Hiring a bicycle can be a practical and fun way to explore different destinations in Thailand. And while not all of Thailand’s roads are ideal for cycling, there are some wonderful options that will enable you to safely enjoy quiet lanes, historic sites and fabulous scenery.
In our selection below (shown in alphabetical order) we have chosen destinations that can be enjoyed by all the family and by all levels of fitness as part of a day trip. If you take your cycling more seriously and are interested in more challenging routes or a multi-day cycling tour, check out our advice further down this page.
Hiring a bicycle is one of the best ways to explore the ancient temples in the Ayutthaya Historical Park. Depending on where you are staying, some of the roads to get to the park can be busy with traffic so you will need to be careful if you are riding a bike from further afield. But once inside the perimeter of the park, cycling is a great way to travel between the various sites.
Bicycles can be hired for around 50 Baht a day from locations around Ayutthaya including at guest houses and hotels, near the train station and the entrance to the Historical Park.
At first glance, the traffic-choked streets of Bangkok are the antithesis of an enjoyable cycling destination. You need to get away from the urban sprawl of Sukhumvit and Silom to see another side to the City of Angels. One of the best ways to do this is to join a guided tour with a specialist company like Co Van Kessel. Cycling along quieter backroads you have the opportunity to visit local communities and experience a side to life in the Thai capital that many tourists don’t get to witness.
Self-guided trips can also be arranged in the green and pleasant environs of Ko Kret and Bang Krachao on the outskirts of Bangkok. Back in the heart of Bangkok, cycling is also possible on dedicated cycle lanes at a number of the city’s parks.
3) Chiang Mai
Framed by the moat and remnants of the city wall, the historic old city area of Chiang Mai is ideal for exploration on two wheels. Cycling along quiet lanes you will discover ancient temples, quaint shops, and gain an insight into everyday life in Thailand’s second city.
Outside the centre of Chiang Mai, the landscaped gardens at Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Park are a delight to explore by bike and the same is true for the grounds at Chiang Mai University and Ang Kaew Reservoir. Ask at your accommodation about hiring a bicycle for the day or download the Anywheel app to use the deposit-free bike rental service.
If that all sounds like fun but you’d prefer somebody else to do the legwork, you can hire a samlor. This is a great way to support the samlor drivers and witness a slice of Chiang Mai life that you might not otherwise see.
4) Chiang Rai
If you travel to Chiang Rai, make the short trip out of town to Singha Park. Bikes can be hired once you are at the park and the dedicated cycle paths make this a fabulous way to enjoy the scenic surroundings.
Wat Rong Khun aka the White Temple is one of Chiang Rai’s most famous visitor attractions, but the route from Chiang Rai city involves a busy main road and isn’t ideal for cycling. A quieter alternative route takes you along rural backroads and also connects up with Singha Park.
5) Ko Yao Noi
The lovely island of Ko Yao Noi is almost perfect for exploring by bicycle. We say almost perfect because there are some hills here, but large sections of the island can comfortably be explored by bike.
Ride along the east coastline with epic views of the Hong Islands before heading back inland to take in views of rice fields and farmland. If you’d like to carry on your adventure, bicycles can be taken across on the boat to the neighbouring island of Ko Yao Yai.
6) Ko Sukorn
Located off the beaten track in Thailand’s southern Trang province, the island of Ko Sukorn is a genuine joy to explore on bicycle. Not many tourists, Thai or foreign, make it to this laidback island. There are more attractive islands nearby, but that has left Ko Sukorn to serenely carry on as it has done for generations. This is a working island where fishing and farming are at the hub of the local economy.
Riding a bicycle along the empty roads here is a treat. Foreigners here are still a novelty so you may hear shouts of “hello!” from school children as you cycle through the villages and past the rubber plantations.
7) Nong Khai
The delightful riverside town of Nong Khai in north-east Thailand is perfectly set up for cyclists. A wide promenade adjacent to the Mekong River is a treat for pedestrians and bike riders. The traffic-free pathway stretches from up towards the Friendship Bridge in one direction along to the white chedi of Phrathat Lanong and beyond.
One of Nong Khai’s most impressive attractions, Sala Keoku Sculpture Park can also be visited on two wheels. Take the scenic route along the Mekong River and then pedal along rural roads towards Wat Samakkhi and on to the sculpture park.
8) Prachuap Khiri Khan
For overseas travellers, Hua Hin is the best known location in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. Hua Hin has much to offer, but Prachuap’s eponymous provincial capital is a more picturesque option for cyclists. The lovely little seaside town of Prachuap Khiri Khan has an expansive cycle network that means you can safely ride along the coast towards Wat Khao Chong Krachok and Wat Ao Noi in one direction and the beach area of Ao Manao in the other.
Ao Manao is located within a military facility and you should carry your passport with you to show at the entry point. Visitors are free to cycle around much of this area, but take heed of signs which say no entry or no photography.
If you’re visiting Sukhothai, hiring a bicycle is the best way to explore the Historical Park and surrounding countryside. The temples and ruins are spread out over a large, mostly flat area with quiet roads. Daily bicycle hire is available from many guest houses and hotels in Old Sukhothai and also at a couple of locations opposite the main entrance to the Historical Park.
Equally as enjoyable is cycling around the less well-known Si Satchanalai Historical Park. You can take a public bus here and then rent a bike at the location where the bus drops you off.
Cycling holidays in Thailand
If you take your cycling more seriously, check out the multi-day tours available from:
These specialist bike companies also offer shorter half-day tours in addition to tailor-made trips.
The cycling routes we’ve suggested can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages. While the routes aren’t too strenuous, you obviously need to respect your own safety. Even on cloudy days, the UV levels are high and you should take sensible precautions, take adequate rest stops and keep hydrated.
As with anywhere in Thailand, be a responsible tourist and respect the local communities. On islands like Ko Sukorn and Ko Yao Noi, you will be cycling through conservative Muslim villages so please use discretion and keep the swimwear for the beach.
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