North Laos Bike & Boat Tour

  • The Mekong and Nam Pak rivers become the focus of the trip as we skirt the edges of the two watery snakes for a long time. Once you are done with the trip, you will miss them.
  • Get into the localness of a place, whether it’s the people, culture or topography.
  • The local Lao food should be top on the experience list for foodies or experimental travellers.

Northern Laos is home to mountains covered with lush tropical forests. The rolling terrain combined with gradual climbs from low-lying riverside valleys are just perfect – a cyclist’s delight. Here you will get to ride along the three beautiful rivers viz. Mekong, Nam Ou and Nam Pak. When you want to take a break, switch from your bike’s saddle to a seat on a slow boat. This is an excellent way to see and experience life along the rivers of Laos. The rivers are the lifelines here and you can soak up the beautiful vistas of this intriguing country, at a leisurely pace and meet its people too, only on the slow boats.

Quick Facts

  • Duration

    9 days / 8 nights

  • Start / End

    Luang Prabang / Luang Prabang

  • Price

    From $1,995 pp dbl. occ.

    + $550 for sgl. occ.

  • Hotels

    Casual Inns

  • Riding Style

    Active Rider

Group Departures

PRIVATE TRAVEL

Make it a private tour if you already have a group or the dates shown above do not coincide with your travel plans.

ITINERARY

Brief Itinerary

* with shuttle
DayPlaceDuration~ Cycling Distance
1 – 3Luang Prabang312km / 7mi
40km / 24mi
30km / 18mi
4Pak Beng16 hrs boat ride
5Oudomxay180km / 50mi*
6Muang Khua1100km / 60mi
7Nong Khiaw1boat ride
8Luang Prabang160km / 36mi*
9Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Luang Prabang

Arrive at Luang Prabang and meet the trip leader.

Begin the afternoon tour by cycling around the old quarter of Luang Prabang, starting at Heuan Chan Heritage House and after to Luang Prabang’s National Museum, formerly the Royal Palace. Displayed within is a collection of personal artifacts of the former Laotian Royal Family. Visit nearby Wat Mai – the five-tiered roof epitomizes the graceful Luang Prabang architectural style. Continue cycling along the Mekong River and stop at the hillside temple of Wat That Luang. Take a short walk and visit the ancient stupa called That Dam (the Black Stupa) before biking to Wat Visoun, the oldest living temple in Luang Prabang. Wat Visoun dates back to 1513 and contains a collection of antique wooden Buddha images. Continue along the Nam Khan River to Wat Xieng Thong – often considered to be Luang Prabang’s most elegant. The temple is characterized by tiered roofs sweeping low to the ground and the impressive “tree of life” mosaic. Before sunset, cycle back to your hotel on the town’s main street, stopping at Wat Sop and Wat Sen along the way.

Meals: Lunch, Dinner

Distance cycled: ~ 12km / 7mi

Day 2: Luang Prabang

This day is going to draw you into the spiritual ambience of Luang Prabang. We wake up as early as 5.30 to offer alms to monks at the giving ceremony. The pious tradition is still followed in the city, and to be a part of it, is truly heart warming. After this, we head out for a half-day tour to some of the handicraft villages around. The trip takes us to Saa paper village where we get to see local life at close quarters. The locals are very friendly and wouldn’t mind inviting you in their homes for a quick chat or showing you their craft from upclose. Weaving and handmade papermaking are the main crafts here. You can pick up exquisite shawls and scarves right from the weavers’ homes. The colours are riveting!

We continue riding and reach the elephant village on the banks of the Nam Khan River. Enjoy a one hour elephant ride across the river before lunch by the river. After eating embark on a boat trip upstream to visit Tad Sae Waterfall, a lovely, natural water garden in the jungle. Enjoy a refreshing swim in the clear, cool water before continuing by boat to Ban Aen where we mount your bicycles for an enjoyable ride back to Luang Prabang, passing through rolling hills and local villages along the way.

Later in the evening, we make our way to Mount Phousi for a beautiful tinge of orange in the sky and seeing the city bathe in the arm glow of the setting sun. This is an easy hike, but is optional incase you are not feeling upto it, though we highly recommend it.

Today’s dinner is on your own. There are numerous riverside restaurants with mix of French and Lao cuisine. We can recommend one as per your taste and liking.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Distance cycled: ~ 40km / 24mi

Day 3: Luang Prabang

Today we stretch ourselves slightly further and ride for a total of 40kms. Our main destination for the day is the hidden waterfall, Kung Si. Tucked away between thick foliage, the famous waterfall feels like a secret. The aqua marine waters are tempting, so do carry your swimwear along. We also hike to the top of the falls. We spend until afternoon here and return to the town in boat skirting the spectacular Mekong river only in the evening to visit the famous night handicraft market. Shopping for local delights can be great fun, so enjoy your shopping time for the day.

Today’s dinner is on your own. We suggest eating dinner at a street stall so you can dig into the local delicacies. street stall so you can dig into the local delicacies. Lao food can be very meat oriented. Chopped meat, chicken or duck are common, but there are plenty of options for vegetarians as well. Our personal recommendation is the light and tasty Tam Mak houng or papaya salad, which is made from sliced raw papaya, garlic, chilly, peanuts, sugar, fermented fish sauce and lime juice.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Distance cycled: ~ 30km / 18mi

Boat: ~ 2hrs

Day 4: Pak Beng

We transfer to pier and board a huge traditional Mekong riverboat for the upstream cruise to Pak Beng, departure at 08.00 hrs. This portion of the Mekong is very remote, which sometimes allows glimpses of wildlife in the extensive forests. There are occasional stops at local hill tribe villages to meet people and observe life on the riverside. Lunch will be serving on boat and you will have opportunity to stop and visit local villages and the Pak Ou Buddha Caves. These caves have been home to many thousands of Buddha images that were placed here by local people since 16th century, when King Setthathirat found the caves and declared them a holy spot. Today many people still pay respect to this tradition. Enjoy the lovely scenery along both sides of the Mekong cruising to today’s destination.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Boat: 6 hrs

Day 5: Oudomxay

Today it’s a long full day cycling to Oudomxay. This is one the most spectacular stretches of long mountain road. The road is dotted with small villages and this is a great way to get acquainted with local rural life. The dramatic limestone and green rolling hills formations make for great photographic opportunities. There will be plenty of opportunities to stop and admire the wonderful scenery. The journey passes through beautiful mountain ranges and H’mong hill tribe villages.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Distance cycled: ~ 80km / 50mi*

Day 6: Muang Khua

We continue riding to Muang Khua. This is one of the most unvisited parts of Laos and the experience is truly unique. To get to the Muang Khua, we ride along the Nam Pak River. Along the way, you will notice how the homes are made of wood and bamboo. We spend some time here talking to the locals, just walking around or just sitting at the edge of the river.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Distance cycled: ~ 100km / 60mi

Day 7: Nong Khiaw

Today we take a boat ride to Nong Khiaw. This is one the most spectacular stretches on a boat, passing through small and rolling green hills and set on a traditional river cruise on Nam Ou River to Nong Khiaw, idyllic setting on the Nam Ou River.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 8: Luang Prabang

Hop on a bike and ride the last leg of the tour along the undulating countryside skirting the Nam Pak River to Luang Prabang.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Distance cycled: ~ 60km / 37mi*

Day 9: Departure – Luang Prabang Airport

This morning we make arrangements for your onward journey.

Meals: Breakfast

*With shuttle – short transfers

INCLUSIONS & MORE

we go the extra mile

Beautiful Hotels

On this Casual Inn tour, experience the best of small boutique hotels at each destination. They are chosen carefully so that you are well rested, get a drift of the local character or an enthralling view from your verandah! Under circumstances of non-availability of hotel, we will put in equivalent or a better hotel. Any extras at hotel are at your expense.

Quality Bikes

When you have a road and the thrill of a journey ahead of you, it’s imperative to have a good bike to enjoy it. Most of our tours in Laos run on some of the best mountain bikes in the cycling tour industry. Upright position, excellent traction and optimal comfort under gravel roads are some of the characteristics.

Outstanding Food

Local food plays an integral part in experiencing the culture of region and we make sure that you get plenty of this. The inclusion of daily meals is highlighted in detailed itinerary. Drinking water and soft drinks such as juice, tea/coffee is included in your price. Alcohol is at your expense.

Charming Guides

Our most visible and perhaps most important role is played by a Trip Leader, the folks who make a trip exciting, comfortable, knowledgeable and who are able to steer you towards the real experience! In most of the trips, we have two guides riding with you. One is leading the group of riders and other is closing at the back.

Comfortable Support Van

A Van follows the group of riders throughout the trip and carries all belongings. If at any point riding seems a little hard, the van takes you for as long or as little as you wish it to. It also provides you refreshments along the way and sometimes a chilled beer.

Guaranteed to Depart Tours

We run most of our tours with minimum 2 people traveling and sometimes even with 1 person, without any extra fee. Rest assured, your trip is always guaranteed to depart. If for some reasons you don’t wish to join a tour then you can always transfer to another trip or we’ll give you a credit which you can settle against any future trip.

Entrance Fees & Transportation

Entrance fees to historic sites, museums, temples & other exclusive events and transportation from rendezvous to final drop-off is always included in your tour price. Our tour designers give as much focus on non-cycling activity as on cycling.

Deep Local Knowledge & Presence

Presence of operations in Cambodia, local associations at Laos and ad-hoc field network allows us to leverage local know-how and deliver on what is promised to you without any culture and communications barrier.

Singles Friendly

It is applicable in cases where you want to opt for a room alone or we don’t find a room partner. In other cases, we will try to club you with another person, preferably of same sex.

REVIEWS

from our friends

“Dao was phenomenal, the best guide I have ever had in all of my travels. He made us feel like family and taught us so much about Laos, the people, cuisine etc. It was a very special trip because of him. Driver mr dan was great too! Thank you Pankaj, we had a fantastic time and appreciate all you did to organize and make the trip special for us. Please keep us posted on any additional trips that you add! Happy new year!”

Nicole & AndrewUSA

“Awesome trip! Loved Laos! The people, the food, the natural beauty: Simply Amazing! Thanks a ton and please design more trips for us around the world!”

Shiraz & PreetiIndia