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Bamboo Road

PART OF THE

Many of us have criss-crossed this beautiful area on a ‘shoestring’ over the years. Now return with us and spin through stunning mountains, along sparkling coastlines, into misty valleys, beside historic waterways, into small villages and ancient historic sites, revel in some of the world’s best foods and enjoy the unsurpassed hospitality of the region’s people and South Asia’s endless charm. The Bamboo Road Bicycle Expedition meanders through China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand & Malaysia – all becoming hotspots for cycle tourists. Enjoy a boat trip through the spectacular Ha Long Bay outside Hanoi, shop until you drop in Hong Kong, cycle through the incredible Angkor Wat or kayak the turquoise waters off Ao Nang on the Thai coast.

The Experience

The Bamboo Road Bicycle Expedition will weave a magical path between two of the world’s Alpha cities – Shanghai and Singapore. Between our departure from the historic Bund in Shanghai and your first sip of an ice cold Singapore Sling at the Long Bar in the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, you and your bike will experience three months of intense, incredible, exhilarating cycling.

Leaving the modern city of Shanghai, riders will soon find themselves pedaling through bamboo-clad hills, alongside lakes and canals and staying in ancient villages before enjoying a few days in Hong Kong. The first section provides a great introduction to China’s wide variety of landscapes. After enjoying a few days of settling in, riders will head into a more mountainous region as they pedal towards Wuyi Shan. Following a day of exploring, riders will continue along through the countryside on their way to rest day number two in Xiamen, a built up city of around 5 million people. From one big city onwards to the next, section one riders endeavour towards Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of China. With section one coming to an end, Hong Kong is a great place to explore, run errands or just relax before the adventure continues.

From Hong Kong section 2 begins and cyclists will turn west onto roads just north of the coast. Take in the sights and smells of the harvest as you meander across the quieter roads of the most populated country on Earth. Watch the edges of the road as you ride, as stretching along the roadways local farmers are busy harvesting and drying rice to sell at the local markets.

After a few quiet days its time to say goodbye to China and Hello Vietnam!

The border crossing between China and Vietnam will come shortly after a jaunt through the Friendship Pass. Traditionally the designation for the border of China and Vietnam (though the official border has moved a little bit over the years), the Friendship Pass got its current name in 1965 to reflect the close political ties between China and North Vietnam during the then on-going Vietnam War.

The ride within this northern part of Vietnam will take the group through stunning mountains, jungle vistas and plenty of political history. Continuing on to Hanoi riders can sample some truly authentic Pho, a little Vietnamese coffee (or beer!) and delve deeper into the over 1000 years of history offered in the capitol city.

With two rest days in Hanoi before the next section begins riders can take advantage of the opportunity for a day-trip (or overnight trip) to Ha Long Bay or they can spend their time exploring the various architectural styles on display along the city streets. A meander through these streets and alleys will open your eyes to what makes this city so amazing!

Section 3 takes off from Hanoi with Phnom Penh as its destination. Saying goodbye to the colonial architecture of Hanoi before heading southwest, riders will enjoy a few more days in Vietnam before entering their 3rd country of the trip, Laos. Here they can explore the amazing karst formations and caves during their rest day in Thakhek, situated on the legendary Mekong River. For the next 10 days the cyclists will follow this historic waterway through pastoral scenes, watching closely for the endangered freshwater Mekong dolphins near Kratie. Laos is a country that has only in last few decades opened up to tourism. It still retains much of its tradition and village life and because of this there are ample opportunities to get to know the diverse cultures of the region.

Following the river, riders will be led across the border and into country number 4, Cambodia. The Khmer empire, which ruled over Cambodia and much of what is now Laos, Vietnam and Thailand, has left many reminders across the landscape in the form of temples and relics. Riders will have the chance to be captivated by present-day Cambodia while dipping their toes into the past. After enjoying the mostly rural beginning to their Cambodian adventure, cyclists will arrive at the revitalized Phnom Penh. A rest day in the bustling capitol city provides a glimpse into the development of this south-east Asian gem.

Phnom Penh also signals the beginning of section 4 leading onwards to Bangkok, Thailand. Riders turn their handlebars west and spin along the Tonle Sap to Siem Reap where they will have 3 full days to explore one of the world’s most amazing sights – Angkor Wat. Take a guided tour to get some great historical details about the many temples. Rent a driver (or ride your bike) to help you explore all around its stunning 500 acres.

Refreshed, the riders will pedal into Thailand and across the friendly, welcoming countryside until they reach Bangkok, the city that never sleeps. A couple rest days in the city will give riders plenty of time to take in the markets, the giant reclining Buddha and some of the many temples. Get a ride in a tuk-tuk or long boat to rest your legs and watch this energetic city unfold around you.

Section 5 then heads south, the route skirting along the Gulf of Thailand; golden beaches on one side and endless rice paddies on the other. Eventually the terrain becomes more mountainous and the riding more challenging. As a reward the cyclists will descend to the Andaman Sea and enjoy a rest day amongst the area’s stunning islands.

Heading back inland, the cyclists will now make their way to the historic island of Penang. Known as a hot spot for food, riders should spend some time sampling the food cart offerings, which are varied and plentiful. The clan jetties, dating back to the late 1800s, are not to be missed. The 6 remaining jetties are located along the harbour area near an old colonial fort. For those riders looking for something a little more rugged there’s also plenty of national parks trails (with great wildlife sightings), as well as an historical tram that will take you up the Penang Hill for a great view of the city.

The final section treks out from Penang with a number of fun stops on the way to Singapore. Riders will visit the romantic, colonial town of Ipoh before veering south and arriving in the modern metropolis of Kuala Lumpur. While in Kuala Lumpur a highly recommended day trip is a visit to the Batu Caves just outside of the city. They are one of the most popular places of Hindu worship outside of India and are found at the top of a steep flight of 272 stairs. These beautiful limestone caves are truly breathtaking (though the stairs probably helped with that). While there, you better watch your possessions as the monkeys are likely to make off with anything left unattended for even a moment.

The last stretch of the journey returns to the coast and passes through the ancient trading city of Meleka and thence into Singapore. Finishing the expedition in this city-state gives riders a chance to explore the incredibly diverse and progressive metropolis. Having received independence as recently as 1965 Singapore has developed in leaps and bounds over the last 50 years. It’s a great place to put your feet up and reflect on the amazing journey that you’ve just completed.

The Experience

Leaving the modern city of Shanghai, riders will soon find themselves pedaling through bamboo-clad hills, alongside lakes and canals and staying in ancient villages. The terrain will change into a rugged lush mountainous zone and cyclists will enjoy a rest day in Wuyi Shan with its spectacular scenery – waterfalls, forests, mountains and rivers. Turning south to the coast, another highlight will be the 14th century city of Xiamen – one of the most beautiful harbour cities in the country. Fresh fish, colonial architecture and bike lanes abound. A few days later riders will arrive in the city of Hong Kong.

The Experience

This section begins with a leisurely bus transfer from Hong Kong to Kaiping on which the riders can rest up from their late-nights taking in the hustle of one of Asia’s biggest economies.

Riders will take their mark again in Kaiping where they will discover a vast collection of UNESCO highlighted watchtowers. Built by ‘coolies’ returning with their fortunes from California, the styles vary from Roman to Rococo.

Cyclists will now head west on roads just north of the coast headed towards their rest day in Hengzhouzhen. Take in the sights and smells of the harvest as you meander across the quieter roads of the most populated country on Earth. Watch the edges of the road as you ride, as stretching along the roadways local farmers area busy harvesting and drying rice to sell at the local markets.

After a few quiet days its time to say goodbye to China, and hello to Vietnam!

The border crossing between China and Vietnam will come shortly after a jaunt through the Friendship Pass. Traditionally the designation for the border of China and Vietnam (though the official border has moved a little bit over the years), Friendship Pass got its current name in 1965 to reflect the close political ties between China and North Vietnam during the then on-going Vietnam War.

The ride within this northern part of Vietnam will take the group through stunning mountains, jungle vistas and plenty of political history. Continuing on to Hanoi riders can sample some truly authentic Pho, a little Vietnamese coffee (or beer!) and delve deeper into the over 1000 years of history offered in the capitol city.

2010 marked one thousand years since the establishment of the city of Hanoi and the history is apparent around every corner; From the French colonial to the traditional. Take particular note of the tall, thin buildings. Historically homeowners were taxed according the width of the front of their house. This rule led to some pretty unique architectural examples throughout Hanoi. Wander through the streets and alleys and learn about what makes this city so unique.

With two rest days in Hanoi before the next section begins riders can take advantage of an opportunity for a day-trip (or overnight trip) to Ha Long Bay. Consisting of over 1,600 limestone monolithic islands, each topped with thick jungle vegetation the bay is otherworldly. Explore the bay on boat, visiting one of the floating fishing villages and exploring the caves (Thien Cung grotto and other caves provide a cool escape from the daily heat); Or just put up your feet, open a cold beer, and enjoy the stunning scenery.

The Experience

Heading south from Hanoi, the riders will pass water buffalo, farmers, and rice paddies while they pedal along secluded country lanes. Staying inland from the coast, they will travel through small villages and National Parks before turning west and climbing over the Kaew Nua Pass into rural Laos.

Here they can explore the amazing karst formations and caves during their rest day in Thakhek, situated on the legendary Mekong River. For the next 10 days the cyclists will follow this historic waterway through pastoral scenes, watching closely for the endangered freshwater Mekong dolphins near Kratie, crossing into Cambodia and past ancient Khmer temples and tropical rainforests before arriving in Phnom Penh.

The Experience

Having enjoyed a few ice-cold Angkor beers at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Phnonm Penh, riders will cycle along the northern edge of the Tonle Sap, Cambodia’s most important waterway.

Three days later they will arrive for a double rest day in Siam Reap. Here the participants will marvel at one of the world’s most spectacular sights – Angkor Wat. Here they will be able to cycle freely around the 40 square km of temples and statues of gods and demons.

Four days of spinning across the friendly and welcoming Thai countryside brings the section to an end in Bangkok.

The Experience

Leaving Bangkok, the riders will hug the coast of the Gulf of Thailand with palm trees, sand and warm waters on one side and forested mountains on the other. Stopping for a rest day in Thailand’s oldest beach resort, Hua Hin, participants may meet the country’s king who spends much of his time here.

Further south the route turns sharply west towards the Burmese border and the coastal road along the Andaman Sea. There will be some challenging climbing here, our first since leaving Vietnam, and the riders will subsequently enjoy their rest day in Ao Nang, possibly kayaking around the area’s stunning islands.

The expedition then turns back inland and crosses into Malaysia before heading over the causeway into historic Georgetown, Penang, the end of this sun-soaked section.

The Experience

Heading back to the mainland the cyclists will now head inland to the romantic, colonial town of Ipoh before veering south and arriving in the modern metropolis of Kuala Lumpur. Riders will enjoy a rest day here climbing the iconic Petronas Towers or enjoying a relaxing walk through the British-inspired Lake Gardens.

The last stretch of this section, and indeed the full tour, returns to the coast and passes through the great historic trading city of Meleka where they can also enjoy the inhabitants’ unique take on traditional Malaysian cuisine.

Finally, the participants will cross into Singapore, ending this epic adventure.

2015 Bamboo Road
Register Now
US$4,300
Shanghai
Hong Kong
September 20
October 9
US$2,200
Hong Kong
Hanoi
October 12
October 21
US$3,450
Hanoi
Phnom Penh
October 24
November 8
US$1,950
Phnom Penh
Bangkok
November 10
November 18
US$3,450
Bangkok
Penang
November 20
December 4
US$2,400
Penang
Singapore
December 6
December 16
US$15,600
Shanghai
Singapore
September 20
December 16

A registration fee of US$150 must first be paid to hold your place on the tour. This fee is in addition to the entry fee listed above. Full tour entry fees will receive an early payment discount of US$600 if full payment is received 6 months before the start of the tour. Those coming for multiple sections get 10% off for 2 or more sections on the same tour (multiple section discount does not apply to full tour price). Full tour single supplement is US$3800. Sectional single supplement prices available upon request. TDA alumni get special alumni discounts. Please contact our office for further details.