Touring Asia by bike

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of July 16-22, 1998
Dodging lightning in the mountains and canyons
Off-roading in South Dakota’s Black Hills
Navigating Nova Scotia
Touring Asia by bike

Touring Asia by bike
Question: I’ll be working in Seoul, South Korea for at least two years and was wondering about some of your recommendation for a great cycling trip/tour in Korea or in the neighboring countries.

Eunjee Kim
Seoul, South Korea

Adventure Adviser: It seems that American tour operators have yet to catch on to the wonders of cycling in South Korea. The closest cycling trip I’ve found is Asian Pacific Adventures’ 14-day “Best of China by Bike.” If you’re a serious cyclist, this may not be the itinerary for you, as it reads more like a two-wheeled tour of China’s hottest cultural spots. The tour includes eight days of cycling to such sights as the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the Dowager Empress’ Summer Palace. You’ll also spend a few days cruising down the Li River, ending in Yangshuo where you’ll stay two nights and spend one of your days cycling the limestone-littered landscape. If you haven’t had enough cycling after 14 days, you can always sign up for the eight-day extension trip to Yunnan Province. The trip departs April through November and costs approximately $3,293. For more details call 213-935-3156 or 800-825-1680. Though the two countries aren’t close by any stretch of the imagination, Cycle Vietnam is one of the most prolific bicycle tour operators in Asia, which is why I mention its tours. They offer a number of itineraries in it’s namesake country, including a 1,200-mile bike trip from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. Generally offered once a year, the trip promises to cover the entire country from north to south. The cost in 1998 was $4,150 (this included air fare from the United States, which you won’t need.) Cycle Vietnam also offers “An Introduction to Vietnam,” “Backroads of Vietnam,” and “Cycle Laos” tours. For more information on any of these trips call Portland, Oregon-based Cycle Vietnam at 503-281-9198. Two other companies that offer cycling and mountain biking trips a bit farther afield in Asia are Latitudes Expeditions East (415-398-0458) and KE Adventure Travel (970-925-8368). Latitudes offers a “Cycle Thailand,” “Cycle Indonesia,” and “Cycle Vietnam” trip, and KE offers mountain biking tours of the Himalayan countries of Nepal, India, Bhutan, and Tibet.

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