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The Bangkok to Saigon Explorer
Journeying through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam is done in many ways, but few people ever attempt to do it by bicycle. This spectacular tour does just that as you cycle through all three countries and enjoy their respective histories, cultures, delicious cuisines, and most importantly, their incredible people. So join this tour to revel in Thailand’s beaches, stand dumbstruck at the majesty of Angkor Wat and cruise along the Mekong Delta on the adventure of a lifetime.
- CategoryCulture & History
- Duration15 days
- Culture LevelAdventurous
- Skill Level2 - Novice
- Activity Level2 - Moderate
- Elevation1 - Easy
- Distance295.2 miles
- Avg. Daily Distance28 miles
- Day 1Briefing time in Bangkok
Your first big city and starting point for the tour through three majestic neighboring countries – Bangkok. It is up to you what time you get to the city, but at 5:00pm the group will meet together at the hotel for a briefing of the tour and what it will entail.
It will be natural to feel the adrenaline pumping as you edge closer to getting on the bikes to check out the beauty of Thailand. Following the chat with your guides, head into the city together for your first adventure – dinner. Bangkok is famous for its superb cuisine and you will be spoilt for choice on the first meal together.
- Day 2Beachside bike time as we head off
To get this ride truly underway it’s necessary to escape the hustle and bustle of Bangkok and give you ample time to get acquainted with your bike. In the morning you will take a three hour transfer out of the capital city to a quiet beach on Thailand’s Gulf coast. Once you're all kitted up it’s off you go as you pedal out into paradise.
The riding is gentle to begin with as you drift along the beach, while some minor hills will delight you with spectacular views of sea. Having soaked up the sea air it’s time for your first lunch stop as rumbling stomachs are greeted by a freshly cooked meal – the first of many on our tour. Following this delightful meal, zoom off on the bikes into the town of Chanthaburi. You'll be staying at a guesthouse with an enigmatic host, who will be eager to show you his vegetable garden and the sleeping haven for the evening.
- 31.1 miles
- Day 3Cruising on our bicycles into Cambodia
It’s time to leave Thailand behind as today will involve crossing the border into Cambodia. But first, start the day with breakfast and then it’s onto the bikes. Heading out of Chantaburi, it’s easy to see why this town is so popular as you glide into the Catholic quarter and old town before gazing upon the orchards on the outskirts of the area.
Today’s riding will have you convinced you’re the only people in the world given how quiet the roads are and furthermore, they are well made, ensuring you can concentrate more on the excellent views than staying upright. Breaking slightly earlier than usual, you will take a car to the lunch stop before heading to the Cambodian border. After having your passports stamped and approved, it is back to the bikes as you feel the anticipation of a new country wash over. Riding onwards, the destination is the stunning gem studded hills of Pailin where you'll be staying for the evening. The Khmer Rouge’s senior members also sought refuge here for many years after the tyrannous regime had fallen, but fortunately Pailin is now overcoming its checkered past to grow as a tourist destination for those who pass through.
- 37.3 miles
- Day 4Bouncing on Bamboo Trains in Battambang
The first full day of riding in Cambodia showcases the country as you combine riding through quaint villages, jaw-dropping vistas, delectable food and a unique experience, but more on that later.
First up is cycling a challenging and fun combination of off-road trails and dirt roads to reach the villages behind Pailin town. While travelers are not uncommon in this area, you will still be the center of attention of the friendly local villagers. They're eager to know what you are doing there, your name and just to simply introduce themselves. Your excellent local guides will be on hand to help make this a fascinating insight into the real lives of the villagers.
After navigating some rolling hills onto the plains, hop off your bikes during the hottest part of the day to transfer to Phnom Sampou. Taking a break here, you'll enjoy a tasty lunch and some much needed refreshments while also enjoying a superb view from the hilltop temple. After the day has started to cool down a bit, you'll return to the bikes and head for a unique experience – a trip on the famous and strange Bamboo Train. A rickety ride it may be but it’s great fun before you ride the rest of the way to the accommodation in Battambang.
- 24.9 miles
- Day 5Tasty traditional treats as we tour Battambang’s villages
Today, venture into new territory by joining a cycling program that takes the group into traditional villages and introduces you to their practices. The majority of these are food based, so prepare to loosen your belt a little bit for the delights that await. The program is called Soksabike and is run by a vocational training NGO in the region, Kinyei.
Led by a group of students, the tour is superb as you ride through twisting and turning villages to observe how people survive in these remote areas. The traditional fare on offer includes rice wine, dried bananas and a local delicacy called Kralanh. You'll be able to observe how all of these are made.
Following a spot of lunch back in the main town, take a three hour transfer to Siem Reap. The sight that will greet you is truly special as you step out of the car in front of Southeast Asia’s largest lake, Tonle Sap. If fortunate enough, there will be an epic sunset to emphasize how magical the place is.
- 15.5 miles
- Day 6Bright and breezy start to capitalize on Angkor Wat’s beauty
The seventh wonder of the world, Angkor Wat, draws millions of tourists to Cambodia and it’s not difficult to see why. The beautiful complex of temples will leave you standing with your mouth agape. To truly experience this magical site at its best, it’s best to start early before too many people swarm in. By getting into the complex at the crack of dawn you'll be able to observe the sunrise over the triple towers before walking through the twists and turns of the site in a glorious hue of light.
After such an early start it’s important to remain energized so you'll pedal off a small distance for an incredible breakfast spread. Fully revved up again, it’s back to exploring as you venture down secret trails and take in the mesmerizing sights of temples such as the Bayon, Tha Prom and the Elephant Terrace.
Finally, with the site turning into a bit of sauna, it’s time for some lunch before taking a transfer back to the hotel. Today’s visit led by the guides is ideal preparation for tomorrow’s rest day as you now have a good lay of the land for exploring the site of Angkor Wat further if you wish.
Please note: All tour participants should take measures to dress appropriately when touring the site at Angkor Wat. Knees and shoulders should be covered by both male and female tour participants when in the temple areas to ensure cultural sensitivities are respected.
- 15.5 miles
- Day 7Sit back and relax in Siem Reap
It’s your first day off and you can ignore the bikes for a much needed rest. If you have enjoyed your fill of the Angkor Wat on the previous day’s tour, there is no shortage of things to keep you entertained in the town of Siem Reap. Once a little-known place with few entertainments for visitors, there is now an array of activities and food options that will have you excited. You can go zip-lining or catch an acrobatic circus performance, but you won’t be blamed if you fancy something a little bit more chilled. The hotel also offers great massages for those aching legs and a beautiful pool to cool off in. Perfect!
- Day 8New bikes, new routes and new temples
After chilling out in Siem Reap the previous day, it’s back to riding but not straight away. First you'll take an early drive from the hotel to the neighboring province of Kampong Thom. Here it’s time for a new bike fitting as you prepare to tackle some more rural roads and head for a different temple complex, Sambor Prei Kuk.
The complex is of pre-Angkorian temples and they date back to the 7th century. While they are called ruins it’s fascinating to see that many of the temples still stand intact. With few tourists venturing this far you can argue a trip here is even better than Angkor Wat in some ways. Regardless of competition, the visit is truly special and will leave you in even greater awe of this country. After escaping the afternoon heat in the shade, hop back on the saddle to ride a new route back to Kampong Thom in time for a delicious dinner.
- 34.2 miles
- Day 9Catching up with Cambodia’s captivating countryside
Take things easy in the morning with a bit of a slow start, enjoy a relaxed breakfast before driving a few hours out to the former Cambodian capital of Oudong Mountain. This hilltop location has a temple and spectacular vistas to back it up but it’s the ride down here after a picnic that is today’s true highlight.
Breezing through picturesque villages, take off-road trails and cruise past never-ending rice paddies and farmlands. It will be difficult to know where to look, because of the breadth of beautiful sights. On the zig-zagging route, you'll pass Basset Mountain and set sight to the hotel. There are two options here on the final push – you can either cycle straight to the accommodation’s door if you’re happy riding in traffic or take the support vehicle. Regardless of this, once you are showered up and fresh you can dive into a sumptuous dinner together by the Tonle Sap River.
- 28 miles
- Day 10Put the bike away in Phnom Penh
After yesterday's long afternoon on the bike, take a break today in the city of Phnom Penh. You can explore the city’s charms on your own, or take a guided walking tour around some of the best kept secrets to this mysterious city. Phnom Penh has suffered an up and down history going through numerous periods of decline and renewal. Now in a state of development, it makes for a brilliant place to have a wander as you rest your legs from the bikes and prepare for the remaining days of the tour.
- Day 11Perusing Phnom Penh’s pretty outskirts
It’s time to get back on the saddle as you gear up and send those wheels spinning out of Phnom Penh towards the city’s outlying countryside and the Mekong Islands. As you pedal on, you will see charming communities, looming fruit orchards and glide past more recent temples and silk weaving workshops. This ride enables you to understand the real life that lays beyond the city life of Phnom Penh. After broadening your horizons it’s time to take it a step further as you head for Vietnam on an international boat down the Mekong River. The destination is the town of Chau Doc, renowned for its exquisite fish sauce.
- 18.6 miles
- Day 12Weaving in and out of the Delta’s waterways and canal paths
There is a reason the Mekong Delta is known as the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam and it’s evident in its luscious countryside. Every way you turn there is a different shade of green present and it adds up to the best kind of cycling you can imagine. This is the real beginning of your adventure in this region and given its vast number of waterways you'll be switching between bike and boat throughout the day to navigate the land and water.
Taking canal paths you will be amazed at the ingenuity of the local people who use every single blade of grass available to cultivate food products. Equally, the work ethic of the communities is evident with people growing, harvesting and transporting their products constantly. It will definitely inspire you to keep pushing on with the riding as you head for the town of Long Xuyen to stay in.
- 46.6 miles
- Day 13Bask in nature’s glorious glow on your last day riding
It’s your final day of riding and boy it’s a special one as you continue riding deeper into the maze of the Mekong Delta region. Soak up the atmosphere where this vast maze of boats, houses and markets float on crisscrossing waters.
As you head further into the Delta, the countryside becomes even more scenic with more canals to navigate and the vegetation growing thicker. Looking up you will spot delicious jackfruit hanging and be fortunate also to witness the Vietnamese art of mat weaving and wooden boat building. But the beautiful day is not over yet as you stop for another lunch before taking a boat ride into the town of Can Tho to finish off an incredible day.
- 43.5 miles
- Day 14Drifting in the calm and chaos of the floating markets
Vietnam’s floating markets are renowned with images seen all around the world. But nothing quite prepares you for a visit like the one you'll take early in the morning. Boats jostle for position with a wide array of produce, fruit and vegetables all available to buy. It’s quite incredible to be able to explore this chaotic market set on such calm waters.
After an excellent breakfast it’s time to head for Saigon as you take a three hour drive there. Upon arrival it’s pretty hot in the city, so you can chill out in the shade before exploring the history and sights of Saigon on foot. Your knowledgeable guides will be happy to take you around the former French Quarter, the Presidential Palace and the bustling Ben Tanh Market. With these beautiful places all ticked off it’s time to head for one last dinner as a group in the city.
- Day 15Setting off for new pastures
It’s time to wave goodbye to this incredible cycling adventure. Together with your newly made friends from the group you can think back on riding across the three spectacular countries of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. In this time you have basked in the glow of beaches, stood dumbstruck by Angkor Wat’s majesty and explored the dazzling beauty of the Mekong Delta.
Furthermore, you have witnessed on rural roads what the real life is like in these countries away from the tourist path. It has been an amazing trip and after one final breakfast meal you're set to go separate ways.