Dramatic Northern Laos Bike Tour
A wholesome tour that connects the 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.
Luang Prabang | 13:00hrs
60km or 36mi
Mekong RiverThe 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.
Day 1: Luang Prabang
Our guide meets you post-lunch 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. 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.
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 make a stop at the 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 an unforgettable ‘Buffalo Selfie’.
Dinner is at a Local NGO who train marginalized youth for careers in the Hospitality industry. It is also one of the most exciting menus in town, a great 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. 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.
Day 3: 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.
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.
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.
Day 6: 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.
Day 7: Nong Khiaw 100 waterfalls Trek
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. 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.
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 then cycle to visit Pak Ou Buddha Caves before a van ride 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 seeing 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.
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.
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.
Day 11: Vang Vieng
Today cycle the dirt road for 15km 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.
Day 12: Ban Keun
Laos is a landlocked country and today’s ride evokes some excitement of coastal life. We transfer 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.
Our hotel for the evening overlooks the lake.
Day 13: Vientiane
A short transfer to Ban Khene before our final ride to the 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 the Mekong river. We arrive in the capital at around 2 pm leaving us with enough time to do some sightseeing before our farewell dinner.
Day 14: Vientiane
Travel further as per your onward journey.
Dates and Prices
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All hotels as mentioned in the tour details (subject to availability). All options are personally reviewed.
A Van support that follows the group of riders and carries all belongings.
Refreshments and mineral water while cycling.
Expert Trip Leader(s) who look after your every need and add meaning to your vacation.
Meals as per itinerary. Guests are given the opportunity to dine on their own so that they discover a location independently.
Entrance fees to most of the monuments and temples.
Immaculately maintianed bike with helmet, suited to a terrain.
Airport pickup and drop
We recommend to book direclty from airport or hotel.
Some meals may not be included. Please check your itinerary.
Beverages such as alcohol, tea, coffee, juice at a hotel or restaurant.