Bangkok bike tour

The Big Mango on two wheels

What we say: 3.5 stars

Finding pleasant ways to be outside in Bangkok is a never-ending quest. It's humid, there are crowds, more often than not I've 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.

Beats the mall.

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 Lor, 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 Toei.

The highlight was loading the bikes onto a longtail boat and crossing the river to Bang Kachao, otherwise known as Bangkok’s “Green Lung”, a designated agricultural area in Phra Phradaeng. This rural community is completely overgrown with jungle and orchards. 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.

Keeping balanced in Bangkok's "Green Lung"

It’s certainly possible to rent a bike and take this journey without a tour, but good luck not getting lost! Particularly in Bang Kachao 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. If you want to shop around, other bike tour operators include Follow Me and Bangkok Vanguards. Last updated: 5th March, 2015

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