Biking is probably one of the most effective ways to discover the life and the culture of a foreign country and its people.
I experienced a biking tour that is incomparable to other biking tours in Bangkok, Thailand. As someone who loves taking the off beaten path, it is safe to say that Co Van Kessel is the best one out there.
Their concept is to show you the real Bangkok. You wouldn’t battle the crowds at clichéd destinations promoted in guide books, but turn your attention to quaint local communities and charming excursions into the fascinating lifestyle and culture of real Thai people.
I have done the Co Classical 3-Hour Bicycle Tour. They have two timings which are from 8:00AM to 11:00AM and from 2:00PM to 5:00PM. I chose the latter as it’s very likely that it would be busier which is best if you want to see more people behind one of the most visited cities in the world.
Before the tour starts, they will let you choose your bike. They will adjust the seat depending on your height. They will give a quick briefing for a smooth and safe biking around the city.
We went to China Town and visited one of the local temples. Do you want to know why ladies need to wear sarong before entering? Because ladies are too sexy for the Buddha. Just kidding! That was actually a joke made by our tour guide, Sandy. Everyone must wear either pants or skirts below the knee to show respect.
We continued our tour winding through narrow streets and alleyways. You’ll definitely see the real Bangkok. You will see how locals spend their daily lives.
One of our stops was a junk yard where an old lady lives and takes care of her cats. Oh bless her.
We passed through local wet markets on our bike. You will see people preparing flowers that are used for the rituals and few women chopping gingers all day.
We tried their local street food along the way. And who would want to miss trying their ever famous Mango Sticky Rice? I could eat them all day.
We passed by shophouses selling everything from Buddhist amulets to recycled truck engines. Locals worshiping at hidden temples, ritual paper burnings, and the omnipresent spirit house display evidence of a culture centuries in the making.
We saw some locals getting their haircut done under the bridge. If I had time I would’ve stopped by to get mine done, too.
We loaded our bicycles on the boat to cross the river to see another temple. We were taught how to prepare the lotus bud for offering. I did pretty well, didn’t I?
People of Thailand never fail to amaze me. They always manage to put smile on their faces. They are still one of the most resilient people I know.
We stopped by a local mini market to have some snacks after long hours of biking. We stayed for few minutes for a quick rest.
We pedaled through busy highways before reaching another boat station. We loaded our bikes for the last time and unloaded them across the river. That marked the end of our tour.
The tour was definitely not for everyone. It may not be your idea of vacation. It will be sweaty, stinky, dirty and tiring but if you’re the type of person who wants to see the real side of Bangkok, you definitely shouldn’t miss this. You only need to spare 3 hours of your time and it is definitely worth it.
Our tour guides Sandy and New York did a really good job in showing us the side of Bangkok that most tourists will probably never get to see. They’re extremely funny and speak English really well.
- Experienced local guides
- Mountain bike or standard city bike
- Child/adult helmets (if desired)
- Refreshing drinks & snacks en route
- Ferry boat river crossing
You can find more information and tour options through the below contact details:
Tel: +66 (0)2 639 7351
Fax: +66 (0)2 639 7358
We aim not to bore you with talk, but to immerse you in an experience where your individual fascinations emerge.
Bicycles, boats, and our feet become the tools we use to gain access to the previously inaccessible, behind-the-scenes lifestyle of the Thai. Here the roots of an ancient culture will become evident in a way you never could have imagined.
-Co Van Kessel
DISCLAIMER: The whole tour was sponsored by Co Van Kessel and I’m absolutely thankful for this opportunity. Rest assured, as always, all thoughts that are expressed in this article are fully my own.