Traveller Stories: Cycling my way through Asia

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The simple pace of cycling lends itself to meeting the locals, accessing remote monasteries and experiencing the exhilaration of freewheeling in vast valleys. It provides the ultimate immersion into the landscape and culture of a country, and are some of the reasons why World Expeditions traveller, Greg Packer, has been on six group cycling trips with us in Asia since 2011.

We sat down with Greg to ask him what it is about cycling in Asia that he loves so much and what makes him keep coming back for more.

Greg on the Chang Mai to Vientiane Cycle

Greg on the Chang Mai to Vientiane Cycle

 

Where have you embarked on a cycle journey with us?

I have done six cycling trips with World Expeditions since 2011. These include Vietnam by Bike (2011), Yunnan Cycle and Tiger Leaping Gorge (2012), Thailand to Laos (Change Mai to Vientiane) (2013), Sri Lanka by Bike (2014), Ho Chi Minh City to Ankgor Wat Cycle (2015) and Along the Mekong River by Bike (2017).

What was the most memorable moment on your recent cycle along the Mekong River?

The most memorable part was the home-stay in a small village in Cambodia near the Laos border. The food was fantastic!

You can bike across Europe but you seem to prefer pedalling across Southeast Asia. What is it about the region that keeps you coming back for more?

I do some cycling in the UK but I like Southeast Asia because cycling is reasonably slow and often on backroads, so you get to see things that most tourists don’t. Also, it’s close to Australia and good value.

Other things that keep me coming back include the culture, the very friendly people, the food and the cold beer. We feel safe on the roads in Asia and every ride with World Expeditions has been very professionally run.

Vietnam by Bike

Vietnam by Bike

What do you like about cycling in a group rather than solo?

Group riding is important because out on the roads it feels safer. You have back-up support with a bus and truck if it’s too hilly, too hot or you don’t feel well. We spend every evening eating, drinking and laughing… and that’s hard to do by yourself.

China Yunnan Cycle and Tiger Leaping Gorge 2012 (4)

Why do you prefer to cycle your way through a country rather than walk or bus?

Most of my friends who come along with me are keen cyclists in Australia so it’s our preferred mode of transport. However, my wife Libby has done a lot of walks with World Expeditions and in 2015 we did the Cornwall Coast Walk with UTracks.

What advice would you give to someone who’s never done a cycle holiday but wants to give it a go?

It’s best to be fit, but if you don’t feel fit enough you can always go on the bus and still have a great time. The accommodation is good and is always clean and tidy with friendly staff.

I have always organised friends to go with me and usually get 6 to 12 people to go. Not everyone will know each other and we don’t make it private. These sorts of trips are good for new people to join but if they don’t want to mix socially with others then these trips are not for them. On this last trip there were 6 of us and 3 other males from Sydney, Perth and the UK and we all got on really well plus we ensure we swap roommates on all trips to mix it up.

Embark on your own cycle journey

Whether you’re a first timer or an experienced cyclist, our cycling holidays open up a world of adventure and self discovery. View our Cycle Journeys in Asia >

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