How About Some Bangkok Biking Adventures?
Can you ride a bicycle in Bangkok? The answer surprisingly is, yes. There are even some cycle lanes in certain areas and some of the biking best organized tours in the world. In areas such as Banglamphu near the famous Khaosan road there are cycle lanes painted on the side of the road these are fairly easy to follow and will mean you wont get lost but there are some problems. Most of the cycle lanes are parked on with cars which can result in having to ride into on coming traffic so the best thing to do is ride carefully on the foot path to be safer.
Main roads. The main roads are always busy and can be dangerous for a cyclist but you will often see the locals on bikes peddling sausages or lottery tickets etc . If you do ride on the big roads then try to keep to the left and always remember the rule ‘ the biggest has right of way’.
Where Are The Best Places To Ride A Bike In Bangkok?
You can go for Bangkok biking in the various parks available in the city. One of the biggest and nicest parks is at Phuttamonton Sai 3 there are quiet roads to follow through the park with lakes and lots of wildlife to see, there is also a 7km mountain bike trail to follow.
Another largest park in Bangkok, and the 2nd most visited, although visited more by locals than foreigners, Rot Fai is a great place to jump in the saddle of your bike and cycle a few laps. Parts of Rot Fai Park barely seem like it’s in a city at all, with large trees, ponds and large grassy areas, adjoining the park is the Queen Sirikit botanical garden as well as the world famous Jatujak Park and market.
A lap of Rot Fai Park is around 3km (there are several variations of the route around the park) and for those cycling in the evening, most areas are lit, although some areas remain in the dark so lights are recommended. There are a number of popular restaurants in the parking area of Rot Fai park, and if you do not have your own bike, you can rent a basic bicycle for 20THB for as long as you like. This is arguably the best park in Bangkok for cycling and cycling groups are often seen here in the evenings timing each other for laps. It is also very popular among recreational cyclists as there are no time limits as for other parks.
Bangkok biking can also be enjoyed in Lumpini Park, which is the 2nd largest park in Bangkok, and the most visited, thanks to it’s proximity in downtown Bangkok. Surrounded by the main business districts of Bangkok, the backdrop of gleaming offices and hotels is impressive, and the park is well maintained. A number of activities are popular in Lumpini Park, in particular running, aerobics and fitness. As a result of the large number of people, cycling times are limited to ‘off peak’ times to avoid accidents, and is prohibited in the evenings. Despite this, the 3km circuit in this great park is recommended for cycling fans.
Another park in downtown Bangkok, located near Asok BTS and MRT station is the Queen Sirikit Park or Wachira Benchathat Park as it is formally known. This park is smaller than Rot Fai and Lumpini Parks, with a circuit of 2km, however what makes this park interesting is that there is a little known elevated path running from Lumpini to Queen Sirikit Park so cyclists can combine the two parks without having to navigate the Bangkok traffic. The park is very scenic and well maintained, and like the others has a lake in the centre, with rowing boats available for rent.
Other good places for Bangkok biking adventures are the local sois (lanes) these places are usually quiet and don’t have much traffic and can follow narrow roads and Klongs (canals). You will often see small shops to buy refreshments if needed. You could almost mistake yourself for being in another city in some sois. The noise from the traffic is lost and trees and local Thai houses make good scenery.
There are also tour companies that can take you on short trips. These trips take you over bridges down local sois and through temples avoiding the main roads. Some are at night and some are combined with long tail boat rides.
Looking For More Challenge? Try Mountain Bike Trails Near Bangkok
Avid cycling fans have developed and routed a number of trails within a short driving distance of Bangkok that make for a fun day out.
Khao Ito is perhaps the most famous mountain biking day trip from Bangkok for good reason. Located on the outskirts of Khao Yai, one of the oldest and largest National Parks in Thailand, Khao Ito is a small mountain with dozens of trails suitable for XC mountain biking, all of which are well maintained so that you don’t spend half the time pushing through brush or getting lost.
The downhill from the top of the mountain is a good 10 minutes non stop pure adrenaline rush and there is the added bonus of a car park, restaurant and scenic lake at the base. Khao Ito is located 2-3 hours North East of Bangkok, depending on traffic conditions making a trip to this trail a full day out.
Khao Mai Keaw
Located in Chonburi province, 1-2 hours from Bangkok, Khao Mai Keaw or Tam Pratoon as it is also known is another well known mountain biking track in Thailand that is popular with XC riders. Although the maximum elevation is not high, there are some nice downhill sections and a good combination of terrain and variety of trails to make this a great mountain biking track. Khao Mai Keaw is located on the Eastern seaboard of Thailand, also within close proximity of Pattaya and Rayong.
Wat Suwankhiri is situated on a small mountain in Chachoensao province, East of Bangkok. The trail starts in the grounds of a temple (Wat means temple in Thai), and forms a 10km loop around the mountain which can be done either clockwise for fast downhill sections, or counter-clockwise if more technical uphill is your thing.
Few people make it out here so it is likely you will have the trail to yourself but the journey will be worth it as you cycle through jungle and bamboo plantations through some exciting single track. The trail is an hour and a half from Bangkok and lies just off the main road connecting Prachinburi and Chonburi.
Khao Yai Da
One of a number of mountain biking trails in Rayong, Khao Yai Da is a dream for downhill fans featuring huge jumps, ramps, drop-offs, berms and fast decents all packed within this short 2km downhill trail. Downhill fans park their cars at the bottom and cycle/push their bikes up a paved road up the mountain to the start of the downhill before the quick descent to the bottom and often repeat several times.
Khao Yai Da is not recommended for novices despite trails going around some of the ramps, and the cushioned trees give an indication as to how dangerous this trail can be. Reaching Khao Yai Da is quite a drive from Bangkok in the region of 4 hours, however an early start and a combination with other trails in the area can make it worth the effort.
Perhaps the most accessible mountain biking track from Bangkok, Khao Kheow is in Chonburi province, around 1 hour from Bangkok and situated near the Khao Kheow Open Zoo and Flight of the Gibbon, two popular tourist destinations in the area.
There are various mountain biking trails in Khao Kheow suitable for XC enthusiasts and a number of different terrains, from riding through farms and forest, to open mountain top and fields. A bike ride at Khao Kheow can be accomplished in half a day leaving plenty of time to explore the open zoo or even do some ziplining!
Things To Know Before Attempting Bangkok Biking Adventures
Although many people may feel that bicycling in Bangkok is not a tenable proposition, it can be done with relative safety and offers much convenience for many excursions that would be time-consuming and exhausting if done by foot.
Bangkok has made a weak attempt at supporting bicycles by sporadically marking sidewalk lanes for bikes, allowing bicycles on the MRT (subway), the BTS (SkyTrain), and riverboats. However, the MRT and riverboats require that the bicycle be of the foldable type and be folded to be allowed aboard. Also, there is a long elevated walkway that links the north end of Lumpini Park with Sukumvit Soi 10 which provides a convenient, safe and fast transit between Lumpini Park and the lower Sukumvit area.
Right of Way
The general right of way rule in Thailand is that the largest/heaviest vehicle has the right of way; pedestrians have the lowest. In short, “if it’s bigger than you, it will kill you unless you get out of its way”. My rule is to give right of way to all vehicles and pedestrians. This prevents unwanted confrontations with both vehicles and pedestrians. This applies especially to sidewalks, since many sidewalks are marked with a bicycle lane.
Although many sidewalks are marked with about a 1 meter wide bike lane, the use of the lanes by bikes is so light that it is often cluttered with mobile vendors and pedestrians.
Often, in tourist areas especially, the sidewalks have vendors and pedestrians so it is difficult to continue riding safely, so the bicycle should be walked or the sidewalk abandoned for the street.
The Bicycle Bell
It is often important to let a pedestrian know that you are approaching from behind by using the bell as far away as possible so that they have time to recognize it and act accordingly… if they hear it, that is.
Sidewalks or Street?
Because of the crowded or poor conditions of many sidewalks, it is often necessary to alternate between the sidewalk and street. This is especially true when trying to make the best time in a trade-off with safety. Some street traffic conditions are potentially unsafe due to high-speed traffic and the fact that dedicated bike lanes in Bangkok are rare. The buses are the biggest offenders with their seemingly oblivious attitude and frequent stops. From both safety and rapid transit perspectives, gridlocked traffic is the best for a bicycle on the street.
These are probably the most dangerous part of bicycling. The advantage the cyclist has, is that he or she can decide to cross an intersection as either a pedestrian or a vehicle depending on the situation.
Where to Buy Bicycles in Bangkok
Amorn, Fortune Town
Pro Bike, 237 Soi 2, Sarasin Road, between Rajadamri Road and Langsuan Road, west of Lumpini Park
AiMbike, 62/10 Soi Chaengwattana-Pakkred17, Chaeng Wattana Road, opposite Central Chaeng Wattana Department store
Craig’s List Thailand
All types are available, including very expensive, for example a 300,000 THB high-performance model at Pro Bike.
2,500 THB – 10,000 THB (Low Range)
7,000 THB – 24,000 THB (foldable/mountain)
25,000 THB – 300,000 THB (high end)
Elevated Pedestrian and Bicycle Walkway
This is a metal structure about 3 to 5 metres or more above ground level. It is about one kilometre long, starts at the base of Sukhumvit Soi 10 and ending at the north-east corner of Lumpini Park. It is quite wide, maybe 10 meters, and is divided into a pedestrian part and a bicycle part. The times that I have been on it, it was almost totally empty with never more than 5 people walking and one cyclist; it seems most people are unaware of its existence.
Stairways up to the overpass have a ramp to allow bicycles to be pushed or ridden up, but they are a bit steep; you will need strong legs and/or a multi-gear bike to ride up.
If you use this overpass to get to Lumpini, you end up at the intersection of Sarasin Road and Wireless Road. The gate to Lumpini is to the left (south), about 60 or 70 meters along Wireless Road, just past the school.
For the intrepid, bicycling in Bangkok offers an attractive alternative to walking or incurring the cost and lack of spontaneity or control of using taxis, motorbikes, and tuk tuks. Bicycling is very good for short-range shopping trips or getting to know the local neighborhood. Consider it as a sort of ‘high-speed’ walking with the option to actually walk, if so desired.
With the allowance of foldable bicycles on MRT (subway), BTS (SkyTrain elevated railway), riverboats, and buses, the same advantages can be had for long-range trips or trips anywhere in Thailand.
Can you ride a bicycle in Bangkok? Where are the best places to ride? You have all the answers now, Bangkok biking adventures are awaiting for you this!
Visit the Trip and Tour category to explore more travel tours, tour companies and adventure trips available which fit your interests!