See more by cycling in these Asian cities
IN the advent of the shareable-bike era, there really is no reason not to put on a sturdy helmet and explore a city via the pedal.
It is surely one of the best ways to get around a city. Driving often incurs hours of traffic jams and means missing out on the hidden treasures only found by walking or cycling.
Before the days of bike-sharing, you could be forgiven for not wanting to trek to a bike hire store and be limited by rental times.
But the sharing-economy is springing new ventures at every corner, as China knows all too well.
China has 13 of the world’s 15 biggest public bike shares with Ofo and Mobike leading the way.
Around 350,000 bikes are hired from docks around Chinese cities every day.
It’s not just the nation’s residents whizzing around town on two wheels either. If you have a smartphone and the downloaded app, anyone can access these bikes.
But China isn’t alone. Across Asia, hundreds of cities offer bike-sharing systems, all for crazily low prices.
Not only will you be saving money, but you can also take solace in the fact you’re choosing a healthy way of exploring a city.
After which, you can reward yourself with local cuisine when you reach your destination – completely guilt free.
Some of these cities have been built for bikes, while others have seamlessly incorporated cycling into their road infrastructure.
However you chose to access your bike, these two-wheeled green machines will be the key to unlocking your Asian adventure.
Take a look at Asia’s most bike-friendly cities.
The Taiwanese government loves telling visitors Kaohsiung City is the most bike-friendly destination in the whole country.
And it’s true. The cycling infrastructure here could rival Copenhagen and Amsterdam in Europe.
With over 150km of cycling lanes and widely affordable bike hire all around the city, cycling in Kaohsiung is truly a pleasure.
By 2030, Singapore plans to have 700km of cycling paths across the island. But you needn’t wait another 12 years to strap your helmet on.
Singapore is a super safe nation overall, and it’s no different when it comes to cycling.
The dedicated cycling routes already on offer create traffic-free, stress-free paths for those wanting to discover the inner city, botanical parks and have off the beaten track adventures.
Jeju, South Korea
The South Korean island of Jeju is truly magical. The continuous coastline offers cyclists and keen racers 182km of picturesque adventure.
Highway 12, the road which rings Jeju, is mostly traffic free and has two dedicated cycling lanes on each side.
Visitors can either cycle from bay to bay as part of their trip or circumnavigate the whole island in around three to five days.
Seoul, South Korea
Back in the city, Seoul’s civilized cycling routes are a biker’s heaven.
The government invested huge amounts into building safe cycling routes around the city.
One of the most scenic routes is the 1,757-km Riverside Bike Trail stretching from Hangang through Geumgan, Yeongsangang and Nakdonggang rivers.
Inner city cycling is just as popular with tourists and locals alike. Not only does it serve as a key mode of transportation around the city, but it is also a leisurely past time.
Hoi An, Vietnam
Known for its ancient preserved town, Hoi An on the central coast of Vietnam is unlike the other bustling cities on this list.
It is also one of the few cities in Vietnam that has taken steps to become bike-friendly, from the car and motorbike-free old town to the lush rice fields and white beaches and around My Son Sanctuary.
Stop whenever you feel like it, take photos, interact with locals and enjoy local cuisine.
Everyone cycles in Kyoto. Glamorous ladies on their way to work, suited and booted men, school children, and grandmas on their way to the market.
The lack of cycling infrastructure doesn’t seem to deter anyone, and it shouldn’t put you off either.
Traffic in the city is orderly and alleyways make for shortcuts and adventures.
It’s estimated about 14 percent of all trips in Tokyo are made by bicycle. Surprising, given that there isn’t a huge amount of cycling infrastructure in the city, just 10km of bike lanes.
But it works because car users respect cyclists and cyclists respect cyclists.
In fact, everyone just gets along in true “Gaman” style.
One of the most fascinating things about Beijing is the weaving hutongs (narrow street or alley), only accessible on foot or bike.
There may be the occasional car trying to sneak through but it’s the people who rule these colorful streets.
You can spend hours getting lost on a bike in the hutongs, stopping for delicious treats and watching kids play.
Again, Beijing doesn’t have masses of designated cycling lanes, so it’s worth observing how Beijingers cycle on the busy roads and maneuver around other cyclists.
Either hire one of the 2.35 million docked bikes from around the city using your phone, or if your Mandarin is good enough, negotiate with a local bike rental shop.