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Laos - South to North Cycling Holiday

A Hospitable Journey

Day 1: Vientiane

The Laos South to North tour starts in Vientiane. You will be met on arrival at Vientiane Airport and transferred to your hotel. You will have some free time to explore this delightful capital city.

This afternoon we will sort out any bike problems before we stretch our legs with a ride around the laid back capital and the surrounding area; with its French colonial influences Vientiane is quite distance from other Asian cities; it has a relaxed 'small town' charm. Located on the Mekong river close to the Thai Border, Vientiane is noted as the home of the most significant national monument in Laos: That Luang, a known symbol of Laos and an icon of Buddhism. This evening we will have group introductions and a trip briefing. 

Accommodation: Hotel (B)

Day 2: Vientiane to Nam Ngum

This morning we cycle out of Vientiane. After leaving the bustle of the town, we ride through pastoral agricultural land passing paddy fields and more intensively farmed areas. Towards the end of the day there are two short but rewarding climbs just before we reach our destination at Ang Nam Ngum reservoir. We stay tonight in beautiful surroundings. 

Cycling Distance: 97 km (60 miles)
Total Climb: 489m (1,604ft)
Total Descent: 425m (1,394ft)
Accommodation: Hotel(resort) (B,L,D)

Day 3: Nam Ngum to Vang Vieng

We have an early start this morning along mostly flat roads. Towards the end of the morning we reach the fishing village of Tha Heauna where all manner of salty fish are on sale by the road. We will have lunch here, sampling the local produce, before cycling on to arrive by early afternoon in Vang Vieng, where we stay the night.

Cycling Distance: 105 km (65 miles)
Total Climb: 706m (2,316ft)
Total Descent: 695m (2,280ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B,L)

Day 4: Vang Vieng

A day to recharge both physically and mentally in the heart of this enchanting town, ensconced between imposing limestone cliffs and the serene Nam Song River. The morning may commence with a leisurely breakfast, followed by an exploration of local culture through visits to temples or engaging with the warm-hearted locals. Alternatively, one might opt for a pampering spa session or a leisurely river float in an inner tube. Vang Vieng offers numerous opportunities for scenic hikes or simply unwinding by the riverbank, soaking in the mesmerising natural beauty that defines this region. This rest day offers the ideal chance to savour the serene allure of Vang Vieng, reenergise, and appreciate the distinctive blend of tranquility and adventure that makes Laos a truly remarkable destination.

Accommodation: Hotel (B)

Day 5: Vang Vieng to Kasi

As you pedal away from the picturesque town of Vang Vieng, you'll be greeted by breathtaking landscapes, with limestone karst formations and lush greenery surrounding you. The route meanders through quaint villages and serene countryside, offering a glimpse into the authentic rural life of Laos. After covering around 28 kilometers, a moderate 8-kilometer climb provides a challenge, but the breathtaking vistas and a sense of achievement make it a rewarding experience. As you conquer this ascent, a long and gentle descent awaits, leading you to the serene town of Kasi, where you can relax and appreciate the tranquil beauty of this corner of Southeast Asia.

Cycling Distance: 59 km (36.5 miles)
Total Climb: 740m (2,427ft)
Total Descent: 450m (1,476ft)
Accommodation: Guest House (B,L,D)

Day 6: Kasi to Kiu Kachan

We will have an early start in preparation for the hardest day of the trip. The cycling begins with a  gentle 10k ride as the scent of jasmine and lotus blossoms drifts through the clear air from the rich jungle flora. This is followed by a massive 38k ascent to reach Nung Phum. We will stop here for a well-deserved lunch. This afternoon we cycle a further 50k up and down through dramatic scenes of craggy limestone peaks some of which are the highest in South East Asia. At the end of this challenging day we arrive in Kiu Kachan.

Cycling Distance: 95 km (59 miles)
Total Climb: 2,395mm (7,857ft)
Total Descent: 1,452m (4,763ft)
Accommodation: Guest House (B, L, D)

Day 7: Kiu Kachan to Luang Prabang

We cycle to Luang Prabang, which is a world heritage site and one of the highlights of the trip. The day starts with a long descent for 22 k followed by a 15k hard climb. On the way we pass through Hmong villages each of which has its own distinctive character and style of house.

Cycling Distance: 78 km (48 miles) 
Total Climb: 971m (3,185ft)
Total Descent: 2,061m (6,762ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B)

Day 8: Luang Prabang

Rest day in beautiful Luang Prabang, encircled by mountains and situated on the banks of the Mekong where it meets the Nam Khan River. The day is free to explore this delightful World Heritage town with 32 historic temples, ancient monasteries, the magnificent Royal Palace Museum and French Colonial architecture. This is a place to chill out, enjoy the food, the peaceful surroundings and the people.

Accommodation: Hotel (B)

Day 9: Luang Prabang to Pak Mong

The day starts out on pleasantly flat roads. We have the opportunity to visit the holy caves of Pak-Ou, where there is an ancient collection of precious Buddhist statues (optional extra). This is a long gentle ride with interesting sights along the way, finishing in Pak Mong.

Cycling Distance: 81 km (50 miles)
Total Climb: 679m (2,228ft)
Total Descent: 554m (1,817ft)
Accommodation: Guest House (B, L, D)

Day 10: Pak Mong to Oudom Xay

A memorable day unfolds as we cycle through remote, uncharted territories. The journey commences with a challenging ascent that plunges us into the heart of a vibrant, dense jungle. We persist in pedaling across undulating hills, surrounded by breathtaking natural landscapes. As the sun sets, we descend towards Oudom Xay, the provincial capital, a melting pot of 22 diverse ethnic groups, prominently including the Akha, Hmong, and Mien communities.

Cycling Distance: 81 km (50 miles)
Total Climb: 1,619m (5,312ft)

Total Descent: 1,460m (4,790ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 11: Oudom Xay to Muang Beng

Another roller coaster day. Our cycle route is through lush jungle and passes many hill tribe villages that still retain their age-old cultural traditions. The simple bamboo houses rest on stilts, with children playing beneath them amongst the chickens and pigs. Tonight, we stop in Muang Beng on the banks of the Nam Muang river in a simple guesthouse.

Cycling Distance: 58 km (36 miles)
Total Climb: 487m (1,598ft)
Total Descent: 644m (2,113ft)
Accommodation: Guest House (B, L, D)

Day 12: Muang Beng to Pakbeng

Today we cycle along unsealed roads through friendly villages. As we pass by children will shout "sabaai dii, sabaai dii" (the Laos greeting) to every passing cyclist. There can be few places in the world other than Laos where you'll receive such a friendly welcome. We finish the last days' cycling in the village of Pakbeng. Situated on the Mekong River about halfway between the Thai border at Huay Xai and Luang Prabang.

There is an elephant sanctuary here that opened in November 2017 with four elephants. The sanctuary has been built to create an alternative of the ancestral work of the elephants and the mahout who traditionally were working in the forest and protect the elephants from hard labor tasks.

Cycling Distance: 88 km 54.5 miles)
Total Climb: 869m (2,851ft)
Total Descent: 757m (2,484ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 13: Pakbeng to Luang Prabang

Today we take a memorable boat journey though mist covered mountains up the mighty Mekong river to Luang Prabang. This journey gives is a wonderful insight into the significance of the Mekong river to the people who we have met along the way, and a memorable end to your visit.

Accommodation: Hotel (B)

Day 14: Home

In the morning you will be transferred to Luang Prabang airport for the return flight home.

If you need assistance or wish to discuss the tour, please feel free to call us on +44 (0) 1463 417707.

Alternatively, you can email us on office@redspokes.co.uk for more information on this adventure holiday.