When traveling through Thailand, chances are high that you’ll start your journey in the gigantic metropolis of Bangkok. With 10 million inhabitants, Bangkok is a massive city with many different faces. To truly get to know Bangkok and see its various sides, hop on a bike and join a bike tour. We loved cycling through the narrow streets of vibrant Chinatown and the green suburbs of Bangkok. You’ll pass numerous food stalls and see the famous Thai smile everywhere. With the bike tour, you’ll go off the beaten track and see Bangkok at its best!
How it all started about 30 years ago
Almost every Dutch person who has been to Thailand has heard of the late Co van Kessel. Co van Kessel was Dutch and lived in Bangkok. He had the brilliant idea of organizing bike tours through Bangkok. “Co spent thousands of hours on his mountain bike to learn the extensive network of local streets, alleys, footpaths, and canals between the main urban traffic arteries. He found a hidden world, hidden under the surface of modernization. A world where peace and tranquility still prevailed. A world where local people still led the traditional life that has remained largely unchanged for decades. A world largely unknown to outsiders.” He started mapping out the best bike routes and eventually, together with his wife, started “Co van Kessel Bangkok Tours”. Now, about 30 years later, these bike tours are still hugely popular.
The Various Bike Tours of Co van Kessel
There are currently four different bike tours to choose from. Each tour has something special to offer and allows you to experience the authentic Bangkok. You’ll see how the local people live and work, and sometimes even bike right through someone’s house. There are two beautiful 3-hour tours, one 5-hour tour that includes a portion on a boat, and for the most enthusiastic riders, there’s a 9-hour tour that involves taking the bike on both a boat and a train!
Our Experience with the Co Combi Tour
We thought we had seen a lot of Bangkok in previous years, but that turned out to be far from the truth. During our last visit to Bangkok, we decided to book the Co Combi tour after multiple travelers told us that it was one of the highlights of their trip. This 5-hour tour starts in Chinatown, one of Bangkok’s busiest neighborhoods. We began the tour at 7 o’clock in the morning and the temperature was perfect.
The first part of the bike tour took us through narrow alleyways and busy markets where we saw a lot of indescribable products. After about an hour of biking, we arrived at a particularly beautiful temple with an 18-meter-high Buddha statue. This is the tallest Buddha statue and the oldest family temple in Bangkok. There were no other travelers to be found. After a short bike ride, we continued on a long-tail boat. Here we saw how people live on the water in houses on stilts. Bangkok has a lot of canals and is sometimes called the “Venice of the East”. About 30 kilometers (18.6411 miles) outside the city, we went back on land and suddenly found ourselves in a completely different world. It was quiet and mostly green. There were no highways or tuk-tuks, but beautiful country roads with palm trees and many green plantations. Our view of Bangkok was completely changed by this bike tour and we discovered that there is still so much to explore in this amazing city!
If you want more information on the times, prices, and the different tours, check out the Co van Kessel website. There you can also find answers to frequently asked questions and view many more photos.