Dramatic Northern Laos Bike Tour

laos bike tour 7

Book with Confidence: Enjoy a full refund up to 60 days before departure as per our flexible cancellation policy.

Overview

A wholesome tour that connects the two most visited cities, Luang Prabang and Vientiene 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 is 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.

Start

Luang Prabang | 13:00hrs

Finish

Vientiane

Lodging

casual

Level

moderate

Avg. dist. cycled

60km or 36mi

Group size

Min. 2, Max. 12

Fly-In

LPQ

Fly-Out

VTE

Highlights

Highlight Image

Mekong River

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.

Itinerary

Brief Itinerary

DayPlacecasual Inns or similarMealsDistanceActivity
DAY 1Luang PrabangThe Sanctuary HotelD12km / 7micycling
DAY 2Luang PrabangThe Sanctuary HotelB,L30km / 18micycling
DAY 3Boat to Pak BengSanctuary Pakbeng LodgeB,L,D
DAY 4OudomxayNamkat Yorla Pa ResortB,L,D70km / 42micycling
DAY 5Muang KhuaNew Chaleunsouk GHB,L,D70km / 42micycling
DAY 6Boat to Nong KhiawMandala OuB,L,D
DAY 7Nong KhiawMandala OuB,L
DAY 8Luang PrabangChitdaraB,L70km / 42micycling
DAY 9KasiSomchid GHB,L,D60km / 36micycling
DAY 10Vang ViengBearlin Bungalows B,L,D60km / 36micycling
DAY 11Vang ViengBearlin BungalowsB,L30km / 18micycling
DAY 12Phou Khao KhouayNam Pein YorlapaB,L,D55km / 33micycling
DAY 13VientianeLa Seine HotelB,L,D30km / 18micycling
DAY 14VientianeB

Detailed Itinerary

Itinerary Image

Day 1: Luang Prabang

Our guide meets you post-lunch at 13:00hrs at your hotel.

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 that displays 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: D
Cycling Distance: 12km / 7mi
Accommodation: The Sanctuary Hotel
Itinerary Image

Day 2: Luang Prabang

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 aquamarine waters are tempting, so do carry your swimwear along.

On our way to the waterfalls, we stop at the Great Project (called the Laos Buffalo Dairy), a project designed to educate the Rural communities on Animal Husbandry and 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. Today's lunch is served picnic style with an opportunity to get an unforgettable ‘Buffalo Selfie’.

Dinner is at a Local NGO that trains marginalized youth for careers in the Hospitality industry. It is also one of the most exciting menus in town, with a balance between traditional and modern flavors.

Today’s dinner is on your own. We suggest eating dinner at a street stall so you can dig into the local delicacies. Lao food can be very meat-oriented. Chopped meat, chicken, or duck are common, however, there are plenty of options for vegetarians. Our recommendation is light and tasty Tam Mak houng or papaya salad, made from sliced raw papaya, garlic, chilly, peanuts, sugar, fermented fish sauce, and lime juice. Day2 Luang prabang.png

Meals: B,L
Cycling Distance: 30km / 18mi
Accommodation: The Sanctuary Hotel
Itinerary Image

Day 3: Boat to Pak Beng

We transfer to the 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 served on a boat and you may have the opportunity to stop and visit local villages. Enjoy the lovely scenery along both sides of the Mekong cruising to today’s destination.

Meals: B,L,D
Itinerary Image

Day 4: Oudomxay

Today it’s a long full day cycling to Oudomxay. This is one of 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 Hmong hill tribe villages. Day4 Pak Beng-Oudomxay.png

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 70km / 42mi
Accommodation: Namkat Yorla Pa Resort
Itinerary Image

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. Day5 Oudomxay-Muang Khua.png

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 70km / 42mi
Accommodation: New Chaleunsouk GH
Itinerary Image

Day 6: Boat to Nong Khiaw

We ditch the cycles for an amazing boat ride in the Nam Pak River to Nong Khiaw. This is one of 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: B,L,D
Accommodation: Mandala Ou
Itinerary Image

Day 7: Nong Khiaw

Today you can take it as a rest day and enjoy the tranquil setting of Nong Khiaw at leisure.

Those who are up for a hiking activity can start the day with a boat ride on the Nam Ou to a small village where you can learn about the way of life along this river. Then trek through small streams and rice paddies to reach the base of the 100 waterfalls. For the next few hours, you will see only water and jungle and hear the sound of clear waterfall cascades. The pools around you are very inviting for a refreshing splash.

Our guide leads us through the cascades and prepares a local-style lunch on the falls in the middle of it all. Then take a small villagers’ trail from the top of the falls back down into the valley; along the way, you’ll take in views of the landscapes of the Nam Ou Valley.

Hiking back to the village, we’ll have more time to observe the daily life here before heading back by a small boat to Nong Khiaw.

Meals: B,L
Accommodation: Mandala Ou
Itinerary Image

Day 8: Luang Prabang

Hop on a bike and ride along the undulating countryside skirting the Nam Pak River to Luang Prabang. Cycle out of the Nong Khiaw towards Pakmong. From here we transfer 40km and then cycle to visit Pak Ou Buddha Caves before a van rides back to the city. These caves have been home to many thousands of Buddha images that were placed here by local people since the 16th century when King Setthathirat found the caves and declared them a holy spot. Today many people still pay respect to this tradition.

In the evening, make a way to Mount Phousi for a beautiful tinge of orange in the sky and see the city bathe in the warm glow of the setting sun. This is an easy hike but is optional in case you are not feeling up to it, though we highly recommend it. Day8 Nong Khiaw-Luang Prabang.png

Meals: B,L
Cycling Distance: 70km / 42mi
Accommodation: Chitdara
Itinerary Image

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 descent to the valley of Kasi. The magical landscape is dominated by some of the highest limestone mountains and Hmong villages.

The accommodation/guest house in Kasi is basic (though it's clean with a comfy bed, air conditioning and taken care by good hosts) and is the best available option in the vicinity. We include overnight stay in Kasi as it's well placed in our cycling route and offers good cycling with good scenery on the day we arrive and leave Kasi.

Day9 Luang Prabang-Kasi.png

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 60km / 36mi
Accommodation: Somchid GH
Itinerary Image

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 the Nam Song river. It’s surrounded by dramatic karst cliffs, hundreds of caves. bucolic villages and blue lagoons.

In the afternoon, 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. Day10 Kasi-Vang Vieng.png

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 60km / 36mi
Accommodation: Bearlin Bungalows
Itinerary Image

Day 11: Vang Vieng

Today we cycle the dirt road to the peaceful and secluded Blue lagoon 3 for a refreshing dip, the rest of the day is free to enjoy the vibe of the town

Meals: B,L
Cycling Distance: 30km / 18mi
Accommodation: Bearlin Bungalows
Itinerary Image

Day 12: Phou Khao Khouay

Departing from the town at 7:30 am, we transfer early to Boat, the lake leading to Thalat. In landlocked Laos, today's ride sparks excitement about coastal life as we make our way to the 'sea of Laos,' a 250 sq km artificial Lake Nam Ngum. A blissful 2-hour boat journey concludes in Thalat. Our cycling adventure then begins as we head southeast toward the national park.

As we mount our bikes, the landscape unfolds before us, revealing lush paddy fields that stretch out to the horizon. With each pedal stroke, we are treated to stunning vistas of the Phou Khao Khouay mountain range, creating a visual symphony of nature's beauty.

Following a short 20km transfer to Ban Khune for lunch, an afternoon ride of 50km brings us to a luxurious resort hidden within the national park.

dramatic-laos-day12.png

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 55km / 33mi
Accommodation: Nam Pein Yorlapa
Itinerary Image

Day 13: Vientiane

Enjoy an extended breakfast at the resort and take some time to explore the surroundings. Departure for the capital is scheduled for around 10:30 am, with a transfer back to route 10 and then riding south towards the capital.

Vientiane, nestled on the banks of the mighty Mekong River, beckons us as we approach it in the early afternoon, around 2 pm. With ample time on our hands before our farewell dinner, we seize the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the city's rich cultural tapestry.

Our sightseeing adventure commences with an exploration of iconic landmarks, starting with the Patuxay monument—a remarkable architectural homage to the Arc de Triomphe. If time allows, we'll also have the opportunity to visit one of the majestic temples, Pha That Luang, bathed in the gentle afternoon light.

In the evening, we delve into the local rhythm of life by strolling along the bustling walking street that lines the riverside. The vibrant atmosphere envelopes us as we take in the sights and sounds of the city. To cap off our unforgettable journey, we indulge in a delectable local-style BBQ, savoring the flavors of Laos as we come together for our final meal, creating cherished memories to carry with us as we bid adieu to this remarkable adventure.

dramatic-laos-day13.png

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 30km / 18mi
Accommodation: La Seine Hotel
Itinerary Image

Day 14: Vientiane

Travel further as per your onward journey.

Meals: B
Accommodation:

Ready to plan your adventure? Download a print-ready detailed itinerary.

Map

Dates and Prices

Members get an estimated 10% off on this trip.

$50/yearLearn more


Single Supplement

From US $600

E-Bike Upgrade

From US $230


Couldn't find a trip with convenient dates?

Open your date as a join-in tour or customize further as a private one.


Essential Info

Inclusions

LODGING

All hotels as mentioned in the tour details or similar (subject to availability).

trip leader

Expert Trip Leader(s) who look after your every need and add meaning to your vacation.

bike

Immaculately maintained bike with helmet, suited to a terrain.

shuttle

A Van support follows the group of riders and carries all belongings.

meals

Meals as per itinerary. Guests are given the opportunity to dine on their own so that they discover a location independently.

refreshments

Refreshments and mineral water while cycling.

entrance

Entrance fees to most of the monuments and temples.

E-bikes

E-bikes are available (subject to availability) on this trip at a surcharge.

Exclusions

Airport pickup and drop

We recommend to book direclty from airport or hotel.

Beverages

Beverages such as alcohol, tea, coffee, juice at a hotel or restaurant.

Gratuity

Gratuities for your guide team are not included in the trip price.

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. Our fleet majorly consist of the below bikes as a part of this tour. However, sometimes due to height or availability constraints, we may provide a different but similar quality bike.

Bike Image

Trek Marlin 5 or similar

mountain

Included in your trip price

Weather

The dry season runs from late October until May; June to October is characterized by heavy rainfall. The southwest monsoon generally arrives around May/July. Until July, rain comes mostly in the form of short downpours for an hour or so, clearing the way for clear skies. After July, rain reaches peak levels in August and September.

Though the weather can be sometimes quite unpleasant from June to September, there are benefits to this season. Nature comes to life, dry brown grasslands and forests become lush and green, the farmers welcome the season with full productivity, and lakes and rivers as well as waterfalls fill up and become stronger than ever.

Our cycling tours in Northern Laos majorly run from September to mid-April with Oct to Feb being the best months having low humidity and plenty of sunshine. Mar to May is characterized by high humidity and some smokey skies due to slash-and-burn agriculture.

January

Best

February

Best

March

Mixed

April

Offseason

May

Offseason

June

Offseason

July

Offseason

August

Mixed

September

Good

October

Best

November

Best

December

Best

Best

Good

Mixed

Offseason

Visa

Tourist visas on arrival are available at certain ports of entry, and generally permit a stay of 30 days. At certain ports of entry, you can use an eVisa. See laoevisa.gov.la for more information. We recommend applying for e-visa in advance as that expedites the immigration process on arrival at Laos airport.

Reviews from our friends

End of reviews