Travel inspiration: where should I go on a bike tour?
Recently, a friend mentioned that she and her husband were ready to take a vacation. They wanted to go to Europe or Asia and were keen on doing another bicycle tour. If you are looking for travel inspiration, here are some ideas! #travelinspiration #biketour #bikeandbarge #asiatravel #europetravel #bicyclevacation #travelrecommendations
In this post you'll find:
Part 1: cycling tours that offer unique experiences in terms of destinations and/or accommodations
Part 2: some suggestions for major Asian cities to visit while you're headed to that part of the world
Traveling by bicycle offers you scenic views, fresh air, and a chance to literally take the road less traveled.
BIKE AND BARGE
I've done a couple of bike 'n barge tours in Europe (Champagne to Paris, Bruges to Paris). This is a great way to travel since your lodging moves with you! No more mad dash to pack in the morning -- or worrying about having to pack laundry that hasn't completely dried. Eurosail offers a number of these. I've seen these tours in Italy too, such as this one.
BIKING IN ASIA
Spice Roads is a bicycling tour company started by British expats and based in Bangkok. We've done a few tours with them (Saigon to Bangkok, Northern Vietnam and Laos, southern Laos, and northern Kyushu Island in Japan). They offer tours in Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Laos, Cambodia, Borneo, South Korea, Japan, etc. I can't say enough good things about bicycling in Asia! It is a feast for the senses! Plus, you get to go off the beaten path and see so many cool things by bike that would be inaccessible to a tour bus, etc. And there's a reason why Anthony Bourdain (may he rest in peace) loved Asia, especially Vietnam...
We visited Seoul before and after a trip to Japan and loved it! The food is awesome! I would love to return to Korea to do a bicycling tour and see more of the country. On a recent bike tour in Japan, I met a woman who had done a bike tour in Korea and said great things about it -- great cycling, great roads, etc. I can't remember the name of the tour company with whom she traveled. However, Spice Roads does offer a Korea tour: https://www.spiceroads.com/tours/ancient_korea . When doing a quick Google search, I found a company called Bike Tour Korea that offers both short and long tours.
EUROPE & ASIAN DESTINATIONS, VARIOUS SPORTS - REI ADVENTURES
While I've never been on a trip with these guys, they offer a great variety of tours in terms of both destinations and type of activity (e.g. biking, cycling, kayaking, multisport). Take a look. Here's a cool Thailand Multisport trip. Note: you will pay more if you're not an REI member.
COOL CITIES + EXPERIENCES
If you’re going to head to Asia for a week long (or longer) bike tour, you will likely fly through a major city like Singapore or Bangkok. Take advantage of this and explore one of these cities either before or after your bike tour. If you’ve been in the countryside for a week or more, a big city adventure is a fun way to cap off a trip.
This is a really fun city. There is great food (at the hawker centers -- basically, large food stalls with many vendors -- and the many restaurants), plus amazing gardens (Orchid Garden, Gardens by the Bay). It's a great place to spend a couple of days. To get a taste, watch the movie "Crazy Rich Asians." The subway system here is excellent too. We did a half-day city bike tour which was fun. Singapore has a large airport with many international flights. We have enjoyed staying here for a couple of days after spending time in Laos or Cambodia.
This is a crazy city with tons of people and is kind of gritty but I came to love it. There is a ton of hustle and bustle and the food is amazing! And the street food -- wow! We did a midnight tuk-tuk food tour on New Year's Eve and it was excellent. We went to so many cool hidden places with terrific food and the tuk-tuk ride was so fun! We also did an all-day custom bike tour with Spice Roads (via bike, boat, and foot). Since we only had about 48 hours, we tried to squeeze a week's worth of sights into 2 days. If you have hotel points, this is a good place to use them. The Millennial Hilton Bangkok is on the river. There are probably plenty of boutique hotels too. Note: I've heard great things about Chiang Mai in northern Thailand but have never been there -- yet.
Happy travel planning!