|Type of tour:||Guided|
|Distance:||27 Miles/day average|
|Dates:||Apr 14, May 19, Jun 16, July 21, Aug 18, Sep 15, Oct 20, Nov 17*, Dec 22, 2014 (minimum 2 participants) *guaranteed to depart|
|Start city:||Bangkok, Thailand|
|End city:||Chiang Mai, Thailand|
Our Thailand Heritage ride takes you back in time on a route paved by kingdom builders. Thailand's history is comprised of the rise and fall of kingdoms, and on our journey we'll cycle through more than 700 years of history visiting three UNESCO World Heritage sites that define the country and culture of Thailand.
The Chakri dynasty established the current capital of Bangkok or, as known by locals, Krung Thep, our starting point of the tour. From here we head north to the former Kingdom of Ayutthaya, once one of the wealthiest cities in the East during its heyday. The 33 kings of Ayutthaya ruled more than four centuries before the city was conquered and destroyed by the Burmese.
Cycling amongst the ruins we'll learn how the authoritarian god-kings of Ayutthaya ruled with an iron fist. Riding north through the rice basket of Thailand we arrive at what is considered to be the first true Thai kingdom, Sukhothai. Under the Phra Ruang dynasty the Thai alphabet was created and Theravada Buddhism was established as the religion in the short 130 years of power.
Riding farther north, the terrain becomes more rugged as mountains flank our path on both sides as enter what was once known as the Lanna Kingdoms. Here we'll cycle through the land once ruled by the Tai people and see their influence in the recently excavated ruins of the Haripunchai Kingdom before arriving at the northern capital of Chiang Mai founded in 1298.
Interwoven with our exploration of Thai history will be a thorough tasting of the many local specialties, including a visit to a night market. We will be staying at resorts that reflect typical Thai architectural styles, giving you yet another insight into Thai life.
This cycling journey on smooth tarmac roads through the rural scenic landscape will give you ample time to take photos, chat with locals and absorb Thailand's unique and fascinating heritage.
Learn more about guided tours.
Day 1: Bangkok – Ayutthaya (18 miles/30 km)
We pick you up from your Bangkok hotel in the morning for a short transfer to the former royal summer residence of Bang Pa-In Palace. Originally built during the reign of King Prasat Thong of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya in 1632, the palace is now sometimes used by the royal family for banquets and ceremonies. After a walk through the gardens and the various styles of buildings we cross the River of Kings, the Chao Phraya, for lunch at a riverside restaurant.
In the afternoon we have a flat cycle on backroads to Ayutthaya Historical Park to explore the ruins of the formerly wealthy kingdom that ruled for four centuries, and is now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once a major trading post for merchants and sailors between the Far East and India, Ayutthaya was once home to traders from Japan, China, Portugal, Holland, France and Spain. We will stop often to visit temples and learn of their significance then and now. We finish the day at a Thai-style boutique resort set amidst rice paddies. Meals: L, D.
Overnight in Ayutthaya.
Day 2: Ayutthaya – Uthai Thani (37 miles/60 km)
Our riding day starts with a leisurely cycle to Wat Chaiyo Worawihan. This originally small temple was enlarged during the reign of King Rama V to accommodate a large seated Buddha image (16 metres from knee to knee and 22 metres high). For lunch we stop by a local restaurant before a short transfer to our country resort, where we have the option of a riding through tranquil rice fields, kayaking into the sunset, throwing a fishing line, or enjoying a relaxing Thai massage. Meals: B, L, D.
Overnight in Uthai Thani.
Day 3: Uthai Thani - Sukhothai (18 miles/30 km)
We follow the river north and ride through local villages to Kok Mai Duen Ancient City. A short walk through the dig-site reveals evidence of structures from 2000 years ago. Here archaeologists unearthed tools and stoneware, including Roman-style lanterns, evidence of the flourishing trade between the East and the West centuries ago. We then drive to explore more of Thailand's cultural treasures at Kamphaeng Phet – the Diamond-Walled city – which served as a military fortress defending the former capital of Sukhothai during the 14th century.
We have a casual cruise with our bikes inside the city walls and the old fortification of Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park, where we will absorb the history of this UNESCO Wolrd Heritage site. In the afternoon our pleasant ride on country roads will take us to a local's hangout, Phra Ruang hot springs. Join young and old in soaking in the natural hot springs where the average temperatures range from 50-65°C. We then transfer to our charming Thai-style hotel in Sukhothai. Tonight we have dinner surrounded by artififacts and antiques. Meals: B, L, D.
Overnight in Sukhothai.
Day 4: Sukhothai – Phrae (18 miles/30 km)
This morning we cycle through the remains of the first kingdom of the Thai people. Pre-dating Ayutthaya, though there is some overlap between the kingdoms, Sukhothai was established in 1238 and reigned until 1438. The story of Sukhothai was found in a stone inscription which describes the relationship between the king and his people as a father and son, the strong belief in Buddhism and the land as rich with natural resources, “in water, there are fish; in fields, there is rice." From this inscription also developed the Thai alphabet into the one currently used.
Our riding through the sites will be leisurely as we explore the many temples and ruins and learn about Siam during the Sukhothai era and how it influenced current Thai culture. In the afternoon we beat the heat of the day with a transfer to the quaint town of Phrae, where we enter a different period of Thai history, the Kingdom of Lanna. We'll visit Khum Chao Luang, the residence of the last ruler of Phrae, built in a mixed Thai-European style of architecture known as "Gingerbread" that was popular during the reign of King Rama V. Then in the evening we delve into a very important aspect of Thai culture, food!
Our guide will take you to explore the famous Phratu Chai Market known for local delicacies such as the Kanom Jeen Nam Ngiew (a northern style noodle soup) and Kanom Tom (a dessert made from coconut and palm sugar). Meals: B, L.
Overnight in Phrae.
Day 5: Phrae – Lamphang (39 miles/63 km)
After breakfast we have a two hour transfer to Lamphang, the fortress city of the Kingdom of Lanna, the most prosperous kingdom in northern Thailand during the 13th-18th century. Though of the same Tai family as the Siamese in the central plain, the Tai Yuan people, who established the Lanna Kingdom, developed their own language and alphabet, which can still be seen and heard today.
Here, we explore Wat Phra That Lampang Luang, which still has the fortress walls that protected the people as well as the temple that contains a Buddha relic that is worshiped by Thais all over the country. We ride our bikes through the undualting countryside, seeing farmers in the fields, to our riverside hotel. Meals: B, L, D.
Overnight in Lamphang.
Day 6: Lamphang – Chiang Mai (31 miles/50 km)
We start the day withy a visit to the Thai Elephant Conservation Center. Elephants played an important role in Thai history as they were domesticated to build the nation as well as used during the many wars. Regarded as a national symbol, the conservation center is home to more than 50 of these regal giants, and you will be able to get close and personal with them.
After our visit we drive the short distance to Lamphun and cycle around Wat Phra That Hariphunchai, built around 1044 AD, one of the finest examples of ancient Lanna temple architecture. From here we ride north along the Ping River on quiet country roads through farmland and abundant orchards with a plethora of seasonal fruit including longans, lychee, mangos, bananas, guavas, coconuts, jackfruit, durian, and dragon fruit, among many others.
We'll ride through the historic ruins of Wiang Khum Kham, a Mon settlement dating back to the 11th century. Constructed as part of the Haripunchai kingdom, this satellite town was ruined by floods and abandoned. These ruins have only recently been excavated. Our ride continues along the Ping River as we reach our final destination, the former capital of the Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Mai. After we check into our hotel and rest a bit, we'll get back on our bikes for night tour of this walled city. We'll have some snacks at the market enroute and then have a late dinner featuring the signature dish of Chiang Mai, Khao Soi – flat, yellow egg noodles and chicken, beef or pork in a coconut milk-based red curry soup. Meals: B, L, D.
Overnight in Chiang Mai.
Day 7: Chiang Mai
This morning we'll leave our bikes behind as we drive up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (1384 A.D.), the most sacred temple in northern Thailand, whose temple ground has been extravagantly expanded with many more holy shrines over the years. Once there, a panoramic view of the city of Chiang Mai (15 km away) can be seen on a clear day.
Then, we visit Wat Suan Dok (1370 A.D.), where the ashes of Chiang Mai's royal family are interred. The temple is also the site of Mahachulalongkorn Rajavidyalaya Buddhist University, where monks from nationwide come to pursue their Buddhist studies. We'll stop for a farewell lunch at a spot above Chiang Mai so you can take in the landscape of the Lanna Kingdom before we return you to your hotel. Meals: B, L.
We recommend that you tuck away a few extra dollars, perhaps US$20 a day for incidentals.
These are sample hotels and may vary based on availability. Websites listed below, where available.
Day 1: Pludhaya Resort and Spa, Ayutthaya
Day 2: Uthai River Lake Resort
Day 3: Ruen Thai, Sokhothai
Day 4: Phoom Thai Garden Hotel, Phrae
Day 5: Auang Kham Resort, Lamphang
Day 6: Manathai Village, Chiang Mai
Bikes available on this tour and included in the tour price (must be reserved in advance at the time of booking):
The bikes will have FLAT pedals. If you want to bring your own pedals, please bring your own shoes and also the necessary equipment to change the pedals.
If you plan to bring your own seat, please ensure that it has a universal seat post.
Helmet rental is not available on this tour. We recommend that you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene purposes. Wearing a helmet is strongly recommended on this tour and if you choose not to wear one you will be asked to sign a liability waiver.
This tour is for those who wish to see Thailand's rural countryside and explore the rich history of Siam, all while enjoying an active holiday. The scenery is ever changing as we start our ride though the emerald paddy fields of central Thailand where the roads are mainly flat, then continue with some undulating terrain and a few gentle climbs in the northern hills, before arriving in the cultural city of Chiang Mai.
The trip is fully supported and your guide’s expert knowledge of the area and terrain means that you always know what is coming up in terms of distance and difficulty. This makes a tremendous difference, as does the constant supply of cold drinks and fresh fruit.
You can expect a fairly gentle ride each day with none of the distances being overly long. There are a few small hills and some dirt trails, but these can be tackled by anyone with even a moderate amount of fitness. The emphasis on this tour is Thailand’s history, culture, and scenery, and all highlights are off the beaten track.
This trip is mainly on tarmac roads with a few days where we will have hard packed dirt trails – no off road experience is required. An air-conditioned support bus travels behind the group to supports us and participants can cycle as much or as little as they like and still enjoy the same views as the rest of the group.
This tour is moderately challenging and is for cyclists in average physical condition.
All nationalities require a passport for entry into Thailand. Please ensure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from date of entry. If staying less than 30 days then a visa in advance is not required by European, North American, Australian and many other nationalities. You will need to show proof of an onward flight out of Thailand to be eligible for the visa on arrival. This is strictly enforced.
We recommend that you visit a travel medical doctor and ask about the following vaccinations: typhoid, polio, tetanus and hepatitis A. A certificate for Yellow Fever is required when arriving from an infected area within six days.
Nearest airport: Bangkok, Thailand
Nearest airport: Chiang Mai, Thailand
This tour starts in Bangkok and ends in Chiang Mai, Thailand. International and domestic flights to and from there are not included in the tour price. Please contact us for advice before arranging flights for the best arrival and departure times.
Meals are included as per the itinerary where B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner. Most meals are local and feature noodles, rice, curries and soups. Any special dietary requirements can also be catered for as well. Please let us know at the time of booking.
Keeping you completely hydrated is a job we take very seriously. Cold water, some energy-restoring drinks while you are riding are included in the tour price while riding. Soft drinks and other beverages during meals are not included. Beer is freely available everywhere, but is NOT included in the price.
Northern and Central Thailand has a tropical climate with fairly high humidity. There are three seasons: from March to June it is hot and dry, with temperatures between 80 and 100F (27 and 40C), with night temperatures in the 70s F (20s C). The rainy season is from July to October, but temperatures are slightly lower, because of the effect of the rain. During this time it will not rain continuously, but in sharp bursts, and the sun can come out quickly. The cooler season is from October to February, with average temperatures between 70 and 85F (20 and 30C).
Weatherspark.com offers information on average weather conditions at most destinations throughout the globe. Type a destination in the search box, and select "Averages," and you'll find a range of information such as average high and low temperatures, precipitation, cloudy days, humidity and wind speed/direction.
Of course, if your tour is coming up in the next week, you can also select "Forecast" to get the most current information on upcoming conditions.
The Thai currency is the baht. ATMs, which are abundant, are the easiest ways to get Thai baht. Have a supply of US dollars in cash on hand, just in case your card doesn’t work. Banks or the more rare private moneychangers offer the best foreign-exchange rates. Credit cards are accepted in big cities and resort hotels but you’ll need baht for family-run guesthouses or restaurants.
We recommend that you tuck away a few extra dollars, perhaps US$20, for incidentals.
SpiceRoads endeavors to offer high-quality, educational, and adventure-filled itineraries that highlight and focus on the diversity of landscapes found in Asia and its people. As a specialized "niche" bicycle tour operator since 2000, we provide the most authentic, unique and exciting adventures in Asia.
The SpiceRoads family began back in the mid 1990s, when Hamish Keith was creating, operating and leading ground breaking cycle tours throughout Thailand and in emerging destinations such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar for well known companies such as Exodus Travels and World Expeditions and his own company the Wild Planet.
In 2000 Hamish decided to concentrate on what he loved doing the most and he established SpiceRoads as a specialist cycle tour operator in the region he knew best - Southeast Asia. The “niche” was to promote bicycle group tours directly to clients all around the world via the internet. Hamish set the standard for all subsequent SpiceRoads tours by offering a high quality tour - from customer service, to bicycles, to well researched routes to the guides we use – at a good value.
In 2002, when Hamish left to pursue other opportunities in the travel industry, Struan Robertson came on board, and with his skills in management, IT and of course cycling, the company has grown to encompass other Asian countries. During the years of growth what hasn't changed is the spirit of SpiceRoads, which is to offer professional, international standard cycle tours and services to independent travellers and cycle enthusiast looking to discover Asia by bicycle.
Our well-planned eye-opening cycling tours provide an active immersion into local cultures, languages, scenery and, of course, the most delicious of foods. By combining legendary service and rare opportunities for cultural experiences, our travel philosophy continues to excite, enthuse, and positively impact every guest. Take a look at our guestbook if you don't believe us!
SpiceRoads' staff and all of our professionally licensed multi-lingual tour guides are passionate about creating the best possible experiences, with fun, creativity, and total dedication to satisfaction.
We're always peddling towards making your tour perfect so you can See Asia by Bicycle!
(Involuntary) On the rare occasions when we, SpiceRoads, must cancel a trip, all payments received to date will be 100% refunded, which constitutes full settlement. There will be absolutely no deductions.
(Voluntary) If you, the client, must cancel your reservation, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the following formula:
For all tours (except short Thailand tours 4 days or less, see below):
Number of days prior to trip start
Cancellation fee per person
50% of tour price
70% of tour price
**Administration fees include bank fees and exchange rate losses.
Exceptions to this policy cannot be made for any reason, including weather or personal emergencies. Please note:
We strongly advise that clients have full personal travel insurance that covers for the refund of monies paid in case either party cancels the tour for any reason.
We regret that we cannot be held responsible for incidental/consequential costs or expenses you may incur as a result of any changes or cancellations. No compensation is payable for minor changes.
Any damages/injuries incurred that are attributable to your own actions, acts of some other party unconnected with the contract services or where the damage/injury results from events/circumstances which our outside our control and could not be reasonably foreseen.
For damages where SpiceRoads is responsible, our liability is strictly limited to twice the total price of the tour. In booking a tour with SpiceRoads you, the client, are agreeing to these terms and you accept this limit on our liability. This limit allows us to keep the prices of our tours as low as possible.
You must be in possession of a valid passport and all the visas and permits required for your tour. This includes any medical certificates that are required. The client accepts full responsibility for obtaining any and all such documentation. Every client is encouraged to contact the consulate/embassy for the countries they are traveling in respectively to receive the latest and most current information about their immigration / transit policies.
SpiceRoads does not accept responsibility if your documentation is not in order. Information provided by the company about these matters and other related items (clothing, baggage, climate etc.) is given in good faith but without responsibility on the part of the company.
For all tours (except short Thailand tours 4 days or less, see below):
SpiceRoads insists that all clients must take out good travel insurance before joining one of our tours. There are inherent risks involved in cycling and mountain biking and we will not be liable for your medical expenses or evacuation in case of an accident.
This insurance must include adequate coverage for any personal accident, medical expenses, injury, death and repatriation. Insurance should also provide coverage for cancellations or curtailment of the holiday. Clients should also ensure that there are no exclusion clauses limiting protection for any dangerous or unusual activities that might be included in their tour.
If you join the tour without adequate insurance you may be disallowed from continuing on the tour without the right of refund. Clients are solely responsible for arranging their own insurance and they should ensure that they are covered for the full duration of their tour. Your tour leader will ask for copies of your insurance before allowing you to join the tour. This protects both you and us.
In case of an accident, please consult with your tour leader or contact our reservation staff at +66(0) 89 895 5680 (24 hour hot line).
Upon signing up for a tour you must agree to accept the authority of the tour leader who is the representative of the company. The tour leader should be regarded as the same as a “ship’s captain” or an airline’s “Pilot.”
At all times the authority of your tour leader will be final when concerning matters likely to endanger your own health or safety or in regard to behavior or ill health that is causing or is likely to cause danger, distress or disturbance to the group and the well-being of the tour. Failure to abide by the authority of the tour leader could result in legal proceedings and the immediate termination of your participation in the tour without recourse.
In such circumstances we reserve the right to terminate all travel arrangements without liability on the part of the company. You must always comply with the local law, customs and drug regulations of the country/ies you are visiting. Failure to do so may lead to you being ordered to leave the tour without recourse to any refund or any legal claim against the company. In the case of ill health the company and its operators can make those arrangements that it sees fit and recover all monies paid from the client. The person who signs the booking form (which incorporates these conditions) warrants that he/she does so, with full authority on behalf of all those whose names appear thereon, and confirms thereby that all such persons accept and are fully aware of these conditions.
No refund will be given for non-utilized services, however if we are able to obtain a refund ourselves for these services we will endeavor to pass these on to the client less reasonable administration charges.
SpiceRoads pledges never to increase the tour price except under exceptional circumstances for those that have previously book the tour. Circumstances of this policy include: government action or legislation that directs the company to increase prices, exceptional and unfavorable changes in exchange rates that exceed a 20% fluctuation or currency devaluation.
Clients will be notified of any price increase at least 4 weeks before departure.
We will not accept any liability for any delay in your outward or inward flight/s, whether the cancellation or delay is caused by the weather, airline rescheduling, industrial action or mechanical failure. We will give no refunds or compensation for lost time and services from the itinerary.
Should you have a complaint while on tour, you must notify your guide, or the local operator, at the earliest opportunity, so that they can do what they can to immediately rectify it. Failure to do so will result in the limiting of a client's ability to claim compensation. If the problem is not brought to our attention we have no opportunity to rectify it. Any complaints should be sent to us in writing, or by email, not more than 28 days after the tour ends.
Complaints related to booking, inquires, billing, sales or operations should be directed to the Sales and Marketing Manager and/or the General Manager.
If there is anything else you need to know or want to hear in order to put your mind at rest, please do not hesitate to contact us.
SpiceRoads is not liable for any bodily injury or property damage as a result of (but not limited to): physical exertion for which a guest is not prepared; forces of nature; travel by plane, train, auto, boat or other conveyance, or by bicycle, horseback, foot or other form of active or adventure travel; consumption of alcoholic beverages; civil unrest; terrorism; breakdown of equipment; high altitude; lack of or limited access to medical attention in remote locations; and the adequacy of medical attention once provided.
SpiceRoads is also not liable for: expenses (e.g., meals, transportation or hotel costs) that are not specified as included in the trip cost but may be required to get to or from a trip start or end point.
SpiceRoads reserves the right to make route and hotel modifications as necessary to improve the trip quality or to accommodate the comfort and well-being of guests. Guests grant SpiceRoads express permission to take photographs or make film records of its trips for promotional and commercial use, as well as approve such use by third parties with whom SpiceRoads may engage in joint marketing, without financial remuneration.
To view our liability release form click here. You will be asked to sign this form before you start your tour.