One of the unique ways to explore Bangkok is by participating in a bike tour at night. When my cousin Kristi and I visited Bangkok, Thailand during our Southeast Asia trip in 2010, we found out about this activity, offered by an outfitter called the Grasshopper Adventures, on TripAdvisor. It was listed as the top thing to do in Bangkok.
The Grasshopper Adventures is an outfitter that offers bicycle and unicycle tours in several countries in Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, India, Japan, etc.). Most of their tours span multiple days (for example, they have a multi-day tour traveling on bicycle from North to South Vietnam). The Bangkok Night Bike was one of the shortest ones; it’s a 4-5 hour ride around downtown Bangkok and Thonburi area, visiting some landmarks and neighborhoods.
We started the tour at the Grasshopper Adventures office, located near Khao San Road. Our tour group was led by our guide, Tami, and there were eight participants: Kristi and I, a mother and daughter from Australia, a couple from India, and another couple from Malaysia. Once we were fitted with the right size bike and helmet, Tami provided a short instruction on the hand signals she would give as she rides in front of all of us. We were supposed to follow with the same hand signal so other riders behind us see that as well.
I wasn’t sure what to expect before we started the trip, as the Grasshopper Adventures office was located at a major road near a very busy area around Khao San Road. I didn’t see any bicycle lane anywhere. After we started our ride, it became clear that we pretty much would ride on sidewalks, on the side of the street, through alley ways, etc. — anywhere we can squeeze in with our bicycles safely.
The trip started with a ride through the busy Banglamphu area near Khao San Road. We rode through some busy roads, small alleys near guest houses, restaurants, and clubs, until we reached the ferry pier on the bank of the Chao Phraya River. We embarked on a short ferry ride to cross the river to the Thonburi area across the river. We went through quiet residential neighborhood to visit Wat Arun, a majestic temple that looks beautiful especially at dawn and night time. Then we continued on through narrow alley ways in the neighborhood near the river bank, before crossing the bridge back to Bangkok area. We visited a busy flower market and then stopped at Wat Pho for a private tour at night when the temple was officially closed for the public. We finished with a ride back to the Khao San Road area, passing a night market on the street sidewalk between near the Khao San Road area. The trip took almost five hours.
It was another memorable part of our visit to Bangkok. The ride was not too strenuous — you can participate as long as you’re moderately fit. You do need to be careful if you’re not used to bicycling, as you need to be able to keep up with the group. Tami our tour guide was really good and keeping a reasonable pace for the group and ensuring we’re not leaving anyone behind, but with some crowded areas that we went through, I could see possibility that someone fell behind and got lost. Overall, it’s a highly recommended activity and I would love to do it again the next time I visit Bangkok.
The photo below was taken when we’re about to cross a busy intersection near Khao San Road at the beginning of our ride. You can see the crowded area; we just have to slowly inch forward across the busy intersection and follow the other bikes in front of us. I had my DSLR camera hanging on my neck while riding the bike, though in many places I used my little point-and-shoot camera instead. Since we were riding at night, it was a bit difficult to take photos with my Elph in low light. The DSLR with fast lens was definitely helpful in being able to take some photos.