by Nancy Bestor
Bangkok is busy seemingly at all times of the day and night. Like many other Asian cities, locals seem to live a lot of their lives outdoors. Thus people are everywhere, and when you combine that with the tuk-tuks, taxi’s, autos, delivery trucks, motorbikes and more, the city is bustling.
So a night bicycle tour of Bangkok, although rated easy due to its flat terrain and approximately eight miles of riding, is a bit challenging. But based on the experience Bob and I had on the tour earlier this year, it is very much worth the challenge.
We booked our evening tour through Grasshopper Adventures. The three and a half hour experience cost about $36 per person, and included a mountain bike with lights, helmet, guide, water, snacks, and insurance. The tour got rolling around 6pm, and right off the bat our “peleton” of ten cyclists was riding down busy alleys and narrow paths. Cars and people didn’t really move out of the way for us, so we had to ride somewhat aggressively (a little hard for me) to maintain our position on the roads.
We took our bikes on the ferry across the Chao Phraya River, Thailand’s biggest river, and traveled the back roads to Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn, and Wat Pho. Along the way we were cheered by children playing in the streets, high-fived by security officers, and gawked at by more than a few locals. It was awesome. A nighttime visit to the temples of Bangkok is a special experience. There are few, if any, tourists, and their stunning architecture is lit up to highlight ornate carvings and vivid colors.
We also rode our bikes to, and even through, the Bangkok Flower Market (Pak Khlong Talat). It’s open 24 hours, but is busiest at night, when hoteliers and restauranteurs travel from far and wide to purchase flowers for their establishments. The market was stunning, and we rode our bikes directly through some of its warehouses before parking on the street and walking the rest for a slightly slower and up close experience of its stalls. We also ate some delicious chicken satay from a street vendor.
We rode down narrow alleys that would be difficult to navigate without a guide and Bob and I even got lost at one point. We had stopped to take a photo of a temple, and before we knew it, the rest of our group and guide was gone. We quickly pedaled one way and then another down a street outside the temple, but to no avail. A kind Thai woman hollered at us and pointed in the direction that our tour had gone, and we found our way back to the rest of our people.
This tour was definitely a highlight of our Bangkok stay, and it showed us another side of this busy city. I’m not sure I’d want to commute by bike in Bangkok, but I’d highly recommend a night tour by bike with Grasshopper Adventures.