Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang Bike Tour

  • The Rivers that we touch along this ride are special in their own way. Entire communities depend on them for a living. These arterial streams are a great way to know the destination better; whether you ride along them, or in tail boat in its waters.
  • 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.

This trip takes us through deep interior side of Northern Thailand and Laos, home to mountains covered with lush tropical forests. We ride through the verdant topography of Thailand and Laos, the exquisite Buddhist wats, the nose dripping spicy food to die for and lush paddy gently swaying in the breeze while we pedal along to the next destination across mountains, through deep valleys and riversides, full of local surprises. The terrain largely remains undulating, skirting along the beautiful rivers viz. Kok, Mekong, Nam Ou and Nam Pak.

Quick Facts

  • Duration

    14 days / 13 nights

  • Start / End

    Chiang Mai / Luang Prabang

  • Hotels

    Casual Inns

  • Riding Style

    Active Rider

Group Departures

PRIVATE TRAVEL

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GROUP TRAVEL

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ITINERARY

Brief Itinerary

* with shuttle
DayPlaceCasual InnsDuration~ Cycling Distance
1Chiang MaiKampaeng Ngam Hotel140km / 24mi
2Chiang DaoMarisa Resort & Spa160km / 36mi
3ThatonMaekok Village Resort160km / 36mi
4Mae SalongPhu Chaisai Resort145km / 27mi
5 – 6Chiang SaenThe Imperial Golden Triangle260km / 36mi
7Chiang KhongChiang Khong Riverfront165km / 39mi
8PakbengMekong Riverside Lodge1boat journey
9OudomxaiLao Charming Hotel180km / 48mi
10Muang KhuaNew Chaleunsouk180km / 48mi
11Nong KhiawNongkhiau Riverside1boat journey
12 – 13Luang PrabangSanctuary Hotel270km / 42mi
30km / 18mi
14Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Chiang Mai

Arrive in Chiang Mai and settle into your hotel. Our guide welcomes you at your hotel in the afternoon. Today get ready for a warm up ride along the Ping River. Along the way, visit the handicraft centre at Ban Tawai and then ride back to your hotel. We convene tonight to celebrate the start of our awesome journey on a bike.

Meals: Dinner

Distance cycled: ~ 40km / 24mi

Day 2: Chiang Dao – forest trail

Our guide meets you at your hotel in Chiang Mai. After the orientation, head out for a ride to the Chiang Dao, lies on the northern part of the Chiang Mai district. Amidst lush jungles and limestone mountains, Chiang Dao is a heavenly escape from the heat of plains and a popular stop for birders and trekkers. The base of the mountain is a highly venerated wát marking the entrance to one of Thailand’s deepest limestone caverns.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Distance cycled: ~ 60km / 36mi

Day 3: Thaton – tropical trail

We start early on this day for a ride to Fang, crossing many local villages in the hinterland. Expect to see the valley whitewashed with bright green hues of paddy, jungles and fruit plantations.

Ride further from Fang to Thaton traverses across paddy fields. The fields cling onto the side of the village road for almost the entire way. The ride is mostly on flat roads, with occasional dips and climbs, which add to the interest for a cyclist. We also come across several villages on the way – perfect to get great photographs of the interiors of Thailand. The locals are quite friendly and don’t be surprised if you are invited in a home for a cup of tea (or red Fanta).

We pace out our journey to Thaton and arrive at this beautiful town at the edge of a River. Thaton is one of the last towns bordering Myanmar in this area. The great part of this is that one gets to see the blend of Burmese, Thai and Chinese influences in language and culture.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Distance cycled: ~ 60km / 42mi*

Day 4: Mae Salong – forest climb

Ride along the river and make way to Mae Salong. The river meanders through a rich green valley, unfolding one dramatic scenery after another. Hilltop farming to tea plantations, bamboo huts by the river and elephants lazily relaxing in the river- this is Thailand at its most authentic best! After being submerged in nature, we attempt the gradual climb through the forest in last leg and arrive at Mae Salong.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Distance cycled: ~ 45km / 27mi

Day 5: Chiang Saen – golden triangle

We’re back to the countryside this morning, with paddy fields for company. The ride is extremely refreshing as the crisp morning air and clear skies welcome you on the road. We reach Chiang Saen by afternoon and settle into the hotel. Relax for some time before setting out to see the confluence of Thailand, Thailand and Myanmar, and the site for the infamous Golden Triangle. A great way to see this is from the Wat Phrathat Phu Kao Hill. Chiang Saen is one of the most historic city. What makes it more intriguing is the access from here to Thailand and Burma.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Distance cycled: ~ 60km / 36mi

Day 6: Chiang Saen – Hall of Opium

We head out after breakfast and see the spectacular Wats and later visit the Hall of Opium.

The Royal Project and Doi Tung Development Project have spent years battling the trade of opium and its social repercussions. The Hall of Opium was built to educate people about the dangers of drug abuse and also traces the history from its first use 5,000 years.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Chiang Khong – agriculture trail

This is the last day for soaking in Thailand’s local life. We start early to utilize the full day. With the rich silted land by the Mekong River, a bike ride means that you tend to be surrounded by shades of green. There is agricultural land as far as your eyes can see. Ride past fruit orchards, paddy fields, banana plantations and arrive at Chiang Khong.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Distance cycled: ~ 65km / 39mi

Day 8: Pakbeng – agriculture trail

We cross the border and arrive at Laos side. We transfer to pier and board a huge traditional Mekong riverboat for the upstream cruise to Pak Beng, Laos. 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.

Enjoy the lovely scenery along both sides of the Mekong cruising to today’s destination.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: 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, Dinner

Distance cycled: ~ 80km / 50mi*

Day 10: Muang Khua

Another long and undulating ride today 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, Dinner

Distance cycled: ~ 100km / 60mi

Day 11: Nong Khiaw

We ditch the cycles for an amazing boat ride in the Nam Pak River to Nong Khiaw. This is one the most stunning journeys by the river in this region. The edge of the river is dotted with small villages and this is a great way of getting acquainted with local life. There are also limestone formations that make for great photographic experiences. The jaw dropping landscape keeps you hooked to this for a long.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: 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 13: Luang Prabang

Our main destination for the day is the hidden waterfall, Kung Si. Tucked away between thick foli-age, the famous waterfall feels like a secret. The aqua marine waters are tempting, so do carry your swimwear along.

On our way to the waterfalls we make a stop at Great Project (called the Laos Buffalo Dairy), a project designed to educate the Rural communities in Animal Husbandry and basic animal health care. They rent the Cattle from the villagers to enable a secure income for the community and use the milk to create Cheese and Spectacular Ice Cream. Lunch is served Picnic style here and there is also an opportunity to get a unforgettable ‘Buffalo Selfie’.

On arrival at the falls, hike to the top before bracing Crystal clear waters. We spend until afternoon here and return to the town. 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 ori-ented. 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

Day 14: Departure – Luang Prabang Airport

Please make arrangements as per your onward journey.

Meals: Breakfast

REVIEWS

from our friends

Great country to visit, with scenic and well maintained roads, delicious food and warm temperatures. On our bike tour we also enjoyed beautiful hotels, mostly with swimming pools, and a knowledgeable guide who taught us a lot about local history and culture.

Emily S.