Exploring a place on two wheels is one of the best ways to discover a new destination, as you get to go about on your own pace and burn a few calories at the same time.
1. Siem Reap, Cambodia
At around USD1 per day, renting a bike is cheaper than the cost of a soft drink. As you go about your journey around the main town area, use the Siem Reap River as your compass and make your way to the Angkor National Museum, the Royal Park, Pub Street, and the Angkor Night Market. For those with high stamina, cycling to and around Angkor Archaeological Complex is an enjoyable ride on its own, allowing you to stop whenever and wherever you wish,including the famous temples of Angkor Wat, Phnom Bakheng, Bayon, or Ta Phrom.
2. Osaka, Japan
Osaka is well-known as one of the bike capitals of the world, with proper bike lanes and plenty of bike shops making it such a delightful city to wheel around. A lot of hostels and hotels provide bicycles for its guests to rent or borrow, or if you’re crazy enough like yours truly, you can even buy a folding bike to use around town, and then bring back home (yup, that’s what I did). Bear in mind that Osaka is a huge city, so you probably won’t be able to visit all the major attractions simply by riding a bike as they don’t allow bicycles on trains. But a leisurely cycle around the few blocks close to where you’re staying (for example, Shinsaibashi or Shinimamiya area) is an ideal way to explore what’s around the vicinity, such as small family-owned ramen shops, markets, and little quirky things in between.
3. Yangshuo, China
Famous for its towering karst mountains and winding rivers, Yangshuo is a lovely excursion just two hours away by car from Guilin. No trip to this serene countryside would be complete without a day on two wheels. Here you can expect to see beautiful views of the Li River, blooming flower fields, cotton farms, and charming villages along the way. Mountain bikes are available for rent for as cheap as CNY20 for half-day hire and CNY30 for a full day. Remember to ask the hotel or bicycle shop for a map and recommended trails to follow.
Well-developed with good infrastructure and smooth pathways, Singapore is an enjoyable city to cycle around. The Singapore Ministry of Transport has even created a National Cycling Plan that aims to make cycling a safe, healthy, and convenient method of transportation in the bite-size country. For tourists looking to enjoy Singapore’s scenic cycling routes, head to the Kallang River for an enjoyable ride with views of the Marina Bay Sands, the Helix Bridge, the Singapore Flyer, the ArtScience Museum, and the gorgeous Singapore city skyline. Other excellent spots for cycling include the East Coast Park which goes along a coastal stretch and Pulau Ubin, a small island which is just a quick boat ride away from the Changi Ferry Terminal.
5. Bagan, Myanmar
Traipsing around Bagan is like travelling back to ancient times. Scattered througout 104 square kilometres of picturesque plains are more than 2,000 temples and pagodas, some of which date back to the 11th century, when the Pagan Empire was at its height. Being on a bicycle means that you have the freedom to explore the plains on your own sweet time, making pit stops at any temple that might beckon you to take a break. As the area is vast, another widely available option is to rent an electric bike, which gives you the same kind of freedom, minus the hassle of pedalling.
6. Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne is committed to becoming a cycling city, with a safe and easy bicycle network for cyclists, plus the Melbourne Bike Share program that was designed for short trips around the city. Not to-be-missed here is the Capital City Trail which starts at Flinders Street Station and goes along famous attractions including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Yarra River, and Melbourne Zoo. The great thing about riding a bike in Melbourne is that you are allowed to bring your bicycle on the trains, so you can also easily explore Melbourne’s famous suburbs including Fitzroy, where there are lots of chic coffee shops and nifty second-hand stores, or visit the lively beaches of St Kilda and Brighton.
7. Taipei, Taiwan
Much like Melbourne, Taipei has its own bike-sharing program called YouBike, an initiative of the Taipei City Government. Once you get your bicycle, a popular option is to follow the trail along the Tamsui River, where a bike ride on a good day will not only give you fantastic views of the Taipei city skyline, but it also takes you to parks and several cultural and historical buildings, including Xiahai Chenghuang Temple, Toa Thiu Thia Puppet Centre, Taipei Confucious Temple, and Baoan Temple.