Time to get on your bike

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 June, 2012, 12:00am


The Thai capital is one of Hong Kong's favourite short-break destinations, and for good reason. It offers accommodation at all budget levels, good food, a plethora of cultural sights and attractions, lively nightlife, good weather, and is generally safe and affordable - and all this packaged in that famous smiling, service-oriented Thai approach to life.

But, while many Hongkongers will have been to Bangkok, few will have experienced the city on a bicycle. Absolute Explorer (www.absoluteexplorer.com), run by Bangkok local Orathai Siriburi, offers a number of rides that allow for a closer look at the hidden sides to this vibrant city.

Guides lead small groups of up to six cyclists down back roads, along tiny laneways and through leafy parks well away from Bangkok's infamous traffic. Rides generally last from five to seven hours and are at an easy pace. Some of the tours include jumping on trains, so local that it is likely you will be the only non-Thai passenger that day. Tour prices are from 1,300 to 1,500 baht (HK$319 to HK$368).

Touring parts of the city by Segway is another option. Segway Tour Thailand (www.segwaytourthailand.com) runs a three-hour tour of Rattanakosin Island, the oldest part of Bangkok, which includes the jaw-dropping Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The trip costs 3,500 baht. The company also has itineraries of the city lasting from one to six hours.

If cycling or Segwaying seems too energetic for a holiday, a day at the Four Seasons Bangkok might be more your cup of tea. The hotel's Sunday brunch is legendary. It offers a huge array of buffet options and live cooking stations. Indulge in free-flowing Champagne or cocktails, oysters, sushi, steak, Thai favourites and a wonderful selection of desserts and pastries.

Guests can choose to sit inside the restaurant or in the open courtyard among the koi ponds. After your feast, take a stroll around the nearby Lumphini Park with its lush gardens and giant monitor lizards.

For dinner, don't neglect visiting Nahm restaurant at the Metropolitan Hotel. This sister restaurant to the eponymous Michelin-starred venue at The Halkin is more informal than its London sibling venue, but it serves equally exquisite authentic Thai dishes.

Opt for the set menu, which can be customised to your tastes, to get a full experience of chef David Thompson's excellent skills.

Swire has a number of affordable packages to Bangkok, including a three-day, two-night stay at the Peninsula Bangkok, the Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit or the Sofitel So Bangkok, flying in on Cathay Pacific for HK$2,190 and up per person based on a double occupancy.

Call 3151 8855 or e-mail leisure@swiretravel.com for this offer.