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7 Days | 6 Nights
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Journey from Bangkok to the beach on a relaxing river cruise and bike exploration that combines multi-activity touring and a leisurely cruise on the River Kwai, with a beach getaway. A fun itinerary is also provided for non-riding partners, family or friends of cyclists. Pedal, cruise and kayak your way past rural farmland and the Thai-Burma Railway, ending up on the undiscovered paradise island of Koh Yao.
Find out why our Bike & Boat tours offer extra peace of mind for travelers.
See what Bike & Boat tours are all about in our video below:
Cannondale Quick 1 Disc or E-bikes
Friendly Thai team and special leader
6 to 18
The RV River Kwai Boat & resort
Ride/ walk/ kayak/ snorkel
This tour departs from Bangkok, one of the most popular gateways to Southeast Asia and a fascinating place to explore in its own right (preview our pre-tour extension option). We won't linger here long though, taking straight to the road for Kanchanaburi, a town in western Thailand that was the subject of one of the most audacious and ultimately tragic Japanese initiatives of World War II.
Not only will our cycling exploration provide us with scenic vistas and cultural sites, but it will allow for historical immersion as well. We’ll pedal down a mix of sealed and unsealed roads, over a suspension bridge, to historic sites such as Hellfire Pass aptly named for the difficulty of conditions endured by the laborers who built it, and take a ride on a section of the original Thai-Burma Railway. Non-cyclists will enjoy taking in these sites as well, in addition to a mix of activities while the riders are out on the bikes.
Our tour rounds up on the idyllic surroundings of Koh Yao, complete with a blissful stay on an island resort, and cycling exploration of the island as well as other water and land activities like kayaking, snorkeling and secluded island hopping. Discover the history and culture of Thailand, combined with physical exploration and a relaxing beach vacation on this seven-day multi-activity tour.
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125 Km or 151 Km riding. This tour does feature some hills, but they are more of the undulating, rolling nature than the sustained climbing nature. You are on a mixture of well-paved roads and some hard-packed, gravel/dirt roads that make up about 20% of the total riding.
Pedal-assist E-bike is an available option for this tour for $140 surcharge.
Cycle the 13th century Muang Sing ruins before returning to the ship for a relaxing river cruise with great views.
Pedal back roads around Koh Yao for an exploration of tropical life and sparkling beaches.
Spend a day in paradise, kayaking in the clear waters of Koh Yao or taking a walk through the jungle.
You will have time for breakfast at your Bangkok hotel before we pick you up at 7:30 am. The drive to Kanchanaburi City is about 3.5 hours and our first stop of the day is one of the most educated on the topic of the Thai-Burma Railway. The Thai-Burma Railway Center is a privately funded museum, curated by Rod Beattie, an Australian who has dedicated years to researching the railway, the POW camps and the stories of the prisoners. The museum provides a comprehensive overview of what occurred on the railway and the conditions under which the prisoners toiled and many perished. Opposite the museum is the allied war cemetery where the remains of 6,982 Allied POW have been laid to rest.
After that somber start to the day, we will convene on the grounds of a temple, to conduct a bike fitting and to hear all about safe riding from your group leader. Then we start off on a pedal of the town to visit the famed "Bridge Over the River Kwai". From there, we ride out into the countryside through sugar cane fields and rice paddies where farmers tend to their buffalo. Lunch is had in a family-owned restaurant and with that fuel in our stomachs, we ride the last little bit to reach the embarkation point for our river ship.
The RV River Kwai was built in Burma by the remnants of the East India Flotilla Company and is modeled in that British Colonial-era style for which the company was famous. We see the day by cruising up the river with a cold drink in hand.
Today we have a short ride option and a long ride option and you can make the decision on the day. We'll enjoy riding on almost deserted roads in the countryside, through farmland where corn, rice, and various other crops are grown and where the pace of life slows even more.
Along the way, we pass remnants of the civilizations that have since been swept away with the passage of time. At one point, the Khmer Empire in what is now Cambodia occupied this land and built structures including Prasat Muang Sing where we will stop for lunch.
For those who opt to ride on after lunch, we have a loop through even more remote countryside where we pass workers busily tending to orchards and a few modern-day temples where monks will be meditating after their final meal for the day.
Back onboard the ship, we'll cruise upstream at a leisurely pace and time our passage as such that it's likely you'll see elephants from the nearby sanctuary come down with their Mahouts for an afternoon bath in the river. This is a special sight and makes for some excellent pictures as the elephants often swim up quite close to the ship.
This is the biggest day of activity on the trip. We leave the ship quite early and take a short walk to board our train. This train runs on the remaining sections of track from the original Thai-Burma Railway and a short way into the journey passes over the exciting Wang Pho Viaduct. The train is mostly empty but for a few locals getting to market and to school at this time of the morning.
After our train ride, it's back onto the bikes for arguably the most varied ride of the tour. We start out along the river where the road is mostly flat and paved. We stop at a temple where an informative mural forms the backdrop to a lovely viewpoint over the river, then we continue along and enter a forestry area. Here the government is cultivating Teak and other indigenous timber for future use and this allows for some nice shade as we leave the tarmac.
Riding gravel roads through the forest is quite a different experience to the last few days and a few hills make this section even more interesting. We conclude at a pedestrian, suspension bridge over the river and here we load into the vans for the short drive to the Hellfire Pass Memorial. We walk down to the cutting that was hand chiseled by the prisoners, then time permitting we can walk a section of the now removed track that traversed a particularly difficult piece of engineering, but today is being reclaimed by the bamboo forest.
Back at the ship, we have an evening talk by Rod Beattie (schedule permitting). By now you will know quite a bit of the story of the Thai Burma Railway and Rod's part in this is to tie it all together for you into the greater narrative, something that he does superbly, drawing on his significant understanding of the events of the time.
We leave the ship after breakfast and farewell the delightful crew. Then it's a 3-hour drive to the airport and a 1-hour flight down to the south of Thailand where we board a speedboat for a scenic trip out to Koh Yao Noi. We will arrive on this lovely little island just in time for sundowners on the beach.
The resort is in a secluded part of the island with a choice of a rugged trail or pleasant boat ride to reach the rest of the island. We take the boat option and after just a short zip in the boat, we find our bikes and go for a pedal of the southern area of the island which is mostly flat and with quiet paved roads. We will get a feel for the geography of the island, stop to see how rubber is grown and harvested and stop in on an aquaculture farm. We will ride over to the western side of the island where the landscape is a little different and sit down to lunch at a local restaurant on a pier. Then it's back to the resort by boat and an afternoon free for you to enjoy as you see fit.
Our departure time will depend on the tide because after a short boat ride, we will be getting into kayaks and paddling through a natural tunnel in the limestone to reach an enclosed lagoon. In fact, we will visit two of these lagoons in which it feels as though you are in a different dimension. The noise of passing boats is not heard and the sunlight filtering through the leaves and onto the faces of the small colony of monkeys that live here, give it a surreal feel. As the tide shifts, we paddle out and then continue to explore these small, limestone islands that are dotted throughout the bay. At one with a nice beach, we come aground to enjoy a swim and lunch before returning to the resort for another free afternoon before our final dinner as a group.
The morning is free for you to enjoy Paradise. Then, depending on your exit arrangements from Thailand, we will have the necessary transport to take you to either Phuket International Airport or to a hotel on Phuket Island.
RV River Kwai
For this special tour, Grasshopper Adventures is partnering up with Thailand’s first inland cruise ship, the RV River Kwai. The vessel was newly built as a colonial style river cruiser based on designs used by the original Irrawaddy Flotilla which was founded in Burma in 1865 and by the 1920s was the largest privately owned fleet of ships in the world.
With just ten beautifully teak enhanced cabins, this cozy, small and intimate vessel is perfect to cruise on the scenic and historic River Kwai.
The RV River Kwai is under private charter to Grasshopper Adventures with our own Grasshopper tour director.
* Length: 36m - Width: 7.6m
* Speed: 8 knots
* Outdoor deck
* Cabin size: 129 sq ft / 12 sqm
* 10 outside main deck cabins with twin beds
* Individual AC control
* Ensuite shower/toilet with boutique toiletries
* Mini bar
* Coffee & tea set
* Hair dryer
Quality, well maintained Cannondale Quick 1 Disc mountain bikes in a full range of sizes are included in your tour. Handlebar bags for your personal possessions and a reusable sports bottle are also provided.
The Cannondale Trail Neo is a durable, high quality and supremely comfortable e-bike. It features a power pack and drive unit from Bosch and is equipped with 10 speed Shimano gearing with plenty of range for all conditions. The hydraulic disc brakes prevent any braking fatigue in your hands and front suspension prevents any wrist pain that can occur with e-bikes due to their slightly different weight distribution. It's a great looking bike too, with a battery that is integrated into the frame and a nice, subtle color scheme. The bikes come in S, M & L, so will suit riders from 165cm to 186cm in height.
Nights on the island are in quality accommodation which make for a wonderfully comfortable experience after your exploration. The island resort has a shaded swimming pool and is also only a few steps from the ocean, the ultimate R&R for your body and mind. All other nights are spent onboard the boat which offers comfortable and scenic views and the convenience of not having to repack and move daily as we explore the region.
An experienced English speaking, local leader will host you on this trip who is well spoken, very knowledgeable, and charming. For tours of 7+ people, an assistant guide will accompany the group to allow for flexibility and ensure attention to service & detail.
Our leaders are often cited as being the main highlight of the tour. We use local guides who have a passion for their country and are always well informed on topics ranging from history, politics, cuisine and importantly local customs and cultures. Our leaders will take pride in introducing you to every aspect of their country and will help you to connect with the villagers you meet along the way. They will also be looking out for your safety and comfort at all times.
An air-conditioned backup support vehicle is always available in case you want a break from riding, and to carry your luggage.
Thai food is internationally famous, and for good reason. This trip is as much about food as riding with all the best of Thai food provided throughout the trip. Included meals are listed in the day by day itinerary, and drinking water is always included with meals. Any soft or alcoholic drinks are not included and will be at your own expense.
Energy bars and local snacks are provided to keep your energy levels up for the riding, and clean water and electrolyte drinks are always available to keep you well hydrated.
Take it Home
A beautiful souvenir Grasshopper cycling jersey is yours to wear and take home. We also provide a Grasshopper drink bottle as an extra memento.
6 to 18
This tour is guaranteed for a minimum of 6 travelers and we limit the group size to 18 travelers so that you get all the attention you want in an intimate group.
There is no surcharge for single travelers - we will match you with another same-sex single traveler. If you want a single room there is an optional upgrade that you can book.
All aboard the RV River Kwai- a river cruiser built in the colonial style. Take in the river views from on deck or from the large picture window in your cozy, teakwood, air-conditioned cabin. The most comfortable way to cruise the River Kwai!
This luxury beachfront resort is all about harmonizing with nature, nestled on a private and remote beach on the little-visited island of Koh Yao Noi. Take a Thai cooking class, enjoy a paddle on the water, or explore secret lagoons among tall limestone karsts in this private paradise.
I never knew cycling and discovering a destination would be so much fun and enriching (and a good work out too). Thank you Grasshopper Adventures!
I have done other cycle vacations both self-guided and with other companies, Grasshopper was the best in its attention to detail, guide and support, daily maintenance of the bikes and wonderful insight into the country, kindness and hospitality.
Click here to see our Thailand Travel Guide.
Here is some general travel information for Thailand.
All 10 outside cabins on the RV River Kwai are on the main deck and twin bedded.
Our cycling routes are carefully researched and tested to find the safest routes. The Bangkok Night Bike Tour uses back alleys and side streets with little traffic. Later in the evening around the passes the Grand Palace on a main road. At that time of the night the streets in that area are very quiet. Read out blog about the safety of riding a bike in Bangkok.
Take a moment to read our blog on the highlights of Kanchanaburi.
Take a moment to read our blog on bike and boat tours for more information.
Multi-day Cycling Tours Frequently Asked Questions
This combination of bike, boat and beach holiday is unique to Grasshopper, and we’ve created this tour so there is something for everyone, cyclists or non-riders alike. We’ve crafted this itinerary to take you from the capital city through the countryside to places of historical interest before making our way to the quiet, blissful Koh Yao for a few days of fun in the sun. There is so much variety in this tour, as well as a comfortable cruise, incredible Thai food, and fun cycling that you will come away with a greater appreciation for Thailand and its culture and beauty.
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