Ever thought about cycling in crowded Bangkok (Thailand)? No, me neither, but it is actually super fun to do! In this article I will tell you everything about my experience of cycling in Bangkok.
What to expect in this article
Cycling in Bangkok
Did you ever think about cycling in Bangkok? Neither did I.
When I was a bicycle tour guide in Sevilla, I often had my Dutch tourists telling me about how much they loved cycling in Bangkok. Especially because the organisation is created by a Dutchman and Dutchies are happiest while cycling!
But even if you are not Dutch, you can still join the tour as they are all in English.
Bangkok is a nice city to cycle in, especially during the morning, when the city is just waking up. And you don’t have to be too afraid of the traffic, as you will mostly be cycling through Chinatown.
Our group had 7 other Dutch people and my Taiwanese friend, so Co van Kessel definitely is very famous in the Netherlands. Our guides even managed to tell us a couple of Dutch words.
I recommend you do this tour in the morning when there is less traffic + it is not hot yet. In the summer months (I did a tour in August) it can get very warm during the day. I was already sweating in the morning.
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Your first stop on this tour in Bangkok will be in Chinatown. Did you know that this is the biggest Chinatown in Asia? Pretty cool right!?
You will cycle through all the small alleys (really small, sometimes I wasn’t sure if my bicycle would fit) and cross the market. Here you can be amazed by all the food the Chinese-Thai people sell.
As I didn’t want to collide with anyone in the market (with my bicycle) and it was a bit crowded, I did not check the food that much. But I did see some heads from a pig.
Next to that, I am always happy to see cats and I feel there are more cats in Bangkok than in India & Cambodia.
During the tour in Bangkok, we stopped at a small, but colourful temple which we also could enter (without locking our bicycles).
The guide told us some interesting facts, like Thai people still wear masks (Corona), while the government doesn’t make them wear them. This is all because many Thai people are not the richest and many lost their jobs during the lockdowns. This is also the reason why we had to wear a mask while cycling through Chinatown, but in other parts, we didn’t have to.
Almost everywhere I come in Bangkok, people wear masks.
I found this interesting, as I did not experience this in Cambodia and India, which I visited the weeks before that and I guess the poverty is kind of similar in those countries.
Temple: Wat Kalaya
After Chinatown, we cycled around the area of Thonburi and visited Wat Kalayanamit Woramahawihan.
A temple with a long name, but with an even taller Buddha. The statue is 10 meters wide and 14 meters high. It is incredible to see and very different from the giant laying Buddha statue at Wat Pho.
In front of the temple is a bell tower, which preserves Thailand’s biggest bell. On the video, you can see I am cautiously ringing it.
This temple is not very known and if we wouldn’t do the bicycle tour, we most likely would never have come here. So I am happy we had the chance to come here, it felt like we were in a quiet place of Bangkok.
Our snack break was really nice. For instance, we were sitting at a store of a local and the guides let us try all kinds of interesting Thai snacks. Fresh sticky rice, kroepoek, chips and some kind of waffles. The sticky rice was the stand-out dish and I will eat that again in Bangkok
We also had the chance to ask the guides from Co van Kessel a few more questions and to connect with the other tourists.
The guide told us that before Covid, the groups had a minimum of 14 people and tourists still haven’t returned in full glory like pre-covid.
Lastly, we did something pretty unusual; we used the water taxi to get back to the bicycle store.
I had used the water taxi in Bangkok before, also for free, but never thought I would take a bicycle on one! It was a nice change.
View as a former bicycle guide
Having been a bicycle tour guide, I looked at the tour from Co van Kessel a bit different than the others maybe. I gave very different kinds of tours. But different does not mean bad. I loved to add plentiful jokes and use the imagination of my guests so that whatever history I told, they would remember it more easily.
Our kind bicycle tour guide did not do that much, but what I loved about this tour is that we could enter so many places. You will stroll over the market in Chinatown, visit two very different temples, go on a boat…
During my tours in Sevilla, I was limited to 2 places, where I could let the tourists get off our bicycles and explore the area. Next to that, there was also enough space if you wanted to make a picture. I loved that, as I love to take pictures. During my tours, my guests didn’t have much opportunity for that, due to the time.
The only feedback that I have for Co van Kessel is to give more information. During my bicycle tours in Spain and also in India (Yes, I cycled in India!) we would stop at certain moments and we would get a bunch of information.
This is of course personal, but I prefer that because during this bicycle tour we were mostly cycling and only got a little information about the history.
During the break, we did have time to ask questions. Otherwise, I could have hired a bicycle and driven around Bangkok myself (which I would never do). That is the only feedback I have for them.
I am very pleased with the fact that we had two guides. Neither during the tour in Sevilla nor in India did we have that. Sometimes while crossing a major street, the guide at the back would come in front and help the others cross. During my own tour in Sevilla and also in Pondicherry (India) it was sometimes so crowded, that we could have used a different person. I loved this about the tour in Bangkok!
Information about the bicycle tour
This tour from Co van Kessel in Bangkok took 3 hours and cost 950 THB (26 euros).
The tours start at 8 AM and 14PM and you will cover 12KM. During the summer I would suggest the 8 AM one, as it can get pretty warm during the day.
We were a group of 9, all Dutch, and only my friend was Taiwanese.
Other bicycle tours at Co van Kessel
As mentioned on their website, Co van Kessel also offer other bicycle tours in Bangkok:
- 5 hours bicycle/boat tour: ‘Our tour will reveal the different faces of Bangkok. From bustling Chinatown to the quiet, and green plantations. We explore the ‘Venice of the East’ by longtail-boat and enjoy a tasty Thai-style meal.’ Costs 1850 Baht (50 euros).
- 3 hours bicycle tour by night: ‘This bike tour takes advantage of the cooler evening air. We explore Chinatown, Bangkok’s famous flower market, and head North alongside the Chao Phraya river towards the older part of Bangkok and her famous temples. We also cross the Chao Phraya River to visit local areas of Thonburi.’ Costs 950 Baht (27 euros).
- 9 hours bicycle/boat/ train tour: ‘For the hardy adventurer or for those who just wish to extend their bicycle tour experience a bit more. Join us for an all day exploration that will take us to the outskirts of Bangkok by way of classic railway and other local modes of transport . In between, pedal-power and longtail boats will bring us into a world of fascination far removed from central Bangkok and her traditional tourist sites.’ Costs 2300 Baht (63 euros).
- Lastly, they also offer tours in Chiang Mai (north of Thailand). So when you are planning to visit this famous place, you can also do it here. They offer 2 different tours, one 3 hours bicycle tour and one 4hours bicycle + food tour. Sounds like fun! I stumbled across the Co van Kessel store while I was in Chiang Mai and it is not difficult to find.
Contact Co van Kessel
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