By Nick Soros
There is no better way to get a feel of a country than by bike. Biking makes you feel one with nature and provides you with fun and thrilling ways of getting to know a new place. What better way to do so than planning a bike tour in Asia?
Asia has warm climates, cheap living, and incredibly friendly people. There is something for everyone – if you are looking for low costs, there is a wide range of options that will suit these needs; if money is not an issue, Asia has a wide array of good hotels and restaurants for you to dine in and relax before venturing off in the morning.
In Asia, you will be able to explore everything from beautiful beaches in south of Thailand, mountains of northern Laos, to ancient treasures of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Let us take a look at some top places for bike touring in Asia.
1. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
There is an incredible archaeologist site situated in the northern Siem Reap province of Cambodia that many tourists are unaware of. This site is of historical significance and carries a painful past – read all about it here. It spreads across approximately 250 square miles of land and the best way to explore it is by biking around.
There are other less famous temples including Preah Khan temple, Baksei Chamkrong, Ta Prohm Wat (if you are a Tomb Raider film fanatic, then this is a must see. It was featured in the movie which starred Angelina Jolie), and Banteay Srei.
With just a few dollars, you can rent a bike from Siem Reap, an old market place. Remember that prices are not fixed so negotiate to best of your abilities.
2. East Coast Park, Singapore
If you are looking for a relaxed family atmosphere, try East Coast Park. This city trail combines coastal scenery on one side and a beautiful human-made beach on the other side. You will ride along a coastal stretch of the city where cycling is highly popular for both locals and tourists. You need not worry about rough or uneven terrain as the entire route is built on reclaimed land that comprises of beaches, water parks, and skate parks.
This park is a perfect place to take a bike tour if you are a beginner. It has a relaxed atmosphere without any challenging obstacles along the way. After about 4- 5 hours of biking, your trip ends at Changi Village where you will find a huge selection of food halls and hawkers. This is a perfect place to taste and experience Singapore’s cuisine.
3. Silk Road, China
This trail got its name from silk traders who used to use the route to travel to and fro different parts of Asia. It is made up of many trade routes that connect to East and West Asia, with some even extending to parts of Europe. Tourists who are looking for challenge should make a point of visiting this historic road.
Silk Road comprises of three main routes; northern route which covers the Tianshan Mountains, Urumqi, Hami, and Yining; central route which will take you to the southern foot of the Tianshan Mountains and passes through Turpan, Korla, Aksu, Ruoqiang, and Kashgar; and finally, the southern route which will take you around Yichang, Shache, Kashgar, and the Kunlun Mountains. Enjoy magnificent views of China’s countryside as you slowly cycle your way up to your final destination.
4. Hiroshima’s Shimanami Kaido, Japan
Also known as Nishi-Seto Expressway, it is one of the most common routes in Japan, and the world! It is an uncomplicated stretch of approximately 40 miles and connects Honshu to the island of Shikoku. This trail is an idea for families, couples, and beginners. You will have fantastic views of its coastal stretch, and you will cycle past 6 islands of Mukaishima, Innoshima, Omishima, Hakatajima, and Oshima and finally end up in Shikoku.
5. Bangkok to Phuket, Thailand
If you happen to travel to Thailand, Bangkok and Phuket are a must visit destinations. They both offer incredible sceneries, friendly locals, and you will have a front row seat to Thailand’s culture.
Biking from one place to the other is the only way to get a full Thailand experience – it takes about 10 days to do so as you cover roughly 523 miles. There are tons of beaches along the way and for anyone who prefers winding down at great resorts; you will have your pick from resorts dotted all along the coast.
Before you begin your journey, you should make a point to visit The Temple of the Dawn, Wat Prakeaw, Wat Pro, The Grand Palace, and the incredible Damnoen Saduak floating market in Bangkok.
6. Serpentine Road and Jaipur, India
Jaipur, also known as The Pink City is located in North India. This city earned its name from its lime plastered buildings which shine a deep pink color in bright daylight. Jaipur is a stunning city that sits beneath the Nag Tibba Mountain.
The city has incredible architectural sites including The Water Palace, Maharajah’s Cenotaphs, and the Albert Hall Museum. Serpentine Road offers cyclists a steady ascent into thee Nag Tibba Mountain where you will have a birds-eye view of Jaipur city.
7. National Highway 1, Vietnam
National Highway 1 connects Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh cities. For many years, these two cities were disconnected and now, National Highway 1 acts as a symbol of unity for Vietnamese locals. It will take you 10 days to complete this 500-mile road. If you’re a woman, you’d better to find out how to apply chamois cream before a ride. As this is a tropical country, temperature could be as high as 35 Celsius degree in summer.
8. Himalayas, Bhutan
Bhutan is a small country located next to Tibet. This hidden gem is filled with incredible sceneries and unspoiled wildlife. Anyone cycling in Bhutan will be mesmerized by its dramatic mountain views and spectacular monasteries, fortresses, and magical temples. A rider will be able to explore the Himalayan Mountain, which spans a total of 5 countries: China, Pakistan, Nepal, India, and Bhutan.
So whether your reason for biking is to see the sceneries, interact with locals, to get lean, or for a new life challenge, nothing can be more life-changing than combining exercise with travel. Asia offers a perfect platform to do just that. From incredibly magical temples to sandy beaches and wildly green and undisturbed forests, you will be able to experience all this and more with our top 8 best cycling routes in Asia.
Image Credit: Bigstockphoto
Nick Soros has been a pro cyclist and traveled around five continents for many years. Now he’s sharing his cycling experience and traveling tips at his blog. Visit there if you need advice.
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