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Most Epic Biking Trails in Southeast Asia You Must Ride at Least Once

Soak up breathtaking views and thrills on the best biking trails in Southeast Asia.

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Most Epic Biking Trails in Southeast Asia You Must Ride at Least Once

Soak up breathtaking views and thrills on the best biking trails in Southeast Asia.

Mountain biking is a great way to experience Southeast Asia. Just picture lush jungles and rolling hills, breathtaking scenery and authentic local culture—not to mention the thrills that come from navigating sharp descents, lung-busting climbs and the oh-so-tricky loops on some of the most technical trails in the world. Look no further if you’re looking for new biking trails to try out, or just want to challenge yourself to an eye-opening new experience off the beaten path.

1. Ketam Mountain Bike Park, Pulau Ubin, Singapore

Image credit: Eustaquio Santimano | Flickr

This purpose-built bike park is located on an island off the northeast coast of Singapore. It requires a little bit of effort to reach but offers you fantastic trails plus breathtaking views of wetlands and even the Johor Strait. Ketam features 10km of mountain bike trails that were constructed to meet International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) standards. Ketam’s trails are in the three highest difficulty ratings in the IMBA’s five-point ratings system: Blue Square, Black Diamond and Double Black Diamond. If you’re looking for a more casual weekend ride, you can rent bikes from several shops at the main village (near the jetty) and follow a 14km scenic route without venturing onto the Ketam trails.

How to get there: Take a bumboat from Changi Point Ferry Terminal on mainland Singapore and get off on Pulau Ubin Jetty. A 15-minute ride will bring you to the head of the trail.

2. Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand

The mountains of Doi Suthep-Pui National Park offer some of the best downhill biking trails in Southeast Asia. Bike tour company, Mountain Biking Chiang Mai offers 13 different routes and our top pick would be The Eagles Route that’s perfect for casual riders as it’s mostly downhill with only a section or two of uphills. Your starting point will be the summit of Doi Pui at over 1600 metres above sea level. To get to your destination of Lake Huay Tueng Tao, you’ll pass cultural and scenic spots, including a Hmong Village and a scenic point that gives you a breathtaking view of the countryside.

How to get there: You can fly in to Chiang Mai International Airport from Bangkok or select capital cities in the region.

3. Maarat, San Mateo, Rizal, Philippines

Any mention of biking routes has to include the town of San Mateo—dubbed the mountain bike capital of the Philippines. Maarat is also known as Timberland, and there are several trails to choose from—the Blue Zone trail being the most popular one with several technical sections for more experienced riders. A word of warning: The Blue Zone gets harder in the wet season where mud puddles and pools will make the steering and climbing harder. If you’re looking for a brutal climb, try The Wall where you ascend over 800 feet (240 metres) in less than two kilometres.

How to get there: San Mateo is around an hour’s drive away from Metro Manila.

4. The Small Chili, Luang Prabang, Laos

‘The Small Chili’ is not actually a trail per se, but a guided bike tour that takes riders through the countryside and villages outside the town of Luang Prabang. You’ll start by riding north out of town next to the Mekong River. By the time you’re done, you’ll have experienced an authentic Lao rural life past rivers and rice paddy fields and through jungles and local villages. You’ll cover around 50km of terrain throughout the one-day ride, including a stop at a local village for lunch.

How to get there: The best way to get to Luang Prabang is by plane from the Lao capital of Vientiane. Flights from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hanoi and Siem Reap are also available.

5. Kirirom National Park, Cambodia

Image credit: Romain Clercq-Roques | Flickr

Also known as Preah Soramarith National Park, Kirirom is popular with mountain bikers for its single track leading up to a 700-metre hill. The cooler temperature will be welcomed by cyclists, even more so when they’re riding through a picturesque landscape dotted with lush pine trees, waterfalls and scenic cliffs. For those looking to pit their skills against other riders, Kirirom is also the site of an annual mountain bike race called the Kirirom Mountain Bike Challenge—one of Cambodia’s biggest cycling events.

How to get there: A two-hour drive from Phnom Penh will get you to Kirirom in Kampung Speu province located 112km away.

6. Heaven’s Pass, Dalat, Vietnam

The town of Dalat is located in southern Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Its high altitude—located 1500-2000 metres above sea level—makes for some breathtaking landscape. Its cool climate, rolling hills, serene lakes and lush pine trees have seen Dalat compared to the French Alps. Heaven’s Pass—where you descend a mountain from an altitude of 1600 metres—is one of the best cycling routes you’ll come across in Southeast Asia. Amazing scenery surrounds you as you navigate the many steep bends and hard turns of your descent. While the Heaven’s Pass is mostly biking on paved road, some tours offer off-road trips into the jungle to see local villages.

How to get there: A bus ride from Nha Trang to Dalat will take you about three to four hours. Trust us, the journey is well worth it!

7. Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Bukit Kiara has been called the best mountain biking spot in Kuala Lumpur and it’s not hard to see why. It’s got several trails that range in difficulty, from simple trails for beginners to highly technical trails with tricky loops and tight sections for experts. ‘Snakes and Ladders’ and the lung-busting ‘Twin Peaks’ are among the harder trails you’ll come across at Bukit Kiara. Several trails are disappearing due to encroaching development but thanks to the good folks at the Trail Association of Kuala Lumpur & Selangor (TRAKS), existing trails are regularly maintained and new ones also being built.

How to get there: Located in the Taman Tun Dr. Ismail township, Bukit Kiara—the ‘green lung’ of Kuala Lumpur—is only a 30-minute drive from downtown Kuala Lumpur.

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