The Unexpected Enchantment of a Bike Adventure in Bangkok

What a wonderful way to start a new year: exploring something new: for me, a solo female expatriate, a bike tour through the side alleys and guts of Bangkok’s Chinatown and ThonBuri district.

In retrospect, New Year Day is a great day to bike through frenetic Chinatown: a lazy day, where most people are hibernating and recovering, most businesses shut down, making navigating the very narrow alleyways, giant potholes, lazy breaks and sharp turns a bit easier for a novice biker. I decided to go on an action packed 1/2 day tour on a very hot New Year Day.

 

An action packed day so full of visual impressions and so little time to photograph the charm of the decay and urban grit.

Temple in Chinatown, Bangkok
Chinese temple in Bangkok

temple offering in Chinese temple in Bangkok

When we stopped at temples and the Chinese flower market we had a few photo opportunities….otherwise I was honestly clinging white knuckled onto the handlebars of my wobbly bike -at the end of the tour a few battle scar bruises later, having had a fantastic action packed experience and vivid memory for years to come.

img_0874Flower market in Chinatown, Bangkok on a lazy New Year Day
Flower market in Bangkok

I highly recommend this urban excursion. I honestly never ever thought of bicycling in Bangkok before-but never say never…. ! This is an amazing way to explore the gritty, charming urban decay, context and life in the exotic multilayered city away from the CBD and shiny malls. Very real and surreal at the same time.

Temple in ThonBuri, Bangkok

The ThonBuri experience was uniquely different; a sleepy tour through charming, laid back neighborhoods and stunning temple grounds, culminating in climbing up into a beautiful stupa across from the river. The brick construction was a stunning engineering creation.

The guided biketours by Van Kessel, a Dutch bike tour operator, gives you an amazing series of action shortcuts through the maze of Chinatown – and a very safe way for solo female travelers to explore the “darker” , lesser known, side of Bangkok, in good company. I love adventures and destineering, learning more of the local culture and local way of living. A few well-deserved scrapes were well worth the experience of scrambling the bike through the tight and narrow alley ways, banyan trees and gators.

Written by Zia Hansen. Photos by Zia Hansen

Celebrate New Year by Exploring a New Adventure

Longboat in Bangkok

New Year for most of us feel like a crossing time, a time for reflection. What will the new year bring? Opportunities, adventures, love and happiness?

One of my goals is to take the time to open my eyes and explore the richness of my local context. Urban adventures are so inspiring and enriching. Explore the galleries, the side alleys, the urban richness with all your senses: the gritty, the artsy and the beauty. Be an adventurer! Explore with all senses -plus explore the world through the lens of a smartphone.

Longboat in Bangkok

The day before the New Year 2016 I explored the “darker side” of Bangkok (meaning less known) by taking a 2 hour longboat ride of the lesser known Thonburi Khlongs around Chrak Phra on the opposite side of CBD (central business district). Under the King Taksin Bridge at the BTS station Saphan Taksin you will find numerous boat tour vendors, and if you are persistent in negotiating, and insisting you are not a tourist, you can get a great deal for a 2 hour shared long boat ride.

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