Some tourists prefer to take on foreign cities solo: nothing screams ‘tourist trap’ like following around a guide waving a brightly colored flag. However, there are plenty of tours in Bangkok that are authentic, fun, and take visitors off the beaten path. Here are our top picks.
Co van Kessel Bangkok Tours
Cycling in Bangkok is certainly not as popular as it is in other parts of the world. Dutch cyclist and explorer Co van Kessel realized this, so he discovered and developed some of the best mountain biking routes, to share with visitors to Bangkok. After Co van Kessel passed away in 2012 the team at Co Van Kessel Bangkok Tours has kept his dream alive with their amazing tours. Situated in the historic neighborhood of Talad Noi, in the River City Shopping Center, Co van Kessel Tours offers many tour packages to choose from, including bicycle, walking, and boat tours.
Prices start at ฿750 (US$22) for a two-hour walking tour, and range in both cost and duration.
Bangkok Food Tours
Thailand is home to some of the most unique cuisine in the world. Unfortunately, not every traveler lives their best culinary lives in the Kingdom. Many of the best and most interesting of dishes are left untasted by tourists simply because they do not know where to find them. This is where Bangkok Food Tours come in. Cycling and boat tours are great, but what better way to explore one of the culinary capitals of the world than with the help of your palate?
Bangkok Food Tours launched in 2011, and ever since have been winning over their many visitors’ hearts through their stomachs. Visitors will learn how to eat like the locals do. Tantalize taste buds with flavorful and unique Chinese and Thai fusion cuisine on Yaowarat Road (฿1,350/US$39), or challenge your palate with the bizarre food challenge. There are both half and full day tours to choose from, as well as excursions for up to eight nights. Most of the tours begin at visitors’ hotels or a BTS Skytrain Station.
Prices start at ฿850 (US$25) for children and ฿1,150 (US$33) for adults.
ABC Amazing Bangkok Cyclists
Visitors do not have to be Lance Armstrong (post doping) to take an ABC Amazing Bangkok Cyclist tour. For more than 30 years, this cycling tour company has been scouring the city to find the most unique routes, regardless of a tourist’s cycling skill level. Participants will have the rare opportunity to see historic and floral areas intertwined with Bangkok’s otherwise urban decor, which is an experience in itself.
ABC Amazing Bangkok Cyclists has six different tours to choose from, and tours start at ฿1,300 (US$38). Private tours are available upon request.
Grasshopper Adventure Thailand
Strap on those helmets and get ready to hit the pavement with Grasshopper Adventure Thailand, a cycling company operating in over 15 countries. Night owls may opt for the Bangkok Night Bike half-day package (฿1,250/US$36), venturing through some of the top sights in the capital, including the majestic Temple of the Dawn and the colorful Flower Market in Chinatown. Grasshopper Adventure Thailand also has combined bike and boat tours on the Chao Phraya River.
Prices range from ฿1,700-4,500 (US$49-131).
Tour with Tong
Bangkok is a crowded city, with over eight million residents. Those wanting a more intimate experience should check out Tour with Tong. For years, Tong and her experienced guides have taken tourists and locals alike off the beaten path. Though there are set excursions to choose from, Tour With Tong welcomes requested itineraries and can tailor excursions accordingly.
Each excursion has a flat rate of ฿1,000 (US$29) for up to five hours, and ฿1,500 (US$44) for up to eight hours for a group of up to four people. Each additional hour is only an additional ฿200 (US$6), making these some of the most affordable tours in the city. Visitors are expected to pay any additional costs while on the tour, including transportation, meals, and admission fees. As with any tour, bypass any excursions in which animals suffer, such as elephant riding.
Tour with Tong, 99/525 Soi. Wat Ladpraduk, Nonthaburi 11110, +668 1835 0240
Follow Me Bike Tours
As Bangkok has become more popular it has become harder and harder to find locally-owned and operated businesses. At Follow Me Bike Tours, each cycling excursion was made by locals and is led by a local guide, making each experience authentic and memorable. Follow Me Bike Tours leads tours every day of the week. From the delicious food to the local people, each of the six different tours aims at revealing the real and authentic Bangkok.
There are walking, boat, and cycling tours available, and prices range from ฿1,200-2,200 (US$35-64).
Several luxurious cruises travel along the Chao Phraya River for sunset dinners, but only a handful offer entire excursions as well as dinner. The Grand Pearl is one, with a full-day tour that starts and ends in Bangkok and travels to the historic city of Ayutthaya. The day begins at 6 am, when guests are picked up from their hotels, taken to the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel and then board the luxurious Grand Pearl. Some of the top sights seen along the way include the Bang Pa-In Palace, Wat Mahatad, and Wat Phrasrisanphet. In addition to being air-conditioned, the boat serves delicious, buffet-style lunches.