It’s time to get a different perspective on Asia. Ellie Ross rounds up cycling tours to suit different clients’ tastes
Cycling tours are growing in popularity, with operators offering increasing options for those keen to saddle up. Last year, Intrepid Travel’s cycle tour bookings rose by 29%. Frank Cheshire, brand and product manager of cycling, says: “Cycling is a fantastic way to see Asia, exploring roads less travelled, journeying through villages, rice fields and passing beautiful coastlines.” Here we highlight four of the best trips through Asia on two wheels.
Families seeking a private, guided trip that includes gentle bike rides should consider Butterfield & Robinson’s Vietnam Family Adventure, starting in Hanoi and ending in Ho Chi Minh City. The tour is designed to introduce children to Vietnamese culture and history. Most cycling takes place in the countryside surrounding Danang, but there is also a motorbike tour of Saigon.
Book it: The eight-night trip includes accommodation, most meals and equipment from £6,275pp, based on four sharing.
KE Adventure Travel’s new, guided mountain bike trip offers an off-the-beaten-track adventure through Kazakhstan’s mountains and deserts. Cycling a daily average of 35 miles, guests pedal through the foothills of the Tian Shan, with distant views of Khan Tengri, and pause at spots such as the Golden Man museum (east of Almaty, where the trip starts) and the impressive Charyn Canyon. Highlights include drinking tea with nomadic shepherds and sleeping in a traditional yurt. Kit Wilkinson, cycling product manager at KE Adventure Travel, says: “It will provide a fun challenge for any regular weekend biker with reasonable off-road skills.”
Book it: The 10-night trip includes accommodation, flights, transfers and all meals from £2,095pp for departures on June 15 and August 24, 2019. Bike hire is available from £62.
For a multi-sport adventure, a 14-day Thailand Hike, Bike and Kayak trip does the trick. Starting and ending in Bangkok, the guided tour includes kayaking around the Muslim community of Bo Tor and a three-day hilltribe trek around Chiang Mai. It also features cycling through the Thai capital and temple ruins of Ayutthaya, plus a night on a floating rafthouse. Lianna Kuchmak, product manager for south-east Asia at G Adventures, says: “The itinerary is ideal for those wanting to take a more active approach to their travels, and offers a much more immersive way of seeing the sites.”
Book it: G Adventures offers a 13-night trip, which includes accommodation, transfers, select meals and equipment, but excluding international flights from £1,339pp for various departure dates throughout 2019.
With an updated itinerary for 2019, Intrepid’s Cycle Japan trip blends moderate exercise (cycling 6-50 miles each day) with cultural visits. The guided route starts in Kyoto and ends in Tokyo, with a four-day section in the rural Noto Peninsula. Clients stop at the Arashiyama bamboo forest, explore quiet coastal roads and stay in traditional ryokan, before taking a train to Tokyo for a city bike tour. Intrepid’s Cheshire says: “With almost 80% of Japan’s population based in its cities, riding through the small villages is a highlight for me.”
Book it: Intrepid has an 11-day trip including accommodation, most meals, transportation and equipment, but excluding flights from £2,715pp for departures on April 20, 2019.