Cyclist aficionados looking for a different kind of cycling tour should check out the biking tours of Thailand. Taking a cycling across Thailand can be one of the best ways to see the country and learn the culture, yet still stay within a protected environment. While most tourists stick to the well-known destinations in and around Bangkok and Phuket, a cycling tour of Thailand will take you into the countryside, where you can speed down country roads, see magnificent landscapes, and meet Thai natives outside of the regular tourist hot-spot context.
There are several Thailand cycling tour companies available, run in many cases by westerners and expats who call Thailand home. Whether the tour operator is western or native Thai, they will be sure to take you to spots where most tourists will never set foot – yet another advantage of seeing Thailand by bicycle.
“Do I have to bring my bike?”
No, there's no need to bring your own bicycle with you unless you really want to. Good cycling companies will provide you with a bike, and they will clean and maintain that bike each day of the tour. The most common bike used by Thailand cycling tour companies tend to be TREK mountain bikes. These bikes handle both roads and rougher terrain comfortably.
If you're new to cycling in general, be sure to investigate what kind of bike the tour company has on offer. The difference between a good bike and a bike in need of repair can determine whether your cycling tour is enjoyable or miserable. Imagine biking miles each day on a bike with a shoddy seat, or one that's been improperly sized, for example!
“Where will I stay?”
Depending on the cycling tour company you choose, you will generally stay in clean, comfortable hotels. Don't expect high-end luxury resorts on a cycling tour of Thailand. In most cases, accommodation won't be 5-star, but it will still be acceptable. If you feel extra adventurous, you may choose a cycling tour company that will sometimes stay with a Thai family in a remote village location. While you may not be able to lounge by the pool or enjoy an in-house spa treatment, you will definitely get a much closer look at “real” Thai lifestyle, culture, and history.
“What will I see?”
As previously mentioned, a cycling tour of Thailand is a great way to get out into the countryside and see some of the sites most holidaymakers in Thailand will never get to see. Some cycling tours focus more on mother nature, taking you out into the hills of Thailand as you bike through lush tropical vegetation. Other tours focus more on human nature, taking you through Thailand's villages and smaller cities, where you'll get to sample true Thai cooking, and see monuments and architecture generally left out of major commercial tours of Thailand.
"Do I need to be an experienced cyclist?"
Absolutely not - most tour operators will offer a range of routes, and while some may be harder work than others most companies will be happy to tailor your tour to your level of fitness and experience. Cycling is a fantastic way to see a country; the pace is perfect for seeing plenty in one day without being so fast you miss the little details. Being outdoors and on a bike means you are more immersed in the surroundings than viewing it from a bus or motorbike, and it is much easier to interact with the people you pass in fields and villages.
“Is a cycling tour of Thailand right for me?”
A cycling tour of Thailand may not be for everyone. For example, if you're badly out of shape, or if you prefer comfort and relaxation over adventure then a cycling tour may not be for you. And if you are more interested in the bright lights of Bangkok than a starlit hill village, then a cycling tour may not be for you. But if you're in reasonable shape and want to see a completely different side of Thailand to what most tourists experience, a cycling tour is a great way to get to know the Thai kingdom.