Thai cycling experiences tailored to suit your level of fitness, as well as where you want to go and what you want to see along the way.

Photos of SpiceRoads Cycle Tours - Chiang Mai Day Tours, Chiang MaiThis photo of SpiceRoads Cycle Tours – Chiang Mai Day Tours is courtesy of TripAdvisor

SpiceRoads has been operating bicycle tours in Thailand since 2003 and offer 100 different cycling itineraries around Thailand to 19 destinations. For example you can choose to cycle all the way from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or Phuket.

They won’t take the leg-work out of the actual cycling, but because they look after all the details such as food and accommodation, you’re free to really enjoy the experience. In addition, the emphasis is on responsible travel so while travellers get an authentic experience, the local communities also benefit.

Win a cycling holiday in Thailand with Sean Kelly

In February 2014, SpiceRoads Cycle Tours is organising a special tour of Thailand from Bangkok to Phuket with cycling legend Sean Kelly. To celebrate this special event (it will be Sean Kelly’s first cycle ride in Thailand), SpiceRoads and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in the UK is offering a spot on the 860-km ride worth ₤3,000!

The 6-day tour departs Bangkok on January 31 and ends in Phuket on February 7. If you’re a cycling fanatic then this is the competition for you! To enter, click here.

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