Bangkok's two-wheel boom bringing benefits to tourists, locals

A volunteer bicycle patrol team on Khaosan Road, Bangkok.

BANGKOK - A cycling boom in Thailand's capital city of Bangkok has been a boon to tourists and locals alike. Tourists are biking through back alleys to see the old-fashioned way of life in the capital, while police are taking advantage of two-wheel transportation to patrol every corner of the streets.

But some are raising questions about the safety of cycling in the city, citing unpaved roads and reckless drivers.

Discovering local wonders

Nonnamy Ungwiwatkul, a 35-year-old woman who owns a cafe, in 2010 began offering free cycling tours of the back alleys in Bangkok, a city often associated with an image of glitzy shopping streets.

She said she wanted tourists to see not only sightseeing spots like the Grand Palace but also the attractiveness of back streets.

The tour is called "Pan Mut," which means "Pedaling a bike and going through back alleys" in Thai.

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