Five of the best off-the-beaten-track cycling destinations in Asia

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Five of the best off-the-beaten-track cycling destinations in Asia

Sponsored feature: Want to spread your wings? Here are five cycling destinations to get away from it all in Asia

The iconic roads, bergs and cols of Europe are well-travelled and figure highly on the must-ride lists of many riders – but when it comes to Asia, much less is known about the best roads to ride.

But Asia is home to some of the world’s best riding, combining captivating culture, superb roads and breathtaking scenery, all waiting to be explored.

Asia is home to some of the world’s more stunning roads and beautiful views (Pic: SpiceRoads)

If you want to spread your wings, capture more of the world on two wheels or simply want to ride somewhere a little different from your normal training camp destination, then Asia gives you the chance to go off the beaten track.

Plus, thanks to tour operators like SpiceRoads, fully-guided tours through the likes of Taiwan, Sri Lanka and Cambodia are right at your fingertips.

Where will your next big ride be? We’ve rounded up five must-ride countries in Asia. Tempted? We are…

Taiwan

At just 400km long, and with a land mass comparable to that of Belgium, Taiwan might not strike you as the most obvious place to ride your bike.

Tough climbs, quiet roads and stunning views are the order of the day in Taiwain (Pic: Fhaione, via Flickr Creative Commons)

But the island is home to more than 100 peaks, with twisting roads, tough climbs and exhilarating descents.

Plenty of quiet roads make it an ideal place to ride, while the Central Mountain Range takes you up peaks more than 3,000m in elevation.

At the other end of the scale, the Taroko Gorge and the Pacific coast offer similarly thrilling descents and stunning views.

Recommended tour: Taiwan Traverse by Road Bike – 937km over nine days of cycling, taking in the challenging-but-rewarding climbs (including two passages of the Central Mountain Range) and thrilling descents.

Vietnam

Vietnam is steeped in history and one legacy of the war is the Ho Chi Minh trail, which grew out of a small track to transport war essentials into the Ho Chi Minh Highway of today.

Vietnam can be explored easily by bike thanks to the Ho Chi Minh Highway (Pic: Luke Humphreys)

What was once only used by locals is now an elaborate system of mountain and jungle roads, offering a quieter alternative to the traffic-heavy Highway 1.

The Ho Chi Minh Highway is fully-paved and the undulating road takes in everything from farms and orchards, to tribal villages and caves, to war and ancient historical sites. On top of all that, you’ve got some of the best views the stunning Vietnamese countryside can offer.

Recommended tour: Road Biking the Ho Chi Minh Highway – 922km over nine days, with rides between 50km and 150km a day. The roads are fully tarmacked but the climbs will test your legs. The full tour lasts 11 days.

Thailand

Thailand is a popular holiday destination but riding through the Kingdom really allows you to get a taste for the country.

Thailand offers coastal riding alongside both the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea (Pic: SpiceRoads)

The stunning road from Bangkok to Phuket snakes between the clear blue Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, passing through rural villages to give you the chance to explore, stay and sample local food.

Throw national parks, postcard perfect beaches and limestone peaks into the bargain and there’s plenty to explore – with two-wheels the best way to see it all.

Recommended tour – Bicycling Bangkok to Phuket – 800km in eight full days of cycling (as part of a ten-day tour) on a fully-supported tour which takes in the coastal scenery of both the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s terrain is hugely varied, from the flat northern plains to the winding climbs overlooking the tea plantations in the central highlands.

The climbs around Sri Lanka’s tea fields are challenging but rewarding with stunning scenery (Pic: SpiceRoads)

It’s a country not short on culture, either, from the Tamil community of the north, through to temples and monasteries, and the ancient cities of Kandy and Anuradhapura.

Long, twisting climbs will challenge the legs and the superb scenery of the rest of the country will equally take your breathe away.

Recommended tour – Sri Lanka Tip to Tip by Road Bike – exactly what it says on the tin, 1,056km in nine full days of cycling from the Jaffna Peninsula in the north to Dondra Point in the south. The full tour is 12 days, including a rest day before the hills.

Cambodia

While Thailand and Vietnam may steal the spotlight in south east Asia, Cambodia also has plenty to offer cyclists, from the ancient temples of Angkor Wat to the bustling capital of Phnom Penh.

Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex boasts more than 1,000 years of history (pic: Graham Bland, via Flickr Creative Commons)

In the north is the riverside town of Battambang and in the south west destinations include the sandy beaches of Sihanoukville. For cyclists, fast, flat, paved roads lead the way to the capital through the country’s rice bowl and one thousand years of history in the Angkor temple complex.

Given its proximity to Bangkok to the north and Ho Chi Minh city to the south, it’s also an ideal spot to tour to/from.

Recommended Tour – Road Biking from Saigon to Angkor – a fully-paved 1,130km ride through the Vietnamese highlands and visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels before heading onto flat roads towards Cambodia’s capital, via Angkor. The 13-day tour includes nine-and-a-half days of cycling.

SpiceRoads specialise in guided cycling tours through Asia. For more information, or to book your next trip, visit www.spiceroads.com.

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