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Trip Report Amazingly interesting bike tour near Bangkok

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So far I would say this has been our favorite day. I must thank whomever recommended this tour, whether here or on another website!

We took a full day bike tour with Absolute Explorer. No special ability is required. It is a very easy tour and the guides will stop as often as you like (I tested them on that one!).

We met at at hotel near Makkassan station and then toured a small market with explanations about the food and fowl displayed. We then boarded a local train to go out to the countryside approximately one hour away from the city.

A local guide was waiting for us with the bikes. He accompanied us with tools and adjusted our seats/bars if needed.

We then proceeded on an easy FLAT ride through the rice paddies stopping every 15-20 minutes for a cold drink, photos and cool, refreshing wipes. Our English speaking Thai guide was delightful, filling us in on some Thai customs, superstitions,food crops and harvesting.

You will see the Thailand countryside you imagined. Small villages with their wat, cemetery and village houses. Some large homes professing the success of the rice farmer's business are also seen in the distance.

We happened upon a funeral, learned the cremation customs as well as the paying respects.
A large group of scouts, both boys and girls, passed by in a parade by chance also.

We saw a variety of fowl, snakes ( both dead and scurrying across the hot pavement) and we crossed a few quaint simple bridges, both wooden planked and metallic.

We stopped at every mayor's house in the villages where we were given cool drinks bought by our guide, as well as the wipes that were kept in a cooler with ice. Such a welcome respite from the heat and humidity!

We had the opportunity to share photos on our phones and take pictures of the village people who would come to meet us or call us over. They seemed quite interested in the photos of our animals and children.

Our guide said that they are the only tour that takes people to this part of the countryside, so the locals are very anxious to always know EVERYTHING about the people who come through. With the help of our guide we were able to have some fun conversations with these smiling, charming people.

Each village has a mayor and many times the mayors of other towns come to try to convince the tour guide to visit their village, but as she said, they are too far away to go by bike.

The only traditional structures we saw were the wats and cemeteries. Most homes are very basic and what you might call a "shanty-home", except for the larger mansion type homes of the wealthy farmers.

I must also comment that there was almost no traffic at all on the roads and paths we took until we coincided on a main road back to the train station for just a few minutes at the time schools get out. But it was very safe, even for children, as even when a motorcycle or car/truck came along the secondary paths, there was no crazy driving, and they were very slow moving, not ever causing any type of alarming situation. This is the true countryside of peace and quiet and no rush.

We then stopped for lunch made by the mother of our local guide. It was fabulous and perhaps the best food we have had so far. We were served an omelet made with duck eggs, a green mango salad, ( too spicy of most of us), and a few other dishes of stir fried chicken and vegetables and endless rice. I especially liked a cabbage with soy sauce dish.

For dessert we rode a short ways to a palm tree where four coconuts were retrieved, chopped open and we drank the clear liquid. The coconuts were then chopped open all the way and we ate the inner soft meat using the top as a spoon.

On our way back to the train station we had time to visit the local, rural school. It was immaculate and built from very hard wood. The children were all uniformed and knew we were coming and had prepared a "welcome" in English.

We then introduced ourselves and spoke a bit and wrote our names on the board and the country we were from. They didn't understand us but once the guide translated a bit the students became less shy and asked us each some basic questions in English.

They wanted to know how old we were. So when a girl asked me, I asked her how old she THOUGHT I was.. prepared for the worst! But the young student took 12 years off my life, so I went and gave her a hug. When I told them I was 60, their eyes got big and they all made a surprised sound. (made my day! )

The Dutch girl traveling with us asked them a very good question about what they wanted to be when they grew up. Once translated each child had very high aspirations. Some said doctor, nurse, teacher and one boy wants to continue farming.

It was a lovely day, ending in teaching them a little song to accompany their ABC's ( which they already knew).

They practiced the song twice, and supposedly they need to learn it by heart for the next visit from our guide!

We were not asked for donations, but I did make a small one so they could buy a nice map so future tourists can put a pin point on it to show the children where they are from.

Photos with children, videos and photos with the principal were taken and will be some of our favorite memories I am sure.

The only down side to this day was the train we were going to take back to BKK broke down so until another local train came it was 2 hours. Several express train slew by our station.

However, the train station employees kept telling our guide "40 minutes".. then "another hour.". then who knows. The guide would have gotten us back to BKK had she been told it was 2 hours til the next train at the beginning, but even the station men did not seem to have that information.

Do not plan anything pre-paid after this tour in case this happens! Our guide said this only happened to her once six years ago and was very very apologetic and wanted to give us back quite a bit of our tour money to compensate for the lost time. We did not accept.

New train tickets were bought for us at the airport area on the air conditioned skytrain and then our BTS ticket back to our hotel.

We thoroughly enjoyed this tour and highly recommend anyone who can ride a bike to take advantage of a full day in the countryside with lovely scenery, lovely people and delicious food!

BTW, this is a THAI company and they also plant a tree for every tour they sell.

I hope anyone else taking this tour has half the fun we did. If so, you will be happy you made the effort!

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