Biking From Chiang Rai To Vientiane Tour
Challenging tour with great nature, cultural highlights and ethnic diversity For the cyclist who enjoys mountain terrain, this is the best tour we offer in Laos. Another highlight of this tour is observing the great diversity of the tribal ethnic groups throughout Laos. In just the Luang Namtha Province alone, 38 different tribal ethnic groups can be seen. In addition to the stunning views, comes the Nam Ha National Protected Area, the limestone mountains filled with dozens of caves around Vang Vieng and the Nam Ngum Lake with hundreds of islands. The cultural highlight of this tour is the charming World Heritage Town, Luang Prabang. This tour begins with 3 days of relaxed cycling through Northern Thailand in order to acclimate before entering the more challenging terrains of Laos.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Tough
Group Size Small Group
Biking From Chiang Rai To Vientiane Tour 18Days
Highlights: Challenging tour with great nature, cultural highlights and ethnic diversity For the cyclist who enjoys mountain terrain, this is the best tour we offer in Laos. Another highlight of this tour is observing the great diversity of the tribal ethnic groups throughout Laos. In just the Luang Namtha Province alone, 38 different tribal ethnic groups can be seen. In addition to the stunning views, comes the Nam Ha National Protected Area, the limestone mountains filled with dozens of caves around Vang Vieng and the Nam Ngum Lake with hundreds of islands. The cultural highlight of this tour is the charming World Heritage Town, Luang Prabang. This tour begins with 3 days of relaxed cycling through Northern Thailand in order to acclimate before entering the more challenging terrains of Laos.
Itinerary: Chiang Rai – Chiang Saen – Chaing Khong – Xieng Kok – Muang Sing – Luang Nam Tha – Oudom Xai – Nong Khiaw – Huai Kan – Luang Prabang – Kiu Kacham – Kasi – Vang Vieng – Nam Ngum Lake – Ban Pako – Vientiane
The JET Travel Thailand and Laos bicycle holiday begins in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Our route on this fascinating trip leads us into Northern Laos and south towards the capital city Vientiane. You will enjoy some of the most breath-taking scenery to be found in Asia.
Our cycling begins in Chiang Saen taking us through hill tribe villages and lush jungle scenery towards Laos. Crossing the border we take a boat trip on the Mighty Mekong river to Pak Beng. Back on the bikes we vist Ban Nalay village where you will be welcomed with a traditional Baci Ceremony. A few days of roller coaster hills and magnificent scenery take us to the holy caves at Pak Ou one of the most religious sites in Laos. Located at the confluence of the Nam Ou and Mekong rivers, the caves date back for thousands of years and house over 4,000 Budda statues. From here you can either cycle on or take a slow boat to World Herigate town Luang Prabang. We have a rest day here with time to enjoy the historic town and relax in beautiful surroundings.
Now rested we face the ultimate challenge of the trip with a monster day of climbing to Kiu Kacham. From here we continue cycling towards Vientiane passing small fishing villages and make a stop to visit COPE organisation who provide prosthetic and orthotic devices to Lao people mobility disabilities, many of whom are victims of UXO unexploded ordinance dating back to the Second Indochina War/Vietnam War. Our holiday ends in Vientiane, the relaxed Laos capital city.
arrival in Chiang Rai (D)
After meeting your local agent and guide, you have time to explore the former capital of the Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Rai. Beside interesting temples, you can visit the Hill Tribe Museum and the lively night market.Overnight in hotel
Chiang Rai – Chiang Saen 70/88 km (B)
Leaving Chiang Rai along the bank of the Kok River, you are cycling in north-east direction to one of the oldest cities of Thailand, Chiang Saen.On the way, you can visit a rubber plantation, which is rare in this part of Thailand. Chiang Saen is located on the banks of the Mekong River and is one of the oldest cities of Thailand and also a former capital of the Lanna Kingdom. Interesting place to visit are the National Museum and the viewpoint of the Golden Triangle which is just 8 kilometers from Chiang Saen. Here you can also visit the Opium Museum.Overnight in hotel
Chiang Saen – Chiang Khong 68 km (B)
Following the Mekong in Eastern direction, you cycle to the border town of Chiang Khong with great views of the mountain ranges on the Laos side of the Mekong River. On the way, you pass some interesting temples and hill tribe villages with local markets.Overnight in guesthouse
Chiang Khong – Xieng Kok(speed boat over the Mekong River)(B)
A spectacular speed boat ride on the Mekong River will bring you in 3 to 4 hours to Xieng Kok, a trade centre for Burmese, Chinese and local Lao hill tribes.Overnight in resort
Xieng Kok – Muang Sing 72 km (B)
Today, you pass one of the most remote areas of Laos. Overlooking the peaceful scenery of forest-covered hills, you pass many Akha villages along the way. This Akha’s didn’t have much contact with the lowland Lao people, which is reflected in their traditional clothing and their way of life. Half way, you will pass Muang Long, which has a lively market. After Muang Long, the valley of the Ma River is getting very narrow and the steep mountains come right to the edge of the road.Muang Sing district is bordering with Myanmar and China and is a traditional Tai Lue, Tai Neua and Akha cultural nexus, as well as a trade center for Tai Dam, Hmong, Mien and Lolo. Muang Sing town is a town of much historical significance. The museum building and the old French military fort are worth a visit.Overnight in guesthouse
Muang Sing – Luang Nam Tha 60 km (B)
Another beautiful ride through the Nam Ha National Protected Area is laying in front. This Protected Area represents one of the most important international wildlife corridors in the region. In the dense mountain forest harbor clouded leopard, tiger, elephants, gaur, muntjac and 288 different bird species. This area houses also many ethnic groups, including Hmong, Akha and Khmu.Along the way, have a short stop over at the That Xieng Tung Stupa. The stupa is located 5.5 km from the center of town, on the road towards Luang Namtha, situated on top of a hill. It is the most important stupa in Muang Sing. It is said to contain the adam’s apple of Buddha. Another refreshing stop over would be at the small Tad Pha Nuang Waterfall, along the way to Luang Namtha. Luang Namtha is the provincial capital, which offers good accommodation and several tasty restaurants.Overnight in guesthouse
Luang Nam Tha – Oudom Xai 80 km (B)
In the morning you get a short transfer to Na Tuey Village, which is located on a cross road leading either to China or to other Northern Lao provinces. From here you continue cycling again to Oudom Xai. Another great mountain ride with stunning views is on the role. The first stage, until the valley of the Na Xe River, is not so demanding. In the second stage, there’s a long ascent to Ban Nampik, which will be followed by a long descent to Oudom Xai with fine views of the surrounding mountains.Overnight in a hotel
Oudom Xai – Nong Khiaw 110 km (B)
Another long day cycling. After leaving the town, a long but never steep climb will bring you stepwise high into the mountains. Enjoy the great views and the daily life in the Hmong villages who dominating this region. After Song Cha village, a long descent will bring you to Pak Mong, which is a good place for a lunch break. From Pak Mong, you cycle over a small tar road into the scenic limestone mountains, which are dominating the area around Nong Khiaw. You stay overnight in a resort with fine views over the mountains and the Nam Ou River.Overnight in resort
Nong Khiaw – Huai Kan (boat ride) – Luang Prabang 66 km (B-D)
The day starts with a relaxed 2-3 hours boat ride on the Nam Ou River, going downstream with fine views at the limestone mountains. You will ride your bike again from Huai Kan village onwards. Following the slightly going up and down Road Nr. 13, you will cycle to Luang Prabang, the perfect destination for doing some relaxation.Overnight in comfortable guesthouse
Luang Prabang: around the valley 30 km (B)
Enjoy an easy ride to some interesting non-touristy places, pedaling around the valley of Luang Prabang.Overnight in comfortable guesthouse
Luang Prabang: to Kuang Si Waterfall 60 km (B)
A ride to the scenic Kuang Si Waterfalls along ethnic villages such as Hmong and Khmu. Enjoy a swim in the clear water basins of the Kuang Si Waterfalls.Overnight in comfortable guesthouse
Luang Prabang – Kiu Kacham 78 km (B)
Leaving the town in Southern direction, the first 23 kilometers are smoothly. After Ban Xieng Ngeun, the road is climbing up into the mountains for 15 kilometers. Although some parts are steep, mostly it’s going up by an average of 5 tot 6%. On the top of the pass, you will descent to the valley of the Nam Ming River. Here, you can take a rest for the last climb from today, a 20 kilometer long but never steep climb to Kiu Kacham, which is allocated on an altitude of 1350 meters.Overnight is basic guesthouse.
Kiu Kacham – Kasi 95 km (B)
The first part of this stage, you cycle between 1000 and 1400 meters to Phou Khoun. After Phou Khoun a long descent with great views brings you to the valley of Kasi.Overnight in guesthouse.
Kasi – Vang Vieng 60 km (B)
Today, it goes through amazing scenery slowly into the lowlands along rivers, limestone formations and caves.Overnight in a comfortable resort along the Nam Song River.
Vang Vieng – Nam Ngum Lake 25/40 km (B)
First, you cross the Nam Song River for a scenic off road ride through limestone mountains. Several caves are worth a visit. Continuing on the main road, you cycle to the ‘sea of Laos’: the 250 square kilometer artificial Lake called Nam Ngum. A 2 hours boat ride brings you to your resort, with stunning views over the Lake.Overnight in resort
Nam Ngum Lake – Ban Pako 88 km (B)
In the first part of this stage, you have to climb a few hills that lead into scenic valleys, where daily village life can be seen. The last part of this stage will bring you on undiscovered dirt roads to Ban Pako, where you stay overnight in a special location along the Nam Ngum River.Overnight in resort
Ban Pako – Vientiane 64 km (B-D)
Continuing on dirt roads in the first part of this stage, enjoy for the last time the countryside life, before entering the capital city of Laos: Vientiane. Along the suburbs, you cycle to the centre of the city, situated along the bank of the Mekong River.Overnight in comfortable hotel/guesthouse.
End of programme
When cycling we stay in friendly hotel, guesthouse or homestays. Some are more basic than others! Bear in mind that some of the places we overnight in are not on the standard tourist trail.In larger cities and towns, our hotels are generally more western style and are three or four hotels or resort. Please do not expect the same standard as you would your home.
Homestay in the villages is simple interm of bedding condition and ementies. We will sleep on beds or floor with mattress, clean sheet, pillow and mosquito nets. Toilet is usually western style.
Suitable Bicycle. MTB, Touring Bike, Cyclocross/Gravel bike.
At JET we hold firmly to the opinion that using your own bike, the bike on which you feel at home and comfortable is the finest way to enjoy a cycling adventure.
Most kinds of bicycle, except light-weight racing bikes are suitable for this tour: touring bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids or cyclocross bikes are all fine. Road conditions vary from asphalt to gravel and some hard packed dirt tracks. Tyre’s from 35mm in width upwards will be fine but we recommend 40mm on 700c and 2” on 26” wheels as a minimum.
South East Asia is generally a warm place so the ability to carry one or two water bottles is essential (either on your bike or in a backpack). Our back-up vehicle carries water and tools although for those competent with tools bringing your own pump, puncture kit, and multi took is recommended as it would speed up repairs and minor adjustments. If bringing your own bike please bring along a few spare spokes that fit your wheels (please note that different wheels have different size spokes). If your bike has disk brakes or hub gears please bring any components that you feel may be necessary. We carry some spares for our hire bikes but we cannot guarantee that we will have any tubes other than 26” car type valves. Tyres and tubes other than 26” can be difficult to come by in many parts of the world so please make sure you have spares. If in doubt please ask at your local bike shop. A means of carrying your camera, sunblock etc is also useful – either an on-bike bag, handlebar or saddlebag for example, or a lightweight day-pack.
Recommendation: Although our hire bikes come equipped with a saddle if you have a saddle you use and are happy with it is strongly recommended that you use it on tour. If you use SPD type shoes please bring your own matching pedals. We are happy to fit these for you. You may also like to bring bar ends if you use them at home.
ESSENTIAL! Please be sure that your bicycle is in perfect condition before you leave home. Again, if in doubt please consult your local bike shop.
If you wish to hire a bicycle for the duration of your holiday with us we can arrange for the hire of good quality cycles from our in-country agent. Typically these bikes are mountain bikes, often Trek 4 series or similar. Please request a hire bike at the time of booking, fields to do so are on the booking form. Payment for hire bikes can be made with the balance of the tour payment or in cash on arrival.
Rental Bicycle Recommendation. Although our hire bikes come equipped with a saddle if you have a saddle you use and are happy with it is strongly recommended that you use it on tour. If you use SPD type shoes please bring your own matching pedals. We are happy to fit these for you. You may also like to bring bar ends if you use them at home.