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Bicycle tours take people off the beaten path around Cambodia

Posted Date: Friday, 1-Jun-2012

Cycling is becoming increasingly popular in Cambodia, and bicycle tours are being seen as an active and exciting way for tourists to see the less noticed parts of the kingdom, said Adam Platt-Hepworth, the regional manager of Grasshopper Adventures, a bike tour company.

Grasshopper Adventures, at #23 on Street 144, runs regular tours in numerous Southeast Asian countries, and operates through other tour services in other nearby countries such as China, India and Malaysia.

The company was started four years ago and was run out of a house in Tuol Sleng. “At first it was really hard to get business because Cambodia was not known as a bike riding destination,” said Platt-Hepworth. “Our first real break came when we were mentioned in a Lonely Planet guide and a few in-flight magazines,” he said.

Now the company has two locations in Cambodia, in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and runs one or two tours from Phnom Penh a day and two to three from Siem Reap, depending on the time of year. Most of their business comes from online bookings and is mostly Australian or western tourists, but is becoming popular among tourists from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, he said.

The most popular trips are day trips to the Mekong islands, the Siem Reap countryside and a 16-day trip from Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, which has a two day stopover on Phu Quoc Island.

The company has looked at expanding to other places across the Kingdom, and north-east Cambodia was considered, but the number of tourists was deemed to be too small, Platt-Hepworth said.

The company works with social development NGO SokSaBike, which operates bike tours in Battambang.

“They were using old classic-style bikes for the tours so we donated newer and better bikes to them because we wanted to support them,” he said.

Now the company has regular tours in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. The company said it is now seeing a “massive” increase in business in Myanmar, and is considering operations in Sri Lanka, he said. The tours start at 8am and run until 12, lunch is provided in the cost of the tour.

Sourced: Phnom Penh Post

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