I love to cycle a city almost as much as I love to walk it and was thrilled to join Spice Roads Cycling Adventures for their half-day Bangkok Jungle tour, spending the morning weaving through the green zone Bang Kra Gao or as it’s known to the locals, the Bangkok lung, for bringing fresh air to the city.
Thailand’s capital attracts plenty of tourists to its markets, shopping and temples and is a bustling metropolitan where modern meets the traditions of old. On a Bangkok cycle tour you find beautiful temples next to the metro station and traditional Thai floating markets around the corner from mainstream supermarkets. All without the barrier of a bus of car, but rather with every sense exposed and heightened.
Starting the tour at their offices on Sukhumvit Road, we cycled a short section in the city before crossing the Chao Phraya River, riding along very narrow roads and pathways, through alleys, gardens and wooden walkways in the jungle, covering a distance of about 25km. There are no hills although some of the canal paths were elevated and quite narrow and wouldn’t suit anybody with a fear of heights or that is still wobbly on a bike.
This amazing wilderness that can only be reached by boat is incredibly untouched by developers and crossing the river is like taking a journey back in time. You will find a peaceful place with lush vegetation, a maze of waterways, small villages, temples and real tropical jungle. If it weren’t for Bangkok’s skyline, you would never believe you were so close to the city.
The ride took us through the local communities with a stop at the schools before we continued to a delightful floating market (open weekends only) and to have something to eat at the river pier across from Thailand’s naval academy.
We stopped at a fascinating temple built in the Ayutthaya period with a unique roof made of teak wood and windows and shutters painted in ancient Mon-style; the grand Buddha image was brought to the site by the Mons. This 1780 Bangnamphuengnok Buddhist Temple is no longer in use but beautiful and well cared for and found in the Prapadang district. Of the three branches of Buddhism, this is the Thai way of seeking Nirvana.
We then cycled on to the relaxing Sri Narkon Park that was built for Princess Sirinthorn’s visit before reluctantly heading back to the Spice Roads offices bringing our circular tour to an end. I could have kept going.
Cycling the city truly offers a different perspective and I would recommend it to any visitor to Bangkok.
Watch my video from Cycling the Bangkok Jungle– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wljTCxXFPY
Some useful information:
– If you are terrified of heights or otherwise unstable while riding a bike you might want to reconsider before booking this particular tour
– The group size varies from 1 to a maximum of 16.
– Water, soft drinks and snacks are included and Spice Roads supplies the bike and helmet.
– Pick up from and drop off at Bangkok hotels is available for a private tour. Connect with Spice Roads to make these arrangements.
– It’s going to be hot so wear a hat and take a water bottle if you can. Don’t worry about the distance, you do cover quite a lot but there are loads of stops and the bikes are incredibly comfortable.
Other half or full day tours in Bangkok include the following:
– Cycle Chinatown – Explore Bangkok’s mysterious Chinatown crossing the river to visit the historic sites of Thonburi district, the multicultural city of Chinese, Thai, and Portuguese.
– Bangkok Sunset Ride – Cycle through Rattanakosin Island and watch the sunset in the ancient heart of the city, visit Bangkok famous attractions and the biggest vibrant flower market.
– Historic Ayutthaya – Cycle through the crumbling ruins of Ayutthaya, the former capital of Siam, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
– Bangkok Countryside – Experience Thai life along the San Saeb Canal, cycle through rice paddies and visit the home of the giant flying fox, taking a boat ride for a close-up view of Thai village life.
– Explore Bangkok of Old – Discover Bangkok’s hidden temple, cycle through local communities, visit a gold leaf workshop and the unique National Museum of Royal Barges passing numerous small villages and cycling on the car-less island of Koh Kret.
About Spice Roads Cycling Adventures:
Spice Roads Cycle Adventures believes that seeing the world by bicycle is the best way to travel and have been leading bicycle tours in South East Asia since 1995 and in Bangkok since 2003. They now offer more than 120 different itineraries in over 25 destinations as the demand for cycle tours continues to grow. The tours are for all levels of cyclists and all types of cycling from casual, mountain or road biking. What remains consistent is the passion for cycling and the love of being active while discovering cultures, fabulous food and new destinations.
Learn more about this and other Spice Roads Cycling Adventures tours on offer here: http://www.spiceroads.com/tours/bangkok_jungle