Bicycle tour, Wild Trails
If you’re the type of biker who loves to turn off the main roads and get deep into some beautiful country, this is a fantastic part of the world to do it.
Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam are paradise destinations for those of us who crave the dirt and gravel.
Along the ‘wild trails’ as I like to call them, in a single 150km stretch there may be hundreds of villages to visit.
These roads are the only means of getting from one village to the next, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy and sometimes they’re not even passable during the rainy season.
The roads I’m talking about were built by people, not huge machinery. That means they follow the land rather than plowing straight through it.
It’s a fantastic way to really appreciate the local geography and realize how much effort the locals take just to travel a few kilometers.
Most of the ‘wild trails’ follow rivers since it’s near the rivers where villages grow.
You get the opportunity to see such rich culture out there because the locals are largely unaffected by outside events, living off the land and specializing in hunting, fishing and agriculture, to name a few.
Sure, you can jump on the main highway and get to the next big city much faster, but that’s not what it’s all about.
- There are some good maps available which show these unpaved, untraveled roads. ‘GT Riders Map’ to name one, has great coverage of Northern Thailand and Laos.
- ‘Maps.me’ is the best app for your phone, as it can be used offline.
If you decide you want to spice things up and head out on the ‘wild trails’, make sure you’re prepared.
- Food and water can be hard to come by once you’re deep onto the trails. We usually have 3 water bottles each and keep some food that we bought the night before. Bananas, sticky rice, dried beef and fruit are constants in our packs.
- As for water, the locals drink from their wells, and will certainly offer it to you. We don’t recommend it as it’s unfiltered and we just don’t have the stomachs for it.
- Remember that these trails are tough, and you’ll be burning through 3-5 thousand calories a day. That’s a lot to put back in, and depending on the weather, quality of trails, breakdowns etc., it could be a while before you hit the next village, so plan ahead and keep some snacks on you.