“A holiday doesn’t have to be lying on a beach. It can be exploration and adventure.”
These are the words of wise man – and world-famous biker – Ewan McGregor.
Traveling is traveling: whether you’re backpacking the Balkans or road tripping through the Aussie outback, there’s not much that beats it.
If you want to push the adventure to new heights, however, you can always jump on your bike and take off on a wild ride. Unparalleled intimacy with the natural world and hands-on discovery of rich new cultures awaits.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the craziest tours you can go on around the world today. Whether it’s adrenaline-fuelled routes along cliff edges to beautiful rides down sandy coasts, the world is a biker’s oyster.
1. Veering Around Vietnam
There’s no better way to explore Vietnam’s beautiful bays and grassy foothills than by bike. Renowned for its rich ancient history, Vietnam has become an exceptionally popular destination for tourists and bikers alike.
The route from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh is iconic for motorcyclists – there was even a Top Gear episode about it. As you cruise down the red river and smell the apple harvest, you’ll experience some of the country’s most historic sights.
The entire trip can be done in around two weeks. Many paths along the way are now well-established, so it’s easy to follow. Just lean forward and enjoy the ride.
If you want even more scenic routes than the above urban trail offers, however, you’ll want to go north.
Heading west from Hanoi all the on to the Laos border, you’ll pass some of the most stunning Southeast Asian wonders. Tiered rice paddies and sapphire beaches abound.
Depending on what part of the country you choose, the Vietnamese climate can differ quite dramatically. For this reason, make sure you research before you ride.
2. Bolivia’s Deadliest Drive
If you’re seeking thrills, Bolivia’s so-called “death road” might be just the ticket.
The Yungus Road, which links the city of La Paz to the Yungus region, is a cycle route that stretches on for around 60 km. And, while it’s very beautiful, it didn’t get its name for nothing.
“Death road” is a treacherous ride, filled with cliff edges, cascades and landslides. To top it all off, it’s swarming in fog.
The perils of this road are hard to keep out of mind – as you bike along, the road is dotted with memorials to the many others who have lost their lives. Until 1994, nearly 300 riders were killed on the road each year. Gulp.
However, if you relish a challenge – and trust yourself enough to drive safely – this might just be the adrenaline-sparking tour for you. The sights are a majesty to behold, with lush foliage adorning steep cliffs and misty falls spilling from the mountain tops.
And if you’re looking for how-to guides to prepare for such a journey, head over to Road Racerz to get fully outfitted for your trip.
3. Onwards to Everest
For a wildly vertiginous ride, Tibet’s a good bet.
Many choose to tour from Kathmandu in Nepal all the way to the base camp of Mount Everest.
While you might not be scaling the world’s highest peak yourself, you can experience serious vertigo just gazing up at the spectacular Himalayan mountains. They don’t call it the roof of the world for nothing.
Touring through the country, you’ll be awestruck by the snow-capped peaks, turquoise lakes, and deep valleys.
As well as that, along the way you can experience Tibetan culture at its finest, visiting traditional monasteries and architectural gems such as Lhasa and Shigatse.
4. Off the Beaten Track in Omo Valley
If you’re the kind who likes charting their own course, Ethiopia may be the tour for you.
Many riders opt for driving from the bustling capital of Addis Ababa southwards towards the Omo Valley.
Addis Ababa is a concrete jungle steeped in ancient history – Ethiopia is one of the birthplaces of modern humans, and the city is home to many prehistoric fossils.
The Omo Valley is a very different kind of adventure. Home to several indigenous tribes, it’s arguably one of the most culturally rich and diverse places on earth.
Bikers have ridden along the Omo river in less than 10 days.
While it’s become quite popular for riders in recent years, there’s a dearth of information out there about riding through Ethiopia. But this elusivity comes with many pros: it’s affordable, there’s not much traffic, and – best of all – you can blaze your own trail.
5. Trekking the Trans-Siberian
The Trans-Siberian isn’t just a railway route. You can ride it too.
This famous trail is iconic for good reason. With over 9000 kilometres of track, comprising Moscow to the edges of China, there are ample places to explore.
While once underdeveloped for motorcyclists, roads have now been forged and it’s a popular option for riders.
From Russia’s Red Square to the glacial beauty of Siberia, there’s no better way to discover the North-East in style. Don’t forget to try some of Russia’s finest vodka too (though only after you’ve locked up for the night!).
Unfortunately, crossing borders can present some frustrating admin issues, but as long as you can sort that out and do your research in advance, it’ll be smooth sailing. Many companies also offer guided bike tours for added convenience.
Hopefully you’ve found your next destination. Let us know which trip intrigues you most!