Southeast Asia has always been a destination for the intrepid traveler. Boasting acres of picturesque land, thriving ecosystems, and abundant resources, one can’t help but admire its natural beauty. If you were to join a bus tour, however, you won’t have much of an opportunity to truly experience it.
This is why it’s highly recommended to try and cycle your way through some of the sights and sounds of Southeast Asia. Here are five of our favorite routes throughout the region:
Mt. Maarat, The Philippines
In the Philippines, it’s hard to talk about cycling without mentioning the Maarat Trail in the town of San Mateo. According to a report on CNN, the Maarat trail itself is composed of different paths: Blue Zone, Green Zone, Table Top, Casili, and Basic Trail. Each varies in terrain (Blue and Green are mountains, for example), and overall route. If you’re a beginner, be aware that some trails are harder than others. But if there’s one path that you shouldn’t miss, it’s the Table Top. Here, you’ll be greeted by an excellent bird’s-eye view of the surrounding scenery at the finish line.
Lumpini Park, Thailand
There’s no shortage of activities amidst the hustle and bustle of Thailand, especially in its capital. In fact, the gaming website Expat Bets has plenty of guides for Southeast Asian destinations, but the Land of Smiles is highlighted for having one of the most dynamic lifestyles that every traveler can enjoy. Of course, all those night markets and pub crawls can get exhausting, too. So if you’re looking to slow down, a quick trip to Lumpini Park is enough to give you a breather. Lumpini is one of the largest green spaces in Thailand and spans over 500,000 square meters. Its cycle route is marked on an asphalt circuit and starts from the entrance ramp up to the Cigarette factory along Suk Soi 4.
Dhala and Twante, Myanmar
Myanmar is a country that’s located in the middle of three other countries, namely: Eastern India, Southern China, and Western Thailand. As such, most of its structures, landscapes, and culture have been heavily influenced by them. To experience some Burmese history, you can ride from the quiet village of Dhala to a township called Twante. In between, you will come across several other villages, rice paddies, temples, and even pilgrims.
Bukit Kiara, Malaysia
Bukit Kiara has traditionally been hikers’ territory. However, since its highest point is a mere 250m, people have taken to exploring the terrain on bicycles for the extra challenge. The locals have set up various trails for beginners and seasoned cyclists alike, so everyone has the chance to see the greenery up close. Bukit Kiara used to be a rubber plantation years ago, which is why some of the paths are actually carved out by rubber tappers — a cool tidbit of history.
Are you opting for a cooler ride? Then zoom through Kirirom‘s world-renowned waterfalls and signature humidity. It’s such a popular cycling area and is known to host one of Cambodia’s biggest cycling events, the Kirirom Mountain Bike Challenge. Due to the harsh terrains and the 700-meter climb, however, Kirirom is only recommended for professional cyclists looking for a challenge.
When traveling across Southeast Asia, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to see the popular tourist stops. However, it’s good to make time to bask in the less trodden but equally scenic paths. After all, in nature-rich regions like Southeast Asia, the landscapes are the highlights themselves.
For more on adventure and travel on two wheels, be sure to browse through our different guides here on The Tandem Ramble.