Bicycling the backroads of Bangkok with Spice Roads — Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis
Thailand can be a pretty heavily over-touristed place, and it gets harder and harder to escape the hordes every year. All the more reason to get out on a trip with Spice Roads, a bicycle touring company based in Bangkok.
Spice Roads' motto is "see the world by bicycle," and they certainly live up to this creed, running bicycle trips throughout Thailand, Asia and several other spots around the world.
In Bangkok, the organization will take you to floating markets, alongside sleepy canal paths; out to visit the open green space of Bang Krachao; or over to car-free Koh Kret, an island in the Chao Phraya River known for its pottery.
Cycle with the elephants! — Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis
There are also one-day excursions around Chinatown, through historic old Bangkok and even up to the ancient capital of Ayutthaya, home to some of the best temple ruins and meandering riverside paths for some excellent riding.
Slightly further afield, Spice Roads has overnight trips up to the wine country in Khao Yai National Park, or out to trace the historical Burma Death Railway and accompanying sights in scenic Kanchanaburi. And for beach-lovers, there's a jaunt to the royal seaside escape of Hua Hin.
While there are other bicycle outfits in Thailand, Spice Roads runs highly professional and well-planned trips that feature well-trained professional and local guides who really know their stuff. Additionally, riders are provided with state-of-the-art bicycles that are tailor fit to each rider, plus helmets, water bottles and plenty of hydrating fluids for while you're on the road.
You can even tour the backwaters of Bangkok — Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis
Most trips feature several support vehicles: both a truck for transporting the bicycles, if needed, as well as a van for riders if they get too tired and want to take it easy. Breaks are set up at convenient and frequent intervals, where snacks, drinks and even cold towels are provided for folks to cool off, a real blessing in Thailand's hot and humid climate.
It's pretty cool to visit floating markets like Damnoen Saduak, arriving or departing on two wheels. While the market itself has become ultra-touristy, the meandering side roads along the canals don't see any tourists. Having the informative guides allows guests to gain access to and communicate in every little hamlet that riders stop in and learn a bit about the locals’ lives, not to mention they you never have to concentrate on navigating.
Much of the time, you'll be surprised to find yourself sailing along on almost deserted backroads, even getting off road through plantations on empty dirt tracks. Spice Roads has obviously done an extensive amount of planning and research to come up with their routes, and they make it a joy to ride a bike without having to worry about heavy traffic.
Bicycling is a great way to combine exercise, off-the-beaten-path travel and a real way to have a true local cultural experience. Spice Roads are great ambassadors of getting to know the locals and enjoying the open road in Thailand.
Find the roads less traveled with Spice Roads — Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis