Co van Kessel
Co van Kessel is the most known bicycle tour through Bangkok. The Dutch Co van Kessel is part owner from the company together with Chanmanee Phonphakdee and Henry Hsu. They want to show Bangkok in an original, not too touristic way. The focus lays on true Bangkok and not on the main touristic places.
We did the 5-hour bike/boat tour. The tour started at their office where we got our bikes. There are city bikes and mountain bikes and they help you to get the saddle on the right height.
After 5 minutes on the bicycle, we were already in Chinatown. We went through streets just small enough to cycle through. Some locals had to remove their buckets and other stuff so that we could go through.
When I noticed this, I was already happy I went on this tour. We were seeing the real Bangkok and how the locals were living. We stopped at a small square where we got a bottle of water and of course took some photos.
The second stop was a small local market. Here we could try some snacks and got some explanations about some Thai snacks. We tried coconut chips, pomelo and we could try a ‘hundred-year egg’
This is often a duck egg that is preserved for a few months, which makes it black. There was always something to eat this way. I just thought it looked and smelled horrible and I would not eat it. In Thai, they call it Khai Yiao Ma, which means pee egg. As it smells like pee.
The pomelo and coconut chips are recommended to try sometimes. And if you feel adventures, try the egg. They are often painted pink at the market, so they can keep them apart.
After taking a ferryboat to the other side of the river we visited a temple. Wat Kanlaya is the temple of friendship. China gave the temple to Thailand almost 200 years ago. The sitting Buddha is 16 meters high and covered with gold foil.
You can see the Chinese influences on the wallpaper. In Chinese temples, there are hand painted flowers, which you can also find in Wat Kanlaya. In traditional Thai temples, you can find stories on the wall,
We took a long-tail boat over the canals. Bangkok is also known as the ‘Venice from the east’. You saw broken wooden homes next to beautiful temples. This gave a really different and shocking view.
I cannot imagine that you have to live in these houses. Gladly, a lot were empty, as it would not be save anymore. We also saw some Komodo dragons, a lot of catfish and a snake. So keep your eyes open!
After a short 40 minutes, we arrived in another world. We cycled through the field on a meter wide path. The curves were ninety degrees and quite dangerous if you go to fast. Which gave hilarious screams of everyone. From Galangal, the Thai ginger, coconuts, Pandan, mango and bananas, we saw them all.
We also got a nice lunch next to a canal. They also asked us at the start if there were vegetarians, allergies etc. They made sure there was something for everyone.
We had three guides with our group. Imm was at the front and told us all the information. She would answer every question you had and add some extra information. She was also in for a joke. We discovered during the whole trip that Thai people really have a feeling for humor and they love laughing.
Nook Nook was in the middle of the group and made sure the group stayed together. She also stopped the traffic, so we could cross with the group. Her ‘snel, snel, snel’, (hurry, hurry, hurry in dutch) stayed with us the whole trip. It just sounded so funny and Nook Nook was very sweet and funny.
New York was at the end of the group. He helped to stop the traffic and with problems with the bicycles. My saddle was loose and a guy had a flat tire. He gave his own bicycle and he took the flat tire.
Thank you for the great tour!
If you have a few hours in Bangkok. Go on this tour. They have a few different ones, but the 5-hour bicycle/ boat combo was awesome. I am sure the other ones are just as fun. They make sure everyone is fine and fed. We got 3 drinks during the tour. They even had some sarongs with them for the temple. Everyone could go in now.
If you want to know the real Bangkok and be active, this is the tour for you. Of course, you can go with the famous hop on hop off bus, but this is just a bit different and unique. Don’t be afraid you cannot keep up with the group. The tempo is doable for everyone. Also for kids.
Thank you, Co van Kessel for this great tour!
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