Having lived in Bangkok for three years now I am still surprised by the many contrasting sights Bangkok has to offer. Most residents of Bangkok, locals and expats alike are unaware that just a few short minutes ride from the glistening skyscrapers, smog, heat, noise and congestion of downtown Bangkok there is an area of lush marshlands, picturesque parks, temples, quiet streets and fresh air. Those of us that know this area commonly refer to it as the “Bangkok Lung.”
My riding partner and I met our tour guide at 9:30am in front of the Pelican Restaurant on Suhkumvit Soi 22. This is a good place to meet because it’s relatively easy for anyone with a basic knowledge of Bangkok to find and the restaurant is open early so you can grab a bite to eat before you begin your tour. Having done two previous tours in the general vicinity of the Bangkok Lung I was anxious to see how this one stacked up.
Our tour guide Michael David began our tour promptly at 10:00am. The first thing our guide did was issue us the correct size bikes and helmets. This is important because an equipment failure on a bike tour can turn a nice afternoon ride into a dreadful experience. Boom Bike Tours uses well maintained Trek 3 Series Mountain Bikes in a variety of frame sizes to fit most body types. After that, our guide gave us an overview of our tour route, distances, duration and the sights we’d be visiting along the way. Then our guide explained the safety precautions we would be taking as we exited the downtown area. This is another important point because although I am not a novice rider, riding a bicycle in downtown Bangkok can be a harrowing experience.
At 10:00am, we headed out of the city, we rode through a bustling market and the Klong Toey district on our way to the Chao Praya River. Although the Klong Toey area is not the most scenic part of Bangkok it is refreshing to see the smiling faces of the local residents, waving and greeting us as we rode past. Next, we boarded a long tail boat and crossed the Chao Praya River and arrived at what I like to call the “Bangkok Lung.”
The first thing you notice when riding around the Bangkok Lung is that the temperature has dropped a few degrees, the air is cleaner and it’s obviously much more quiet than Bangkok proper. After a few minutes ride we entered a well maintained park with plenty of paved roads and some areas for a chance to do some light off-roading. Our guide, realizing that my riding partner and I have some experience on bikes offered us the chance to get off the paved roads and ride on trails he had previously mapped out. This is the advantage of having a tour guide that can gauge the experience level of his customers and add things to the tour on the spot to make it more enjoyable.
The rest of the afternoon was spent meandering through the park, the lush marshlands and quiet roads along the way stopping at temples, an eco-tourism hotel and enjoying a bite to eat for lunch. We did pass a floating market which wasn’t much of a floating market because it was closed at the time of our visit. This could be a bit of a disappointment for first time visitors to Bangkok who are anxious to see one of Thailand’s famous floating markets. After another short ride we were back at the Chao Praya River crossing where we made our way back to the Pelican Restaurant for our end of tour complimentary drink.
Overall I would recommend this tour to riders of all levels looking for a nice quiet afternoon ride who want to avoid the hassle of driving all the way to the outskirts of Bangkok. The quality of the equipment and the ability of the tour guide to gauge his customers riding skills is what made this tour the most enjoyable of the three tours I have done in the Bangkok Lung area.
Tour Name: Tour 3 – A Ride in the Park
Tour Guide: Michael David
Tour Distance: approximately 25km
Tour Duration: approximately 4 – 4.5 hours
Tour Date: 11/8/2012
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