Bangkok tourism is booming and so is Co van Kessel. This late Dutchman started cycling in Bangkok over 30 years ago, taking tourists to the best places in Bangkok. First time I took the tour was in 2009 and since then the business grew a lot and they are offering multiple tours a day ranging from 3 to 9 hours long. I opted for the ‘Co Combo tour’, a 5-hour bike/boat tour through the remote areas of Bangkok.
Co van Kessel Bike Tour
It was an early morning since we had to meet up at the Co van Kessel office on the edge of Chinatown at 7.00am. In total we were with 14 enthusiastic people and two guide, who briefed us passionately, asking us to greet the locals on our way, put a smile on our face, enjoy the trip and always stay safe. With one guide in the front and one guide in the back of the group we started touring through Chinatown on our super comfy bikes.
What to do in Bangkok
You must think that cycling for a couple hours through Bangkok will be hard, especially in Bangkok’s hot and humid climate. Don’t worry about that! Yes it is a cycling tour, but that does not mean it is a race. You will be cycling through super narrow streets, making uncountable turns, you will visit markets, stopping at temples, hopping on a boats, go to fruit plantations and so on. The cycling is very low pace and on top of that you will probably stop loads of times to take pictures. I have taken the tour now several times and the route always seems to differ, it never gets boring.
Off the beaten path in Bangkok
The Co van Kessel Bike Tour takes you off the beaten track in Bangkok. Can you imagine that within a short distance from the city center you will cycle through a banana plantation? That you see rural Bangkok where people still live in wooden houses on stilts over the water? This bike tour will show you places you had no clue they would exist in Bangkok.
Every street has its own appeal and especially in Chinatown where the tour starts. You will get so many impressions in the first hours. As you cycle through the narrow streets you will find something cool to see around every corner. Whether someone is cutting a huge fish into pieces, friendly drunken locals still enjoying an afterparty from last night, old men playing Mahjong or ladies washing their vegetables and preparing their meals, Chinatown will wake you up for sure.
When all the bikes are loaded onto a longtail boat you will cross the river and head to Bangkok’s Old Town, Chonburi. It seems like entering a different world. Just coming from bustling and hectic Chinatown, you will now cycle through peaceful streets where life has slowed down a bit. In these rural urban areas of Bangkok people still live in one floor wooden houses. Say hi to the old grandma washing her clothes in a tub in front of her house!
After visiting a temple that houses the biggest sitting Buddha in Bangkok your bikes will be put on a boat and it is time to sit back and relax. A traditional longtail boat will take you on a tour through the canals of Bangkok. Get to see a different side of Bangkok as you discover life on the riverside that has not changed much over the years. People still live in traditional wooden houses on the side of the canals. The boat trip will last around 45 minutes and will drop you off in a total different world again.
Welcome to the rural areas of Bangkok where you will stumble upon banana plantations, fields with mango and lime trees and where people grow all kind of vegetables. You will be cycling on an elevated concrete path through a lush green landscape. Finally you will have a delicious lunch and slowly make your way back to the office.
With a tour like this it is easy to get to places you probably would not find on your own, but this of course is possible too. You rent a bike in Thailand yourself, click on the link to see what license you need and for more tips about driving around in the country of smiles.
I have been enjoying the Co van Kessel Bike Tour several times now and I always include it in my a list of unique things to do in Bangkok. It is a must do in Bangkok and worth the 1.650 THB. The very well organized tours with funny and perfect English speaking knowledgeable guides will get you to places you would never get on your own. I would recommend their tours to people of all abilities and ages as they are very low pace and super enjoyable.
River City Shopping Center (Rm. 164)
23 Charoen Krung Road, Soi 24
Tel: +66 (0)2 639 7351