Jun 20 2011
Finding pleasant ways to be outside in Bangkok is a never-ending quest for me. It is humid, there are crowds, more often than not I have just sludged through an opaque ankle-deep puddle. With the goal of spending the day outside and making my way to new territory I spent a recent Sunday afternoon on a Bangkok bike tour, riding down back alleys in parts of town I had never seen.
There are many bike tour operations in Bangkok, but I joined an afternoon tour with the long-running ABC Amazing Bangkok Cyclist (we also featured these guys back in 2006). During a four-hour tour we covered a lot of ground. We started by meandering through the side streets near Thong Lo, one of Bangkok’s poshest neighbourhoods. From there we made our way to what can only be described as the exact opposite of Thong Lor: slums and shanties along the khlongs. We biked through shoulder-wide alleys that passed tiny houses and to a tucked-away market in Khlong Toey.
The highlight of the trip was loading the bikes onto a longtail boat and crossing the river to Bang Krachao, otherwise known as Bangkok’s “Green Lung”. This rural khlong community is completely overgrown with trees and jungle. The tour takes you on narrow elevated pathways through swamp and sleepy neighborhoods, a huge contrast from the city just 10 minutes’ away on the other side of the river.
It’s certainly possible to rent a bike and take this journey without a tour, but good luck not getting lost! Particularly in Bang Krachao it was invaluable to have a good bike and a knowledgeable guide to lead us through the maze. The tour covered many sides of Bangkok in a short amount of time and got off the beaten track and in touch with something hard to find in this urban hub: nature.
ABC Amazing Bangkok Cyclist is located on Sukhumvit Soi 26. Tours leave from the office and bikes, snacks and a guide are included. The company offers many half and full-day tours ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 baht per person. Morning tours leave at 08:00 and afternoon tours at 13:00. Reservations required.
T: (02) 665 6364
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