Cycling Southeast Asia

Dragon closeupSoutheast Asia is one of the world’s most popular cycle touring destinations.

It’s got a warm climate, friendly people and cheap living. Despite the relatively low cost, there’s a range of options to suit everyone, from the ultra-budget traveller to someone who likes a more developed tourist infrastructure with better hotels and restaurants.

Are you wondering…

  • What the traffic is like?
  • Which country to choose?
  • Whether or not to bring a tent?
  • If you need a water filter?
  • What about cooking gear?
  • Do you need rabies injections?
  • Is malaria medication necessary?
  • What to wear for the climate and culture?
  • How to put your bike on a bus or train?
  • What it’s like during the rainy season?
  • Where to find bike shops?
  • On your bike you can explore everything from ancient treasures like Angkor Wat in Cambodia to beautiful beaches in the south of Thailand and the mountains of northern Laos. Everything from bustling cities to tea plantations are yours to discover in Malaysia.

    If you’re really adventurous, get off the beaten path by riding over the mountains through barely visited H’mong villages in Laos or on the dirt roads that run alongside the Mekong River in Cambodia, offering a fascinating insight into rural life.

    Wherever you go, traffic is generally light and very courteous. In Thailand and Malaysia, the roads are in near perfect condition but even in Cambodia and Laos the main routes are paved. And unlike many countries, visas are available on arrival or easy to obtain once you’re in the region.

    More information on individual countries can be found on the pages for Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos.


    1. James Holden
      17th October 2010 at 4:41 pm #

      Hi, I have been recommended to visit your website and so far it is quite concise and extremely helpful. I amsure I will spend many hours here in time to come. Keep up the good work, Regards, James

    2. Sam
      9th September 2011 at 8:41 am #


      My partner and I are currently heading towards SE Asia from China and would love to cycle in Myanmar and preferably to cross over by land into Myanmar and out into Thailand. It would appear that this is not possible and in order to get in with a bike, we will have to fly in and fly out. Does anyone have any news to the contrary or any tips in general about touring in Myanmar?

      Many thanks


    3. Paul
      3rd May 2012 at 6:26 pm #

      Can’t wait to get there later this year, it’s one of the best stages of my trip. I’ve read so much about it from other cyclists. Never been there. Can’t wait. Be great if I could cycle into and out of Burma though, maybe it will open up soon.

    4. Katie
      15th July 2012 at 2:19 am #

      Im thinking about bike touring parts of SE Asia this fall and was wondering is it safe for a female on her own? I understand it probably makes the trip more expensive as I wouldn’t be splitting rooms or food.

    5. Carolina
      8th November 2013 at 6:09 pm #

      I would like to know if there is like a bike group I can join, since I am a girl traveling by my own. Riding Southeast Asia would be great. I have a friend in Vietnam who can give us shelter.

      • mike
        16th November 2013 at 10:47 pm #

        I am arriving in Saigon Feb 1st 2014, stay a few weeks(Saigon) and plan on riding over to Bangkok, through Cambodia ….no time frame. Currently In Nicaragua the last 2 years and have great desire to see SE Asia. Also looking for groups or other riders of same time frame,same area of travel. Any Group pages for SE Asia? I hosted riders riding the Pan- American highway(pan-am riders google groups) at my house the last year. great experience Mike

      • Breige
        27th May 2014 at 6:19 pm #

        Hi Caroline’, I am just wondering did you ever find a cycle group? I am in a similar situation and will be travelling by myself . Thanks!

    6. Micah
      6th March 2015 at 9:57 pm #

      South East Asia is truly one of the best cycling destinations in the world. The stunning mountains, sparkling coastlines, misty valleys, ancient historic sites, some of the world’s best foods and the people’s unsurpassed hospitality keep us coming back for more.

    7. Bob Adair
      11th June 2015 at 6:37 pm #

      One option to keep in mind is buying a bike there, which makes it easier to get in some cycling in the middle of a non-cycling trip.

      You won’t be buying a sophisticated touring bike, but if you want to meander through the countryside of Cambodia, Laos, or Vietnam for a week, say, you don’t need one. Pick up a local, second-hand, 3 speed with a basket and a rear rack, leave your luggage somewhere safe, and take off with a couple of changes of underwear in a small knapsack. You will find cheap food, cheap places to stay, and will enjoy travelling at the speed your bike dictates. In a ‘strange’ country, it’s often better to relax and go slow, although 80km days are surprisingly possible even on the least sophisticated bike. Flatter routes are best of course, but walking up the occasional hill is another experience to be remembered. At least you’ll be travelling light.

      You can usually pick up a reliable bike for $100 – $200, and either sell it or give it to any number of local charities (schools, orphanages) when you’re done with it. The chance to get in some cycling in a new country without the hassle of lugging your bike and gear halfway around the world is not to be missed. And it takes the minimalism and freedom of bike travel to a whole other level :-)

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