So, you book a holiday to Bangkok, of course the first thing to do is plan your itinerary.

Sightseeing, temples, markets…..but by bike? And not just by bike, but getting in behind the tourist traps and experiencing the ‘real’ Bangkok….Hell yeah!

So I just had to hit up Co Van Kessel for a guided bike tour.

Set up by the adventurous Dutchman Jaco (Co) Van Kessel (hey, who knew the Dutch liked cycling?!!) over 30 years ago, Co Van Kessel offers intimate guided bicycle tours through the lesser known back streets of Bangkok and has recently added tours of Chang Mai in the north of Thailand.


 “Co spent thousands of hours on his mountain bike exploring the vast network of local streets, alleyways, footpaths and canals between the main urban thoroughfares. What he found, lurking behind the facade of modernization, were hidden worlds of peace and tranquility, a picture of “real” Thai life that has remained unchanged for countless decades; an identity of a city that is true to the Thai people, yet largely unknown to outsiders.”

As soon as my bro recommended it, I instantly booked for a meagre £26, an absolute bargain for what I ended up getting.

I was travelling alone and I wasn’t the only one, this was a great way to meet other keen cyclists and travellers. Starting at their base on the Chao Phraya River, our group of 10 was greeted by our lead guide ‘Bobby’ (First up, he was an absolute dude!), then shown to our bikes. Not the usual road bike that I’m used to, but that would have been useless on the route we were about to head out on. The single speed touring bikes were perfect, in great nick, simple to adjust and ride. But by far the best two features were the colour (you’ll notice that I’m a fan of this yellow) and the ultra-stylish basket on the front!

All set and ready to go, we started with a short ride to the ferry crossing across the Chao Phraya, before meandering through back streets on our way to the Wat Kalayanamit Woramahawihan temple. Built in 1825 the temple is home to the tallest ‘indoor’ Buddha in Thailand, a monstrous 16 metres tall. Bobby wasn’t just a dude; he knew his onions too! He was super insightful, enthusiastic and delivered his info with real charisma.

 We continued our journey through the alley ways of Bangkok, taking in the sights, sounds and smells, greeting locals along the way (who were all happy to say hello as we went past) and picking up drinks and snacks from local vendors.

All the drinks and snacks were included in the £26, and fantastically integrated to ‘buy local’ put back into the community.

Next stop was the indoor flower market, but literally riding through it. Dodging people and the odd moped, this really was the ‘real’ Bangkok. It was time for another snack, the utterly delicious sticky rice with banana and black beans.


From here we headed through the bustling and vibrant Chinatown before hitting the bridge to cross back over the river and head for home.

The whole route was a little under 9 miles and a real leisurely pace suitable for everyone and anyone. It really was a different way to explore the city, on obviously, our favourite mode of transport, and I Can’t recommend the experience enough!

Go check out Co Van Kessel here.

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