Grasshopper Adventures Bangkok: Canal Boat and Bike Trip Review
Riding a bicycle through the insanity that runs the streets of Bangkok might not sound like such a great idea, but if you’re in search of an urban adventure with a cultural twist, it might be just what you’re looking for. Grasshopper Adventures Bangkok offers bike tours and many excursions in different styles. We experienced the half day Canal Boat and Bike trip through Bangkok that brings riders through the old city via a scenic boat ride, past temples, homes and markets. There was a good mix of stopping to explore and biking, and by the end we were exhausted and sweaty and ready for a cold drink on Khao San Road.
Our friend Lindsey had just met us in Bangkok after flying from the United States, so we dragged her along. It had been a while since any of us had ridden a bike, but we ended the day with zero falls and only one small crash when I failed to pull of a u-turn and Lindsey and I collided.
We started our tour at the Grasshopper tour office where we were fitted for bikes and helmets. Our guide showed us our route on a large photo map of Bangkok and explained hand signals. Once everyone was ready and assigned to a bike, we were off.
The trek started with a slow ride down Khao San Road, weaving through people and motorbikes. This is a good spot to try out your bell–you’re going to need it for the rest of the day. We continued riding down some narrow streets and then along the river to our boat stop where we loaded up the bikes and ourselves and settled in for a one hour ride down the river.
The river is lively and getting around by boat is a fun way to see this part of Bangkok life. After a while, we turned down a canal and slowed down as we drifted past traditional style houses on stilts. We passed a couple other boats loaded with tourists, but we passed just as many locals going about their daily business. Keep an eye on the low decks and grassy edges of the canal for monitor lizards. The longest we saw was about four feet from head to tail, but none of us were quick enough to take a photo.
Once we got off the boat, we rode in a quick loop around the village before stopping for lunch. We got a true insight into local life when the first two restaurants we visited were closed because the owners were off celebrating Chinese new year. Our lunch was a simple but delicious Thai meal and a few of us enjoyed smoothies to cool off.
After lunch we rode to what we thought was the highlight of the day: the Artist’s house. Here, the owners host puppet shows; one of the last places in the country to keep the art alive. That day, the puppeteers had been hired to perform elsewhere, but we were able to see some of the big wooden puppets on display. In the center of the house is an old stupa juxtaposed with the modern black and white mannequins and bright paintings covering the walls. The place had such character we were entertained for quite a while. You can even feed hundreds of catfish off the back deck, or just sit for a while and watch the boats whiz past. See if you can find the photo of Steven Tyler from his visit.
The rest of the day involved more biking with a stop at the largest Buddha in Thailand. Our guide explained the significance of the different temples and showed us how to make offerings in the form of incense, gold leaf and candles. We were lucky enough to arrive at one temple just as the monks were preparing to meditate. It was beautiful to see the temple filled with the men in their bright orange robes and to hear the Buddhist chanting. Later, we even used fortune telling sticks to get a little insight into our year to come.
The most physically demanding part was carrying our bikes up across a crosswalk over the highway. The rest was just mentally exhausting, especially riding down tiny pathways and turning around blind corners where a person, food cart or dog could be waiting to throw you off balance. Of course, if you have ridden a bike in the past, say, three years, you’ll be better off than we were.
Overall, the tour was a wonderful way to see the city. This was our fourth or so visit to Bangkok and we were looking for an alternative to the few “must see” tourist spots and a unique way to tour the area.
- This tour is suitable for all ages. It is an easy ride, but does pass through some heavy traffic.
- Tour takes about 5 hours and lunch is included
- If you wear shorts or a tank top, bring a scarf to cover up before entering the temples
- Visit Grasshopper Adventures online to see the tours they offer and to make a reservation
Poplar Travels was a guest of Grasshopper Adventures. Our opinion is always our own.