Dramatic Northern Laos Bike 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.

This tour connects two most visited cities in Laos through an array of mountain landscapes. Northern Laos is home to mountains covered with lush tropical forests, river valleys and hill-tribe cultures. The rolling terrain combined with gradual climbs from low-lying riverside valleys are just perfect – a cyclist’s delight. Here we 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

    14 days / 13 nights

  • Start / End

    Luang Prabang / Vientiane

  • 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
DayPlaceDuration~ Cycling Distance
1 – 2Luang Prabang 212km / 7mi
40km / 24mi
3Pak Beng16 hrs boat ride
4Oudomxay180km / 50mi*
5Muang Khua1100km / 60mi
6 – 7Nong Khiaw2boat ride
8Luang Prabang160km / 36mi*
9Kasi190km / 63mi
10 – 11Vang Vieng250km / 30mi
12Ban Kuene155km / 33mi
13Vientiane165km / 39mi
14Departure

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

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 3: 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 4: 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 5: 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, Dinner

Distance cycled: ~ 100km / 60mi

Day 6: 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 7: Nong Khiaw

Today you can plan your own day. Nong Khiaw is best known for its idyllic setting with forests, mountains and abundant greenery. Take a hike in nearby forests or spend the day lying in the hammock next to Nam Ou river with a good book.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 8: Luang Prabang

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

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Distance cycled: ~ 60km / 37mi*

Day 9: Kasi

A transfer of about 2hrs brings us to Kiu Kacham, situated at an altitude of 1,350m. From here, the ride is largely undulating until Phou Khoun, followed by a long descend to the valley of Kasi. The magical landscape is dominated by some of the highest limestone mountains and H’mong villages.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Distance cycled: ~ 80km / 48mi*

Day 10: Vang Vieng

Today enjoy gentle rolling hills to Vang Vieng past spectacular karst ranges, green fields and lumbering water buffalos. Vang Vieng has a magical setting on Nam Song river. It’s surrounded by dramatic karst cliffs, hundreds of caves. bucolic villages and blue lagoons.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Distance cycled: ~ 50km / 30mi*

Day 11: Vang Vieng

Today we do a side trip and visit the Tham Xang or Tham Hoi caves, set among the dramatic limestone scenery on the banks of the Nam Song River.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Distance cycled: ~ 30km / 18mi*

Day 11: Ban Keun

Laos is a landlocked country and today’s ride evokes some excitement of coastal life. We ride to the ‘sea of Laos’, a 250 sq km, artificial Lake Nam Ngum. A 2hrs blissful boat ride brings us to the dam and we break for lunch here. Later, continue riding on hinterlands trails through hidden valleys and rural villages. The route remains largely flat and we see a change in landscape from striking limestone mountains to dozens of picturesque little islands.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Distance cycled: ~ 55km / 33mi*

Day 13: Vientiane

Today cycle past lush paddy fields with fine views of the Phou Khao Khouay mountain range before entering the capital city of Laos, Vientiane, set on the edge of Mekong river.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Distance cycled: ~ 65km / 39mi*

Day 14: Departure

Travel further as per your onward journey.

Meals: Breakfast

*With shuttle – short transfers

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