Live the city like a local: meet one of our concierge.
Experience the top hotspots and hidden gems following the tips from our insider.
Book your appointment
Download the app and select the concierge who will accompany you during your visit at the store, making your experience unique.
Despite its reputation for heavy traffic, bike culture is catching on in a big way in Thailand’s capital
Despite recent efforts by the city’s authorities to improve the cycling infrastructure, Bangkok is far from catching up to the traditionally bike-friendly destinations such as Amsterdam or Copenhagen. Nevertheless, as a means of negotiating the traffic and exploring its myriad nooks, Bangkok by bike is an exhilarating experience.
Bike enthusiasts have ramped up initiatives to improve Bangkok’s cycling infrastructure – and what’s more, the authorities appear to be taking notice. In June 2014, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration announced plans to build 242 further bike lanes around the city. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and members of the Thai monarchy including King Maha Vajiralongkorn, are among those to have publicly lent their weight to a campaign for better road conditions for cyclists.
“There are so many interesting places to visit in Bangkok and they are all easiest to reach by bike,” raves Henry Hsu, Business Strategy Manager at Co Van Kessel Bangkok Tours, one of the first companies to offer bicycle tours in the city. Several tour companies like Co Van Kessel now offer itineraries to enclaves such as Kang Kra Jao, or the “Bangkok Jungle” – a verdant peninsula rich in tropical orchards, coconut groves and wooden stilt houses that’s nestled into a bend of the Chao Phraya River – Chinatown and Rattanakosin Island, home to star attractions such as Wat Pho and the Grand Palace.“Canals and streets lead to small communities and there’s lots of old wats (temples), markets and shophouses,” adds Hsu. “What’s more, the best cheap restaurants tend to be on the streets where there’s lots of traffic but no parking spaces. Biking is by far the most practical way to get around.”
With its boom in Brooklyn-style bars, retro flea markets and obsession with craft beers and food trucks, Bangkok has become a repository for hipster culture. And, in the view of Wararat Puapairoj, the founder and manager of Velayenn Bike Shop, a hub for the city’s “fixie” scene, this development has been key to the capital’s emergence as a biking city. “In my view, the real change in Bangkok’s biking scene came around five years ago when fixed-gear bikes really started to make their presence felt in Thailand,” says Puapairoj. Velayenn, a café that doubles as a cycle service shop, will service your bike starting from just USD$2 and you can grab a coffee or Italian soda while you are waiting. Other bicycle cafes include Aran Bicicletta in Ari, Bkool Café in Phaya Thai and Sora City near Asok, while there are now several online communities devoted to cycling. Online forums such as Life Cycling Bangkok and Bikeloves are bringing bike enthusiasts together and organising trips through the city as well as to out-of-town locations.