Cycling Adventure Thailand to Laos Tour
A great arrangement for cycling travelers who love to get in touch with culture and people during their cycling holiday in Thailand and Laos. This mountain biking tour offers some of the most beautiful areas in northern Laos and a big variety of possible activities besides the tour. The highlights are the Mekong river journey, the back roads of Laos, UNESCO World Heritage Town of Luang Phabang, refreshing waterfalls, high mountains and different cultures along the way.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Tough
Group Size Small Group
Cycling Adventure Thailand to Laos Tour 17Days
Highlights: A great arrangement for cycling travelers who love to get in touch with culture and people during their cycling holiday in Thailand and Laos. This mountain biking tour offers some of the most beautiful areas in northern Laos and a big variety of possible activities besides the tour. The highlights are the Mekong river journey, the back roads of Laos, UNESCO World Heritage Town of Luang Phabang, refreshing waterfalls, high mountains and different cultures along the way.
Itinerary: Chiang Rai – Chiang Saen – Pakbeng – Muang Houn – Udomxay – Pak Mong – Luang Prabang – Kiu Kachan – Vang Vieng – Ang Nam – Vientiane
Arrival Chiang Rai where you will be met by your guide, who will transfer you to our guest house. Group welcome dinner. (D)
Chiang Rai & cycle sight seeing.
This morning will be spent assembling cycles and preparing for the start of your cycle ride and the purchase of any last minute shopping, snack foods etc. and general acclimatization. In the afternoon we take a cycle tour of the town of Chiang Rai including the outskirts. Time for last minute cycle adjustments. Time permitting, you may like to visit the Hill tribe museum. In the evening the guide will take you to the Night Market which has free Thai dance and music and he can help you by choosing a good place for having dinner. – B –
Chiang Rai to Chiang Saen on bikes 52 km
After breakfast our vehicle will transport you to Chiang Saen, where our cycle tour starts. Today is a gentle ride of 52 km to Chiang Khong on a paved road. With mountain backdrops, the road follows the Mekong river through picturesque hill tribe villages, tobacco and rice fields. The road joins the main road just before the entry to Chiang Khong: The border entry to Laos. There are many eating places along the way and a meeting point will be arranged for having lunch together. We leave behind Thailand and cross the mighty Mekong River into Ban Huay Xai in Laos. – B –
Boat to Pakbeng
This morning we board our slow boat for our journey to Pakbeng. The ride is slow and laid back passing spectacular scenery as you chug through the mountains of Udomxai Province to arrive at Pakbeng some 10 hours later. This journey gives a wonderful insight into how important the river is to the survival of the Laos people. Not only in people transportation but in irrigation, fishing, and the transportation of essentials to areas not covered by a reliable road system. – B,L –
Pakbeng to Muang Houn 50 km
We are now in very rural Lao, an area inhabited by hill tribe villages who eke a meagre existence from the land. Along the way you will pass villages of Phu Thai, Thai Lu, Hmong, Thaai Dam, Lao and Khamu. The people are very friendly and yet not tourist tired. The greetings are genuine and you will hear the calls of excited children as you travel past their villages. The road is unsealed and can be muddy after rain. We overnight tonight in a basic guest house of local villages. – B,L,D –
Muang Houn to Udomxay 80 km
The day brings more hill tribe villages and a hilly but interesting route, there are some 400 and 500 meter passes to cycle over. The vehicle is there for you to ride in if you need a rest. We stop at weaving villages along the way, in these villages you still see families sitting in the shade weaving on old looms. We arrive in Udomxai the capital of the Udomxai Province. – B,L –
Udomxai to Pak Mong 83 km
Back into the jungle stretches of this spectacular route, although hilly it soon gives way to gentler gradient and opens to magnificent scenery and finally a 30 km downhill ride to Pak Mong. This is a small supply depot town. This is one of the more difficult days of the trip, so either challenge yourself or take an enjoyable ride in the vehicle. – B,L –
Pak Mong to Luang Prabang and Pak Ou Caves 115 km
Flater and better roads today will enable you to complete the longer distance to Luang Prabang. Where the Nam Ou river meets the Mekong River are the famous Pak ou Caves located. Two caves in a limestone cliff facing the river are home to hundreds of Buddha images. We take a well earned rest here to explore the caves before heading on the last section to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang. – B,L –
Day 9, 10
Rest, exploration, optional activities.
Luang Prabang remains one of Asia’s most beautiful historic towns earning it the status of a World Heritage Site in 1995. With a population of only 16,000 the town is easy to walk round and explore by foot. Built on the junction of the Mekong River and the Nam Khan River it is becoming a popular place for its many temples and preserved French architecture. There are also ancient monasteries and a Royal Palace Museum. For those who still have energy, there are optional activities which include, kayaking, trekking, elephant riding or trips to the waterfall. – B –
Cycling from Luang Prabang to Kiu Kachan 75 km
This is `THE DAY`, although the day starts easy as we ride out of Luang Prabang we begin the first of 2 climbs, 15 km up into the mountains. Take your time and remember the support vehicle is there to help. The scenery will help the pain as you pass some of Asia’s highest and most spectacular limestone mountains with odd angles from jungle covered mountains. You will see Phu Pha a craggy limestone peak considered holy to the animist hill tribes and Buddhists alike. The ride down the other side will help you recover for the next onslaught a further 22 km to our much awaited guest house at Kiu Kachan. Overnight simple guest house. – B,L –
Cycling Kiu Kachan to Kasi 90 km
More mountains today though less steep passes. The day will take you up and down the rolling hills and through the magnificent, craggy, limestone mountains and dense jungle. We stop for lunch along the way. We journey down hill as we leave behind the mountains into the fertile valley and rice fields of Kasi. Guest house in Kasi. – B,L –
Cycling the road Kasi to Vang Vieng 60 km
A much easier day today as we cover a shorter distance on gentle rolling hills to Vang Vieng where we will be in time for lunch. In the afternoon you can choose to visit the Tham Xang or Tham Hoi caves which are set in dramatic scenery on the banks of the Nam Song. Relax with a Lao beer and watch the dramatic sunsets over the mountains you have just crossed. – B –
Vang Vieng to Ang Nam or Ang Nam Ngum 110 km or boat option.
An easy 24 km takes us to the fishing village of Tha Heua, famous for salted fish. You can choose to ride the next 85 km to Ang Nam Ngum or take a 3 hour boat journey on the Ang Nam Ngum reservoir to Na Nam. It is a pretty boat journey should you choose to take it. The alternative cycle ride ends in a 2 km steep climb to Ang Na Nam. Ang Na Nam is a large artificial lake created by the damming of the Nam Ngum River. It is dotted with picture postcard villages and islands. – B –
Laos biking…Ang Ngum to Vientiane 90 km
The end of your cycle ride begins with two hills that will test the last of your energy then it is flat all the way to the capital. While the road now becomes busier as we head toward Vientiane you will not be in heavy traffic and the scenery is still pleasant when passing through smaller denser farming communities and the more affluent life the close proximity of the nearby city brings. Choose to ride in the support vehicle if you wish. – B –
A relaxing day in Vientiane, last minute shopping and to pack up the cycles and clean you gear. Celebrate your achievements tonight with a farewell dinner. – B,D –
End of service on this Laos Adventure cycling tour
Ready for our airport transferAfter breakfast transfer to the airport for your return flight home. – B –
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.
Special offers :
– Mineral water drinking.
– Seasonal fruits.
– Fresh tissue and some fruits while touring !
What to bring :
Sun Block , Wide brim hat, Camera + Film, Comfortable shoes, Rain Gear , Warm clothes in winter, Original Passport, Small backpack , Shoes and shorts for cycling ,Sunglasses , Gloves , Professional Pedal ,Insect repellent ,Wide brim hat ,Bike water bottle (if you don’t want to use ours bottle)
Minor program changes are sometime necessary, depending on road conditions and weather.
This itinerary allows for 17 days on the cycling section. You will be able to decide for yourself at any time during each of these days how far you want to cycle. Average daily cycling distances are approximately 40 -100 km. These distances may vary according to weather, road conditions and group fitness and preferences. This is a sightseeing cycle tour, not a marathon or time trial.