Bangkok – 13 March, 2015 The first group of cyclists from Ho Chi Minh city to Bangkok, ranging in age from 34 to 75, is in the Thai capital today at the end of a nine-day journey that has seen it cover 960 kilometres across Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
The immense publicity generated by the trip is set to give a major boost to the popularity of biking tours in Thailand and the Greater Mekong Subregion countries.
It is a particularly eventful trip for the oldest cyclist, Mr. Tran Tam Quang, 75, who is returning to Bangkok after nearly 50 years. He was last here for the 1966 Asian Games when he ranked 4th in the men’s track cycling.
The tour is the brainchild of avid Vietnamese sportsman and cyclist Mr. Vo Huu Thien, 53, CEO of Saigon Vina, a real estate company in Ho Chi Minh City. All the participants are members of the Land Saigon Bike Club, which was founded by Mr. Thein in 2003.
Organised by Viking Travel and Media, the tour covered four stops in Cambodia — Neak Luong, Phnom Penh, Pursat and Sisophon — before arriving in Sa Kaeo, Nakhon Nayok and then cycling on to Bangkok.
Tourism Authority of Thailand, Deputy Governor for International Marketing (Asia and the South Pacific) Mr. Pongsathorn Kessasamli said, “TAT is very happy and honoured to support this inaugural trip. Biking holidays are one of our fastest growing niche markets and expected to become even more popular after the Asian Highway network is completed.”
According to Mr. Thien, “I have been dreaming of this trip for the last five years. I believe it will go a long way towards promoting ASEAN friendship and integration and intra-regional travel. All the group members undertook nearly a year of training on domestic land routes in Vietnam before deciding to head for Thailand as our first destination.”
The cyclists would set off at 4.30 a.m. every day and cover an average distance of 120 kms per day. The longest sector from Phnom Penh to Pursat (Cambodia) took them a full 12 hours.
In Thailand, TAT helped the cyclists by arranging for easier immigration procedures at international borders, monitoring their progress to ensure safety, organising a Gala Dinner, and presenting certificates commemorating this historic trip.
TAT also arranged a friendship get-together with local bike clubs; such as, the Thailand Cycling for Health Association, Thai Airways Bike Club, Thai Hotels Association Bike Club, TAT Bike Club, etc. The group also became the first foreign group to test the special lane for cyclists in Bangkok, which was opened in December 2014.
On 13 March, 2015, the visiting cyclists will have a special photo-opp 20-kilometre tour of Rattanakosin Island and the various tourist spots in its vicinity. They will be accompanied by well-known Thai actor Mr. Suchao Pongwilai (69 years old) himself an avid cyclist.
They will return home on 14 March by air.
Mr. Pongsathorn said, “We hope to see more cyclists in Thailand after this successful trip”
International Public Relations Division
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 4545-48
Fax: +66 (0) 2253 7419
E-mail: [email protected]
Facebook: TAT Newsroom
Twitter: TAT Newsroom