Having tried a walking tour and a tuk-tuk tour, it was only right, in the spirit of exploring my adopted city, that I try a bicycle tour. A friend of mine here in Bangkok had raved about Co Van Kessel and particularly their 5-hour combo bike and boat tour. We chose to do the morning tour to try and avoid the warmest time of the day but this did mean an early start to be at the Co Van Kessel offices ready for a 7am departure! This particular tour was 1650 baht per person payable at the end.
We were in a group of 14 and were met by our lovely guides (apologies if my spelling is totally off) Tammy and Ginny who went over the safety rules told us to say hello to everyone and keep a smile on our faces! We were told not to take photos as we rode but to stop if we wanted to. We chose our city bikes which were really comfortable and set off into the bustling early morning streets of China Town. At some points, the alleys did get narrow and hectic but we had been encouraged to get off an push if needed which was all did at points!
We ventured slowly to the river where our group and our bikes got onto a boat to take us to the other side to Chonburi, Bangkok’s old town. Here we cycled through the laid-back streets where life seemed to slow down a bit and visited a very peaceful temple.
Next, we loaded onto two long tails where we wound through the khlongs and quickly discovered where Bangkok gets into nickname ‘Venice of the east’. It was incredible to see the communities where life has changed very little and is still very traditional with people often living in wooden houses on stilts over the water.
Our boat journey lasted about 40 minutes and led us deep into rural Bangkok, we got back on our bikes and headed into the Green Lung area which is predominantly jungle, where we cycled along raised pathways through the tranquil, lush landscape. We also stopped for a fabulous Thai lunch prepared single-handedly by a lovely Thai lady which we ate in a little rickety restaurant next to the pretty canal.
Our return leg took us back onto our boats and onto the huge Chao Phraya river and back across to Chinatown where we stumbled into a Korean Vegetarian festival that overwhelmed the senses with intense and vibrant colours!
I thoroughly enjoyed the Co Van Kessel bike tour; it was very well organised and our guides kept us safe and on track whilst being knowledgeable about the areas and sights we were passing. It was fab to visit some areas of Bangkok that a tourist or expat are unlikely to see and I will definitely be taking other visitors on this tour or one of the many others offered by Co Van Kessel. If you’re not a confident cyclist they also offer walking and canal tours.