The crown jewel to some, the salty underbelly to others, either way Bangkok is one of the most dominant cities in Asia. The sprawling metropolis is made up of 8 million people all crammed along the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Central Thailand. The city is a bustling spectacle of everything Thai — the markets spill out onto the roadways, the rivers, and most of the parks, making it an incredibly rewarding city to explore. The sheer number of markets, malls, temples, palaces, parks, shrines, and back-alley bars would take one a lifetime to explore. The capital city of Thailand saw massive growth throughout the 20th century without much of a planning backbone, so the city has become known for its labyrinth-like streets and epic traffic. However, this makes the city much more accessible than one would think for those willing to cycle it.

Historic Chinatown is a great place to begin your adventures, as tour operators will take you through the labyrinth of alleyways and markets to discover a mysterious and elusive side of Bangkok. Amidst the sprawling shopping malls and congested housing complexes, there are a number of significant cultural and historic sites, and a good tour operator will help you make the most of your time there. Whether you’re looking for royal palaces, grand effigies of Buddha, hidden gardens, or anything else Siam, it can be found in Bangkok.

Once you’ve had your fill of the ‘Big Mango’ there are a variety of single day and multi-day trips that leave right from the city. These trips include jungle excursions, cultural sites, beach getaways, rural village visits, and pretty much anything else you could imagine. Bangkok is also an important transportation hub to and from Thailand, as well as being a great place to begin or end a longer cycling trip to Myanmar, Cambodia, or Malaysia. So, if you think Bangkok isn’t normally your thing, think again.