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This trip is not for the faint of heart. I am still rating this a 4 because I really liked my guide Andy, who was lovely and informative. But I also have to be honest about the whole experience and truthfully, it was VERY rough and strenuous due to weather. This is a 6 hours tour which mine was closer to 7 hours so PLEASE be a somewhat experienced cyclist for this ride, especially if you arent used to biking in the heat. This is coming from someone who regularly commutes 20 miles/day by bike in Manhattan, and has done many bike tours including 100 mile century tours. I am very experienced and I could not believe 26 km would be so difficult.
First off, I took this tour on a weekday and was the only person on the tour. As a female solo traveler, I'm always wary of taking tours alone and I knew we were going deep into the countryside. But I felt safe enough with Grasshopper tours to go since I did a night bike tour with them the night before.
It was 9:00 am and unluckily for me, there were no clouds in the sky and the sun was blazing hot, 32 degrees C outside. I slathered myself with sunblock and they equipped me with a big bottle of water and a comfy mountain bike. The initial part of the ride through Bangkok was great, we stopped at some forts and picture taking spots, over Rama VII bridge and towards the countryside. But after 1.5 hours, I was already dripping sweat and the sun was beating down. I almost finished my water and was trying to stay hydrated. We crossed the railroad tracks and crossed into Nonthaburi and went through very rural villages with really tight paths, mostly flat but some parts a bit uneven or unpaved. Some of the paths less than a meter wide had no railings, and the greenest stagnant canal water youve ever seen are on your left and right. Staying focused and relaxed is key so you dont fall in. We saw a giant monitor lizard and some snakes on the way. This went on for 1.5 hours and there isnt much to see in these areas but it was a leisurely ride and it was nice to see how the locals live. We stopped at a couple of beautiful temples and took stops for street food and coconut water. By around 12:30, we stopped at this awesome local street food place and had an incredible lunch: Tom Yum noodles, papaya salad and iced tea. My favorite part of the journey!
This is where things took a turn for the worst. The sky had been getting a bit more cloudy during lunch and proceeded to go to the next temple. Within 30 minutes after we left, Im not even kidding, the sky went dark and its like the floodgates opened. Torrential rain. After 15 mins, it wasnt getting any better, so we decided to keep going. It was like riding through a strong shower you take at home, and it just didnt let up. Its rained like this for the next 2 hours and roads were actually flooded an inch or 2 deep in some parts. We would stop when it was so heavy we couldnt see the road in front of us but we knew we would never get back to Bangkok if we didnt keep going, so we just kept going. Luckily, I had plastic bag for my cell phone but I was soaked to the bone, I might as well have jumped in the green pond water. It was crazy. From extreme heat for 3 hours to extreme torrential rain for 3 hours. Biking through rain like that, soaking wet, cold and clammy, takes a lot of focus and energy, and my body was definitely feeling the wear. The rain finally stopped for about the last 30 - 45 mins of the ride back and we finally made it back to Khao San road. All in all? It was brutal.
This was my only MY experience and I got a bit unlucky with the weather. It was still an adventure and I enjoyed a lot of it. Definitely read the other reviews if you love biking and I would certainly recommend it if you are the adventurous type. But also know your ability level, and if you can handle biking in the Thai heat and unpredictable weather. Im not sure if it was an option, but if you get stuck in torrential rain, see if theyll take you back in a van. Andy had a great attitude and even though I was exhausted, Im glad he was my guide through it. Thanks Andy!
I hope this review was helpful.
Had a great day with my guide Tom. I was the only one booked for the Back Roads tour on that day. Tom was pleasurable, knowledgeable and showed me a different side of Bangkok. He recognized that I was an experienced cyclist and we covered a lot of ground. I loved sightseeing along our ride. There were times when I had to be completely focused on the path, when it was narrow, elevated or a sharp turn ahead. All was safe and fun. I loved the local snacks and street food lunch. It was hot but we stopped often enough for cold water. Bike rode nice and handled all the different terrain we rode on. Would recommend this tour.
My husband and I went on a back roads, alleys, along canals, across a river on a ferry, to temples and a restaurant. We were impressed with the tour and Tammy's knowledge of the monks world and some temples. We were happy the bikes were well maintained as we had to make sharp 90 degree turns along narrow paths. I rated this tour very high because one would never see the side of Bangkok we saw without going on this tour. It was a hidden world behind main streets. I would however rate the lunch a two star or less. Everyone was ordered pork. No opportunity for chicken or seafood. I was so disappointed as I have loved eating Thai food for the past six weeks. Everyone in our group disliked the food. One even went to 7 eleven for a sandwich. Tammy did however provide lots of drinks along the way. Since we rode in the rain and through puddles I appreciated the wet towels provided at the end. Thank you Grasshopper Adventures.
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