Self-guided Tours FAQ
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Self-guided touring is a unique mode of travel allowing you to explore exotic countries by bike semi-independently, with equipment and hotels provided and some logistical support.
We’ve assembled our most Frequently Asked Questions & Answers about Self-guided style of touring below.
For questions, answers and FAQs regarding regular guided multi-day touring please see answers here.
How does a self-guided tour work?
What is a self-guided tour?
If you crave more independence on your bike journey in Asia, perhaps our self-guided cycle tours are for you! Self-guided tours offer some of the conveniences of a guided Grasshopper Adventures tour, but with an added dose of independence.
We currently offer self-guided tours in Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan and Japan.
These tours include:
- High quality bikes, helmets, handlebar bags, basic tools and accessories, locks. In some countries there is the option to upgrade to a premium bike
- Comfortable accommodation
- Daily luggage transfer
- Wahoo ELEMNT cycling computer with GPS routes
- Self-guided Grasshopper App with audio and visual content for historical and cultural points-of-interest, food, and language information
- Emergency support
- Breakfasts included and sometimes dinners
- Memento cycling jersey and water bottle
- Optional upgrade to include a full-time support vehicle
- Booking flexibility – Pick your own departure dates *Subject to availability
Are self-guided tours suitable for children?
It depends on the kids (and parents!) If you have previous experience cycling with your children and feel confident in their skill, then we can make all necessary arrangements for them to join you.
For very young children, we can equip bikes with tagalongs or even child’s seats.
Reach out to our expert team to find out more.
I love cycling, but I’m not a great bike mechanic. What if something breaks?
Self-guided tours put more emphasis on self-reliance. It is expected you can mend a puncture or change a tube in the event it is needed. You will be provided with all the necessary tools to keep you going, including CO2 canisters, spare tubes, hand pump, oil bottles, and a chain breaker.
In order to confidently prepare for your tour we recommend reaching out to your local bike shop for a quick course on basic bike repairs. If that option is not available then there are many instructional videos on YouTube. Make sure to test your skills at home and you are good to go! We will replace any bike supplies you use during the trip.
Note: our bicycles are always immaculately maintained, so you won’t have a significant risk of repairs needed during your tour. In the event of a large equipment failure or emergency, you have our representative contact.
My itinerary says that I will be traveling on a train – where do I catch the train from? Do I have to purchase the train ticket myself?
We will either book your train ticket in advance or, in some locations, our representative will meet you at the station and to buy the tickets and ensure that you board the correct train. Regardless of that, Wahoo ELEMNT will be loaded with a route from your hotel to the station, while the Self-guided App will provide the train ride details.
With almost no exception, your bike will be will be transferred to train destination by our representative.
How do I navigate on a Self-guided tour?
Grasshopper representative will meet you and provide you with Wahoo ELEMNT. It is a navigation device and a cycling computer that will come mounted on your handlebar with maps and your routes. Its primary function is that of tracking your route and learning basic ride parameters. Our representative will show you how to use this device.
Will I meet with a guide when I reach sights on my route?
No, instead you will receive access to our dedicated Self-guided App. Your adventure is fully yours and private.
What can I learn from the Self-guided App about my adventure?
It contains cultural and historical background information about the places you will visit, as well as meal recommendations along the routes you will ride.
How to use the App?
The Self-guided App can be downloaded to any up-to-date Android and iOS devices and wifi environment and will later work offline when GPS/location services are turned on. We will provide you with access codes to unlock the contents of your tour.
The App will notify you about a sight when you’re in its vicinity.
Will we will be able to access the Grasshopper app from multiple devices?
Yes, the app can be used across multiple devices. To access each day of the tour you have to provide an email and a relevant tour code. The combination of the same email and tour code will unlock the same tour on another device – i.e. you can unlock the same tour on as many devices as you wish when using the same tour code as long as you provide the same email address each time.
Do you use headphones for directional cues?
No, wearing a headset (even ear-pods) while riding is a risky idea if a section of your route is part of a more congested road. Wiring of a headset easily gets entangled in helmet straps – very annoying! We fully trust in Wahoo ELEMNT as a solid and reliable navigation device with a clear cue system to follow.
Are there shops along the way during our rides to buy fruit and power snacks or have lunch?
Yes, local stores with fruit are abundant in Asia and in almost all cases the crops you can purchase are extremely delicious. The Self-guided App will further provide information on locations of restaurants or small shops where you can refill water bottles, or stop for a tasty snack.
What are the current promotions for Self-guided Tours?
Reach out to our team to see if there are any current promotions or join our Self-guided Community to get the latest about this independent mode of travel.
What is Solo Supplement and do I have to pay it?
Self-guided tours are priced based on at least 2 participants booking per departure. In plain sight and behind-the-scenes of each tour, from the moment you reach out to us until your departure on the final day, there are many fixed costs regardless of group size, that make your trip a seamless experience. This is especially true for Self-guided tours, where you are not accompanied by an experienced guide.
Our tours are priced to factor in these costs based on 2 participants, so if you prefer to go solo you must opt-in for the Solo Supplement.
OKAY, I booked a Self-guided tour, what’s next?
Thanks for the booking!
- You will receive a confirmation of you booking.
- We will forward confirmation of all your accommodation on the tour.
- You will receive our general Travel Guide where you will find crucial information about traveling to your chosen destination (weather, visas, things that are essential but easy to overlook)
- One month before your departure you will receive the InfoPack. InfoPack is a document which details your daily itinerary and provides additional information about preparation for a self-guided tour. It will further contain briefing on the workings of Wahoo ELEMNT and provides access coupons to our Self-guided App. You can also find advice on how to reach your hotel and details of in-person briefing that will be held just before you start riding.
- You ride!
We’re not sure we will manage to cycle for xx kilometers a day. How difficult are Self-guided tours?
You can find difficulty section for each tour on its page. For example: “Moderately difficult” means that a tour is achievable by hobbyist cyclist and regular bike commuters. “Somewhat challenging” means that you should expect a few climbs on your tour – but not too difficult with well-timed breaks.
Can we get additional assistance?
If you still feel uncertain reach out to us directly and our staff will provide route details and climbing profiles for a given tour – you will be able to visualize what you are up against by comparing those to rides you’ve taken in the past. We also offer an on-demand premium transfer assistance service in most of the countries we operate Self-guided tours.
Is it necessary to purchase a data plan in the country of the tour for the Self-guided App and GPS to work offline?
No. Our primary navigation device – Wahoo ELEMNT does not require data connectivity.
The Self-guided App requires data transfer only during installation. It will work just fine with GPS/location services turned on – these do not require data transfer.
However, our Representative will assist you in purchasing a local tourist SIM card loaded with enough data to last you your entire adventure, and be able to communicate with Grasshopper Team.
We have no international telephone cards. How do we contact Grasshopper staff in regards to our luggage, or other matters?
Our driver will transport your luggage from one hotel to another on each day. In case there will be any luggage transfer issues, you can ask the hotels to assist on contacting our representative or driver.
You can of course contact our driver yourself: in some destinations we will provide you with a brick phone with all relevant (driver’s, emergency, tour supervisor’s) numbers stored in it’s contact book. In some countries of operations we will set up a group chat where you can quickly connect with emergency and luggage transfer personnel.
In all self-guided destinations you will have access to in-app chat feature that will allow you to contact Grasshopper personel at all times.
For emergency reasons, we require you to travel with an unlocked phone to accept a local SIM-card or to use your roaming plan. This is a requirement of Self-guided tours for your safety and convenience in emergency situations.
Will we have bags on the bicycle? And where? At the front? How many?
Yes. Your bike will be fitted with a front handlebar bag to keep your personal items, and a small saddle-bag that contains bike tools.
Can we request a bike mount for our smartphones for easier access to Self-guided App?
If you’d like, we can provide a mobile holder mounted on your handlebar.
Bikes & Equipment
What type of bikes does Grasshopper use?
All of our tours include high quality, well-maintained bikes in a full range of sizes and with a wide gear range to help you on any climbs. Set up for touring, our bikes are perfectly fitted-out & suited to the distances and terrain we cover. A wide gear range to help you on any climbs and removable mudguards in case we encounter wet conditions. You may find the specific bikes we use in each country below.
Please visit our Bikes & Equipment page to know which bikes we use in each country.
Where does Grasshopper offer e-bikes?
We are now offering electric bikes on tours in Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam and Sri Lanka! If you’re worried about the distances or hills, or you would just like the option to sit back and relax sometimes, then an e-bike might be the right choice for you. Read more about our high quality pedal-assist e-bikes here. Our e-bikes come with a surcharge of $55 USD per e-bike per cycling day.
Can I bring my own pedals and saddle?
Our bikes come with standard, flat pedals. If you would like, you are welcome to bring your own pedals and we can fit them when you start the tour. Keep in mind we do not recommend road cycling shoes with protruding cleats – only those with recessed cleats. If you are particularly comfortable on your own saddle, you may also bring your own and we will fit it on.
Can I request a tandem bike?
Unfortunately we do not offer tandem bikes.
Can I bring my own bike?
If you are interested in bringing along your own bike, please contact our team and let us know what type of bike it is so we can confirm if it is suitable for the tour’s riding conditions.
What type of accommodation does Grasshopper use?
Whether it is an upscale resort on a beach or a homestay with a local family, you are sure to find the accommodation a memorable aspect of your Grasshopper trip. In cities we stay in comfortable & characteristic 3-5 star properties. In more rural or remote areas where there are limited options, we use the best available hotel or guesthouse in town which is always clean and comes with air-conditioning or a fan (depending on what the temperature requires) and a private bathroom. (The exception being homestays and accommodation in national parks.)
Please note that, while we endeavour to use the hotels listed, occasionally for reasons of availability we are required to book alternative accommodation. In such cases the hotel provided will be of an equal or higher standard than the one we usually use. If you would like to know the specific night-by-night accommodation on a specific tour please feel free to be in touch!
What if I want a private room?
Of course! Reach out to our team, or make sure to mention this while booking and we will lock in private accommodation on your tour.
Mind that in some more adventurous destinations, such as Mongolia or Nepal, where we sleep in traditional yurt tents, such option is not possible.
Will my children have a separate room?
On our Family tours, where available, we provide family suite, which sometimes will have a separate room for children. If you wish to ensure your children have a separate room then please make this request when booking or inquiring with our expert team.
What is the weather like during your travel period?
The climates we ride through vary from the cold winds of the Himalayan mountains to the tropics of Southeast Asia. In all destinations there are prime times to travel. The best weather generally overlaps peak tourist season, so everything from flights to accommodation can be more expensive at these times. Check out our travel guides pages to learn more about the local weather in our Self-guided destinations of Thailand, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Japan, and Vietnam.
What is the weather in Southeast Asia like?
Though weather will vary somewhat from country to country, Southeast Asia is generally hot, 30C̊ (85°F) or higher throughout the year. December to January are the coolest months, but this is also the peak tourist season. In Laos, upper Myanmar, and Northern Vietnam, temperatures can fall below 10 C̊ (50 °F) at times during the winter. November and February are a bit hotter, but there are far fewer tourists around. March to May are hot, but coastal Vietnam & Thailand are quite enjoyable at this time due to the ocean breezes. June to September or October is the rainy season. Many people try to avoid the rains, but actually the wet season can be a great time to travel in Southeast Asia. The fields turn green with young rice, the rivers are flowing again and the heat and haze of the dry season are replaced with fresh, clear air. During the rainy season, rain tends to come in short and heavy bursts during the late afternoon and at night. A bit of rain can actually comes as a welcome relief while you are riding.