Testimonials - Thailand & Laos
Lost in Time
Here are what some of our customers have had to say about our Thailand & Laos cycling holidays...
Showing 1 to 88 of 88 Testimonials
Karen Macauley, Woodford, England, UK
This was our first real cycling trip and what an amazing experience. I don't cycle a lot at home but I do excercise regularly - daily. Before I was concerned about the cycling each day but it was fine and felt relaxed and certainly enjoyable. I wore a constant smile on my face. The people were lovely and our tour Guide Khen was just amazing. He provided clear information about the cycling each day and events on route. He was a relaxed but extremely competent tour guide. It was a truly memorable trip and I would thoroughly recommend.
Neil Kelly, Sheffield, UK
What an adventure. Be under no illusions, it's tough but the rewards of this amazing country far outweigh any difficulties. There can be few more impressive roads in the world than the one from Luang Prabang to Kasi and we had a real sense of achievement looking back at the distance we'd travelled. The absence of bus transfers with only leisurely boat rides instead was a massive bonus.
We were so sad to have to say goodbye to Ken and his team after all their tireless work and endless enthusiasm. They gave us such an insight into the Laos psyche which, trust me, is something you want to have and keep!
Gillian Pastuch, Sheffield, UK
Where do I start...
The only word I can use to describe this trip is 'epic'.
I've been on three cycling trips before with another tour operator which, at the time, I thought were hard. I now realise that they were like a gentle Sunday afternoon pootle through the countryside compared to this one!
This trip is intense - but you will get out of it what you are prepared to put in and the rewards and sense of achievement that you will feel at the end of it are fantastic. You will be exhausted (physically and mentally) though, so be prepared for that!
You are travelling for a lot of the time in places that are totally off the beaten track (in a country that is quite 'off the beaten track' to start with). Expect conditions to accord with that fact - there is little tourist infrastructure so many hotels/guesthouses are far more basic than you might expect elsewhere in the world.
Many roads are in a terrible state of repair, but that makes for epic days in the saddle!
The support team is amazing - the most helpful, cheerful, kind, entertaining team that I have had on any trip. Always there with a Beng Beng and a cuppa at each rest stop. Ken is always there with an entertaining (or, at times, terrifying) story, too.
Many, many memories from this trip will live with me for a long time. The children literally jumping up and down with excitement, shouting 'Sa bai dee' at us crazy cyclists actually brought me to tears at times. The Buddhist ceremony at the homestay (with mobile phone interruption) was incredibly special (and slightly hilarious). The shower in a shed will live with me for longer than I would perhaps like.. The view from the hotel on the reservoir was probably one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches as a pre-cycling breakfast will be firmly established in my training regime for life.
This is not an easy holiday. If you want an easy holiday, pack yourself off to a tourist resort for two weeks.
If, on the other hand, you want to see a beautiful country, meet wonderful people and challenge yourself in any number of ways, book this trip. You won't regret it.
Justin Lam, Los Angeles, California, USA
This was my first redspokes trip and it couldn't have gone better. The cycling was both challenging and fun, and I felt like I really got to experience Laos in a special way.
Ken and Choy were great guides - both very friendly and knowledgeable and also incredibly helpful for their bike mechanic knowledge. The visits to their homes along the way also added a personal touch to the trip that I haven't experienced before on any group tour.
Tracey Croke, Queenscliff, Australia
Once again, redspokes has given me indelible travel memories and plenty to write about.
On this trip, we saw how redspokes contribute directly to the communities they travel through making the journey through Northern Thailand and Laos much more than a bike tour. The buddhist ceremony, homestay school and COPE visit will touch your heart. Thanks for another great experience.
Liz Todd, London, UK
The local Laos team were outstanding and great to be with - Khen, Daolit, May and Khen the driver. They're committed to what they do and obviously enjoy it - Khen had some of his family helping at various points. Ken and Daolit have excellent English and interpersonal skills and good local knowledge; they give useful cultural dimensions which is useful.
I loved Laos - a special trip - one of my best adventures so far: it combined activity, beautiful scenery, great people, delicious food and cultural insights.
Paul Hudson, Queensland, Australia
I would go back in a heartbeat. I had so much fun with great people and met more wonderful people. It is the one holiday I will never forget, I think it will change my view on life forever. A lady from a small tour group in a minibus said we were mad! No you are! we see everything, you see a few chosen points along the way.
Paul Noonan, Tauranga, New Zealand
A very enjoyable, well organised trip. There was a good mix of experiencing the country, with the comforts that Westerners like when doing demanding exercise.
We had a great group, and were fortunate with the weather- everyone cycled the lot.
Peter Durrant, Guildford, Surrey, England
Khen was an outstanding tour leader. His love of his country, Laos, and his commitment to everyone having a good time was faultless. He had a really strong level of English and was 'in tune' with the cultural differences of the different members of the trip. He had tireless energy and a great sense of humour and could crack jokes about himself. He was diligent in the way he carefully described each day's events so we knew what to expect each day.
His support team did an excellent job of checking and servicing bikes and serving up a great variety of food at the rest stops. They were always there, especially when we were tired and hungry. All logistics worked perfectly and nobody got ill from any of the food.
Overall this was a really great trip.
Ann Robertson, Edinburgh, Scotland
This was really an incredible trip and I'm so glad that despite being a bit unsure if I would be able to cope that I took the plunge and just booked it!
Ken, Mae and Lid were an amazing team and from teaching us the language to lots of laughs and fun they supported us 100% on the tour. We've come back with some new friends in Laos:
I loved the trip and would definitely do it again!
Wendy Holland, New Zealand
One of the best trips I have ever been on, loved it all, I just had a big smile on my face everyday! Thank you so much for the opportunity; I have been telling everyone about it and redspokes. Ken, May and Daolit made the trip for me, you couldn't ask for a better trio. We quickly became friends and we felt like a family. I felt so sad saying goodbye to them and sincerely hope I see them again. Daolit and I have made a pact that I will repeat the trip when I am 70!
Arthur Brittenden, Aberdeen, Scotland
Laos, 'lost in time', was my third cycle trip in the past 13 months with the previous 2 trips being with Exodus. Although I enjoyed both of the Exodus trips, my Laos redspokes experience far exceeded either of the previous trips. Value for money, organisation, overall cycling experience, lack of bus transfers and above all the leadership and compassion of both Dermot and Ken could not be faulted.
Throughout the trip I can not recall a single meaningful complaint from any of the participants. One of my outstanding memories of the trip was when tired and hot and ascending a fierce some hill spotting the blue table and chairs with a smiling May waiting with a most welcome picnic. I will not hesitate in future to prioritise redspokes for any future cycling holidays.
Peter Dilks, Christchurch, New Zealand
What an amazing experience. The rural areas were scenically stunning and we encountered really friendly people wherever we went. Especially the children who shouted sabaidee and held out hands for a high five.
Often the whole school appeared when they sighted cyclists and the shrieking of the school-girls post high-five was guaranteed to bring a big smile and take your mind off the heat or sore bum! Laos is a very laid-back country (compared to Vietnam where I went next), the trip really well organised and run, and the guides provided a wealth of information throughout the trip. It's a trip I would highly recommend; I would consider repeating it in a year or two.
Andy Goodwin, Crowborough, England, UK
This was my first redspokes trip and it certainly wont be my last. The itinerary was well planned and had the right mix of cycling and other activities. The homestay visit was certainly interesting!
Ken was not only an excellent guide but highly entertaining too! I am sure it can't be easy to get all the logistics of a tour in a country like Laos right but Ken managed it perfectly.
Jennie and Stuart Richardson, Modbury, Devon, England
The whole holiday was amazing . We were lucky to have a very friendly group who were very fit and cycled rather to quickly for us but they were very encouraging and Ken or one of the leaders was always there to help .
Overall a very interesting holiday and a load of fun !
John Stephenson , Singapore
I had an amazing tour which was helped by good organisation, great guides and on the road support..
I was lucky enough to have a great group on the tour to share the experiences with..
The trip is over but I still have the photographs and memories.
Julia Thomasson, Poole, England, UK
This is my 3rd trip with redspokes ( Tibet and Peru previously) and each one has been different but so memorable.
Laos was hotter and more hilly than I expected, but outside the towns, totally unspoilt, with the most beautiful and in places, dramatic scenery. I had heard the people were the friendliest on earth, and I can't disagree. I will have an abiding memory of the children rushing to greet us, laughing and giggling.
Visiting the schools supported by redspokes, the home-stay, the infinity pool overlooking the reservoir at Na Nam, Kayaking on the Nam Song river and visiting COPE charity in Vientiane were all highlights of a varied, well organised, and highly recommended trip.
Ros Lawson, Edinburgh, Scotland
I have now been on 6 biking trips abroad (2 with redspokes) & the North Thailand/Laos trip is definitely up there with Nepal (RS) & Peru. Laos is a stunningly beautiful country with beautiful, friendly people.
The cycling was really enjoyable & undulating with some challenging climbs in the (hotter than average) heat & incredible scenery to soak up. I will never forget the humbling home-stay experience & hugely enjoyable integration with the villagers. Visiting the schools was a fantastic experience too; hearing the children sing & hearing how the charity money is spent.
The food was delicious & all the guides so happy & helpful. Sign up for this trip!
Kevin Thomasson, Poole, England, UK
This excellent trip started in NE Thailand, followed by a boat trip down the Mekong into Laos, where the cycling started in earnest. The next 11 days of cycling ,superbly guided by Dermot and supported by Ken and his wife May and the rest of his team who fed and watered us magnificently was an amazing experience.
Laos is beautiful, great scenery, jungles, interesting towns ,temples, mountains, limestone peaks and best of all the friendliest people I have ever met.
Finally I will never forget the end of each day sitting around with a great bunch of people refueling over a couple of bottles of BeerLao.
Sarah Cutts, Perth, Australia
This was my third redspokes trip, and as always, was fantastic.
Great people, and just the right combination of challenge and comfort.
Charlie & Annie Waring, West Sussex, England, UK
We were very lucky with the group that were on this trip. They were great fun and there were plenty of laughs.
The trip, as described, was one of RS's most popular and you can see why. Beautiful country, very friendly people and with various extra curricular activities, like the boat trip and kayaking, it was a very well planned trip. It was great that there were no bus transfers, that is always a bonus.
A wonderful country and this trip made the most of enjoying it's beauty and its people. Most enjoyable holiday
Sanjiv Chadha , Ipswich, England
Being "lost in time" was of the most amazing experiences of my life. The cycling was nearly as amazing as the people I shared it with and the team that led us.
It was challenging at times being the wet season but to anyone who is considering this tour, stop considering and just do it! You won't regret it; I am so pleased I took the leap. Ken and the crew will take fantastic care of you and you will have the time of your life! The people of Laos are some of the nicest you will ever meet and your fellow cyclists will become friends for life.
A truly enriching and life-affirming experience.
Laura McDougall, Melbourne, AustraliaHi Dermot,
I just wanted to say what a fantastic time I had on the recent Thailand - Laos trip!
From the beginning and booking with Elisabeth and Bryony through to the actual tour itself has been brilliant.
The team in Laos are fantastic! Ken, Mae (and Manniwan), Lid and Ton really made the trip. It was so special travelling with the local team and I wouldn't change a thing about the organization of it. I trusted Ken and Lid 100% when it came to making decisions on roads and when to ride/not to ride. They are true professionals. Lid was also fantastic when it came to the bike maitenance and I know as I had a few dramas! Nothing major, just all the mud etc taking its toll, but every time something did happen I knew Lid was there to fix. Ken and his fabulous sense of humour always kept us laughing! Mae, what a fabulous cook she was and such a delight to have around. Manniwan (their daughter) was also a delight and I thoroughly enjoyed having the chance to spend time with her as well. Ton was so patient and always happy! He did a great job driving the bus and was always there waving "sabaidee" as we got to the bus.
I loved every minute and every kilometre of the journey. Overall, the organization was perfect. The length we rode each day and the towns we stopped in (including the rest day in Luang Prabang) was spot on. Having the local team and their knowledge made the trip!
Thank you to yourself and all of the team involved at redspokes for making this the best trip of my life. I will certainly be doing more redspokes tours in the past and I have (and will continue to) spread the word over here in Melbourne!
Brian and Paul Thompson, Middlesbrough, England
Considering that we went in the wet season, were able to see everything we expected and hoped to see. We both felt that it was actually a good time to visit Laos. Everything is really green and lush and it was really good to see people working in the rice fields and to get a good feel for what their lives are really like, much better than just looking at empty scenery.
The home stay was a real highlight and we were both really moved by the sincerity of the villages towards us.
Ken and all of the rest of the support team were absolutely excellent, it definitely wouldn't have been the same without his good humour, he made all the right decisions about when to ride and when not to, his experience on the route is invaluable. We both thought that his obvious love of his wonderful country and its people shone through.
I'd also like to mention Alan too who looked after us in Thailand. He was an excellent bloke, I was staggered by his achievements and modesty. I really hope that all goes well for him with the Northern Thailand tours. I'm sure that all who meet him will be impressed, how couldn't you with a Guinness world record under his belt!
For my son and I this was a wonderful and at times quite magical trip and just so glad that we were able to make it. We are now considering where to go next, we both want more.
Thanks again to you all and we both look forward to many more happy cycling miles.
Cath Breckell, Essex, England, UK
Another fabulous redspokes tour! The key to their success I think is the involvement of such excellent local people - Ken and his team were fantastic; lots of humour and they offer such an insight into their country that you just wouldn't get with any other tour company.
Laos was an exceptional country and the group was wonderfully diverse and supportive - a great experiece and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who wants to get off the beaken tourist track, give themselves a challenge and experience something a bit different.
Tony Mohr, Melbourne, Australia
The redspokes Thai / Laos tour was a rich, diverse experience. More than just 'putting in the kilometers', the tour gave us opportunities to experience Laoation community, culture, language and food. Take the time to share some Lao Lao, join a local Thai Cao new year celebration, and your experience will be kuk li li (very very good)!
The boat trips give you a different view of the country and it's people, and of course the cycling itself is a stunning mix of hills and flats, limestone cliffs and quiet rice paddies. redspokes have an obvious commitment to Laos and it's people, investing in local projects and supporting organisations like COPE. I really applaud that, keep it up. !
If you just want to cycle lots of kms, stay at home. If you want a once in a lifetime experience, get on this tour.
John and Steph MacDonald, Perth, Australia
The lost in Laos tour gave us a perfect inroduction to Laos and to cycling tours. The place is facinating and the riding was rewarding. Sharing it with a tour group and an enthusiastic guide team made for great fun, even at the end of the day when the legs were tired and the showers sometimes cold.
I won't easily forget the excitement of the Lao children as we rode by, or the village stay experience
Roger Day, Ballymena, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland
Dermot supported ably by local staff Ken and Daleit literally went the extra mile to ensure we had the trip of a lifetime. I'd chosen redspokes to get away from the Lonely Planet trail and get a bit fitter. I certainly got what I wanted, seeing beautiful Laos from a more native perspective including a homestay in Ban Nalay and shed a stone on the way. Dermot and team's dedication, patience and tireless good cheer made it a super trip.
I have already recommended redspokes to friends and family and am keen to go with Dermot on another cycle adventure.
Anthony Chadwick, Sheffield, England UK
Having travelled extensively I must say I enjoyed this tour, it was better than most I've been on. Good bunch of people to cycle and drink [Lao Lao] with. The Laotians were some of the friendliest and welcoming people I have ever come across.
The staff were great fun joining in on everything, Dermot kept us all laughing, but is also very charitable and helpful to the Laos people.
Ann Southall, Staffordshire, UK
A brilliant holiday with a great mixture of scenery, homestay and some nice guesthouses.
The local team work exceptionally hard to make sure you have a good time and to accommodate both serious and less serious cyclists. You can cycle at your own pace and stop to take photos or get a drink whenever you wish to, as Dowlete is always cycling patiently at the back sweeping up the stagglers.
Deirdre Roche, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Ireland
A wonderful experience! A fabulous way to see a country, learn about the people and culture. Totally hooked on cycle holidays!
Thank you for making it all possible!
David Harrington, California, USA
Whether we were pedaling through the scattered corn fields or terraced rice paddies along the streams on a pleasantly warm day, climbing thousands of feet through the morning's cool mist into jungles of bamboo, or riding through the passes of majestic limestone karst formations that reached the clouds above, there was one beautiful common thread to every single day in Laos aside from the incredible scenery. Many, many times a day, we would pass through tiny, rustic villages, scattered with an array of stilted houses dotted along the roadside or spreading up the hillside or down towards a stream. And within almost every one of these villages were the friendliest, sweetest, and most charming people in the world. We would offer our greetings and wave as they shared their warm smiles, friendly waves, and 'śsabaidees,'ť especially from the wildly excited children who flocked to the roadsides of most every village to exchange an enthusiastic 'śhigh fives,'ť thereafter dancing with joy as we pedaled away smiling!
Ngam lai lai!
But how could we experience these wonderful days without both leaders Ken and Dermot being on top of their game the entire trip! I can only imagine there were occasions when things were not according to plan. Yet we never noticed because they did such an amazing job of taking care of business so we could thoroughly enjoy our journey.
I think I can speak for most everyone who hired a bike: the rental shop and excellent mechanics provided impressive attention to adjustments for finely tuned bikes, and that the front-suspension bikes were of very good quality! And front suspension was a must (sorry James and Tara)!
Lastly, every encounter with another person or place is an opportunity to be enriched and to give back in one way or another. In these two weeks, some of us found that in our fellow travellers, others with a simple smile or interaction with a local, and still others through donations. But I would venture to guess that we were all touched by the charm and beauty of the most hard-working, attentive, sweet, and loving local support staff that truly made our entire journey the wonderful pleasure that it was; an absolutely incredible experience!
Kop jai lai lai der!
Michele McCoy and Malcolm Dean, Kilmarnock, Scotland
A great trip in a beautiful country with many memorable moments. Ken, family and all the support team did a fantastic job looking after us all.
Truly a step back in time, people are friendly, welcoming and take time to smile. The sence of community in the villages is something that will stay with us for a long time. Great work Dermot with the community trust fund. Thanks!
Alastair Locke, Leeds, England, UK
The whole trip was an incredible kaleidoscope of experiences, even though I am a well traveled person. The highlights being the home stay, the friendly Loasions, your support team (even including you Dermot!! shame about your pucking skills!!?) the suprise canoeing trip, redspokes passion for the country and their charitable sponsorship.
I could go on, but suffice to say I enjoyed it very much and everyone was very tolerant of my sometimes wayward behaviour!!!
Mary and Donald, Edinburgh, Scotland
Once again redspokes does a fantastic trip. Sailing down the Mekong, cycling through villages barely changed in generations, excited children shouting sabaai-dii, lazy day in Luang Prabang, welcome ceremony at the home stay, the support provided by Khen his family and team are a few of the unforgettable memories of this trip.
We wouldn't have wanted to see Laos in any other way. Dermot you are a cycling inspiration.
Scooby Werkstatt, California, USA
Awesome Laos trip! I was so impressed with the way you do tours that I plan on taking either your Vietnam or one of your South America tours next year! I have seen first hand the damage that irresponsible tourism can cause so it was incredibly refreshing to be on your tour where I truly felt good about my role as guest/tourist.
I was really impressed with the way you help the local communities and the wonderful work of the charitable organization COPE, I'm trying to raise money for them on my website as well: www.scoobysworkshop.com/charities.htm
Rick Algar, Essex, England, UK
The company, a fantastic, considerate and fun group; the Laos experience, nothing prepared me for the excited laughter and uninhibited, unconditional delight of the village children as a stream of falangs in gaudy cycle gear streamed through the village;
The guides and support team, unfailingly attentive and just genuinely lovely people, a great trip.
Anita Gupta, Liverpool, England, UK
This holiday was an exceptional experience for me and I think I will find it difficult to find another like it. Laos is a beautiful country - Dermot and Khen's passion for it and its incredible people is the unspoken part of the tour that is priceless. The tour offers a wide range of real cultural exchanges which would not be found on any other holiday. We were all made to feel so welcome in Laos by everyone we met which was really very humbling. This vital sense of community that this country exudes is sadly such a rarity in the rest of the world.
This really is a cycling holiday and is very well organised and paced. Transport by buses etc are kept to an absolute minimum. Some days are tough but you are on those hills before you know it and the sense of achievement is worth every effort.
The group was very well balanced and it was great the way that everyone pulled together whilst on the rides - no one was left cycling on their own unless they wanted to be. An approach that was encouraged by Khen and Dermot from the start. Help was always at hand.
The thought and energy that has been used to create this tour - down to every last detail - is an inspiration. I would recommend this trip to anyone without hesitation. If you are interested in exploring this country properly and understanding its complex issues then this tour is a very good introduction.
Katja Stille, London, England, UK
I think the tour was fantastic all around even for someone who normally avoids organised group holidays. I wouldn't have gone with any organisation and redspokes and the personal involvement of Dermot made organised group travel seem appealing. It sets a great example that organised travel is possible without the negatives associated with it.
Ken was great! His beaming smile is still one of the major impressions of the trip.. He was also always approachable and willing to explain local customs and details about day-to-day Lao life. Above that he was attentive and helpful in sorting bike problems.
Ashley Makepeace, Fremantle, Australia
A fantastic trip!!! There is no doubt that there are some long days but what goes up must come down, a long way down sometimes. I cannot fault the organization from Dermot and Ken. The distance travelled each day was split up to make even the longer days manageable.
This beautiful country, full of friendly, mellow people was enhanced by the contact with local people, including a home stay where there is electricity (from a generator) running water (otherwise known as a river). Hearing about what some charities (inc. Cope) are doing to help and being able to give a small donation and seeing exactly who the money was going to was a bonus.
Biggest traffic jam we encountered, was the cows. Skills obtained included proficiency in executing high-fives to children at speed and not running any of them down, shouting 'sa bai dee' to everyone, while fighting for breath on the 'wee bumps'. Finally, a big thanks to the group, who added so much to one of my favorite holidays, I couldn't ask for more.
Graham Searle, Oxfordshire, England
We had a fantastic time on the tour. We were hoping that it would be a really memorable experience, but it absolutely exceeded our expectations all the way. We came back firmly believing that cycle touring is the very best way to see a country, and that Laos is one of the very best countries in the world to see.
Everything about it was pretty much spot-on - the route, accommodation and food were great. The overall atmosphere was really good - in a group that size, I think that it's actually pretty impressive that there weren't any major issues in two weeks. I think that the effect of the personalities leading the group can't be underestimated. Dermot and Ken were fantastic, it's a tricky thing that you do but your cheerful and friendly ways really do make a difference. It's obvious that you both take a personal interest in each individual and how they're getting on / enjoying the trip - that's appreciated.
We are pretty impressed by the work your charity has done, and by how much difference a relatively small amount of money can make to these rural communities if invested wisely.
Debbie Denton, Chesterfield, England, UK
A big, big, thanks for a fabulous holiday in Laos/Thailand. Everything about the holiday we both enjoyed;- the friendly smiley Laos/Thailand's, impressive scenery, great cycling, food, weather,various types of accommodation, organisation, the diversity of each day, not forgetting our fellow cyclists - even the mad Scotsman !!, the list could go on and on !!! Best holiday ever, look forward to the next.
Jenny Nicoll, Sussex, England, UK
Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed last Christmas/New Year in Laos. Know my comments are a little late but I've not long been back in the UK. Do you remember that the tour was part of my round the world travels and it was the first time I had ever been on a cycle tour as well as travelling on my own. I had an amazing time travelling, visiting over 10 countries in just 6mths.
Now I'm back, friends often ask where was my favourite place. Of course that is difficult to answer as I've had a great time nearly everywhere I went experiencing many cultures and doing some amazing things. However, I must say that the cycle tour comes right up at the top of my list for an overall adventure. I loved Laos, the people the country and the actual challenge of the cycling, which I did find tough at times. Ben and Ken were both great and very supportive and I thought the tour was very well organized. I was so glad that I decided to include this as part of my travels and would love to do another one sometime.
Claire Thomas, Edinburgh, Scotland
During the course of our travels through Laos, as well as experiencing wonderful scenery, good food and amazing cycling, we also managed to touch the Laotian culture. The Laotians have so little but gave so much warmth and encouragement which helped make this trip so special. The Laotian support crew who were driving the van, cooking and acting as local guides as well as Dermot the Tour Leader, did their utmost to make this a holiday to remember. I would recommend this trip to everyone.
Paul Massie, London, England
The tour delivered everything, and more, that I was looking for. Great friendship, a wonderful country, lovely people and a physical and mental challenge! The tour was superbly led by Dermot and Ken. It exposed us to a culture in a way I think very few other tours could match.
It was that insight into and brief experience of the Laos way of life that for me made this trip unique and certainly this was a view echoed by one or two of my fellow cyclists that I talked to.
So well done! And to cap it all, I am now on the lowest notch on my belt and trying my best to keep it there.
Ian Smith, Letchworth, England, UK
Laos/Thailand Lost In Time: believe everything you read about this tour. Go with high expectations and expect to come back saying every expectation was exceeded. You will be transported to a country where everyone is your friend; where everyone smiles and time has indeed stood still.
Don't expect luxury; expect to muck in a bit, expect it to be uncomfortable at times as it can be hot and sticky; if you can handle this your reward will be an experience that will move you deeply and have you returning home singing the praises of a wonderful country. I promise.
Chris Reade, Lancaster, UK
"COPE visit cancelled which was a shame. Trip was fantastic and very enjoyable. Cycling was tough, challenging and fun and camaraderie was great.
Hosts Ken and Co were always great and informative and humorous . Would be interested in another tour somewhere.
Food was good. We talked with Ken about varying the breakfasts a bit, maybe some porridge or muesli which he liked the sound of.
Interesting to see the place and meet lots of people. Homestay was a definate highlight as were the high mountains.
Thanks to you all. "
John Thompson, Newcastle, England
Having been lucky enough to travel in Asia a little, I had high expectations of our trip to Laos. These were more than surpassed. The trip combined the beauty of an amazing country with the spirit and huge smiles of a fabulous people.
Dermot and Ken provided professional and yet hilarious guiding and made us all feel very well looked after. One of the luckiest features of our trip was the fantastic group I cycled with. I couldn't have wished for a nicer group of fellow travelers, and really hope we can meet up again soon to do a similar trip. One of my best holidays. I can highly recommend it.
Cathy Sheehan, Auckland, New Zealand
I want to thank you again for a wonderful wonderful tour in Laos/Thailand. I am totally hooked and recommending redspokes to everyone I meet. I can't think of a better way of doing it.
The group was brilliant and so was the organisation, really stress-free for me. And having Lao guides and translators was fantastic.
On the first night I decided not to make snap judgements about the people in the group and just accept everyone and let them reveal themselves, and it really worked. They were all wonderful.
You have just the right touch - it's organised beautifully and takes away all the worries of doing it on your own, but leaves enough freedom to still make it an adventure. I liked the skillful way you went around and checked on everyone without being overbearing.
I fully expected to be bundled into the back of the truck on the day from Luang Prabang to Kiu Kacham but it was great I was able to complete that challenging day.Your initial instructions about respect were spot-on. I felt proud of our group and the way we conducted ourselves - I think even our drunken behaviour was within acceptable limits.
Julie Niven, Edinburgh, Scotland
The best holiday I've ever had - it's going to take some beating. I've been on organised cycling trips before and this trip blew them all out of the water. The organisation was faultless, the cycling was awesome, the scenery was stunning, the people were fabulous. The welcome we received in Ban Faen will stay with me for a long time. A truly humbling experience.
Clifford Erett, Belfast, Ireland
Belated happy new year to all at redspokes. I'm emailing to thank you and your team for a fantastic holiday Dermot, it was one of (if not the most) interesting and enjoyable experiences of my life to date. The warmth shown to us from the people of Ken's village and the population generally was most humbling. Please convey my thanks and good wishes to Ken and his family, not forgetting Mr Lucky, forkeeping us well fed and watered while we enjoyed ourselves.
I will not fill your inquestionnaire Dermot because for me the trip was better than I expected. OK so the hotels were not up to western standards but I feel that adds to the experience.
Don't change a thing Dermot; it's a bloody marvellous tour!
Mark Pearson, Bath, England, UK
Can't put in words how much I enjoyed the trip. Challenging physically and intellectually. Beautiful country and people. Great group and redspokes is a fantastic company. Will recommend Laos and redspokes to everyone who'll listen.
Louise Goldingham, Oxon, England, UK
This was a truly fantastic holiday. The cycling was great, the local people so warm and welcoming, scenery amazing and the organisation of the trip was brilliant. I didn't need to worry about the cycling as the pace was so good, with lots of refreshment stops. It was an experience I will never forget.
Heather McCulloch, Australia
I loved the opportunity to interact with locals in a meaningful way. I can't fault the organisation, it all went so smoothly, and I know there's always so much work behind the scenes. I had such a wonderful holiday, every day was like a new adventure. I really enjoyed the way Dermot was involved and how he (and the whole group) was into all the spontaneity, for example here's some crazed guy in a car yelling that he's a cyclist, and we all end up having a great time visiting his bike museum and pub.
redspokes would always be first preference for me, I fully recommend them.
Lieve De Neve, Belgium
Cycling trough Laos was an extraordinary experience. The unspoilt and lush landscapes, the harvesting on the rice fields, thesmall remote villages andwatching from close bythe daily life of the people: this cycling journey was unique and surely a "once of a lifetime" experience.
The organisation was perfect, thanks to David Walker and Ken. The entire team took really good care of us. In my case, the presence of the van was really assuring and I regularly used it to avoid the steepest and hardest parts of the route.The members of our group had different nationalities and backgrounds, which resulted in interesting conversations and exchange of points of view. Another benefitfor me was it even resulted in an improvement of my English conversation skills!
Going through my photographs, I realise again how wonderful this biketour was... The decision to go to Laos with redspokes was one of the best decisions I ever made :)
Ilkka Nyknen, Finland
This trip had a very good combination of cycling and culture. Passing through so many small rural villages and receiving such a warm welcome , was fasinating. Its not easy to find places like these nowadays. It would be good if everyone living in the western countries to do this trip sometime.
Before this trip I was a little woried how I would understand native English (Scottish) speakers but thanks to Dermot and Ken and the whole group it was not a problem.
Birgit Kistenich, Lausanne, Switzerland
This was the most fantastic holiday I've had in my whole life. There is actually nothing that could have been better, our tour leader was the world best, he managed to create a wonderful group atmosphere, integrating everybody, always very positive and creating lots of fun.
Nick Boyd, Edinburgh
A great 2 weeks of amazing cycling. The variety and ever changing landscapes, places and people made every day different and fun. Great leaders and a wonderful group made this an incredibly memorable holiday.
Evelyn Mullins, Dublin, Ireland
The trip was really well organised. Dermot, Ken and all the team were so encouraging and helpful. I couldn't fault anything on the trip. The country was fantastic and I think what redspokes is doing for the villages is fantastic.
Karen Allworthy & Geoff Messenger, London, England, UK
redspokes cycle tour was very well organised and flexible without being restricting and rigid in its itinerary showing us the real Laos and its people along the way.
Rory Morrison, London, England, UK
What a great way to see beautiful Laos and to meet it's friendly and welcoming people. The route is brilliantly conceived. You are taken on a self-propelled roller-coaster of a ride through some of the remotest and least spoilt tropical landscapes imaginable. A completely stress-free holiday.
A cycle adventure tour company who are passionate about the countries they ride through, taking care to positively contribute to the communities encountered along the way. You will come away with a far greater understanding of the people and issues of the region, this is what makes redspokes tours unique.
Michelle Emery, London, England, UKThe trip was fantastic. The staff were extremely helpful, the tour was well organised and I would have no hesitation in going on another redspokes trip or in recommending them to other people.
Andrea middleton, England, UK
I cannot now imagine a better way to visit a country than by bike. redspokes gave us the opportunity to see visit real communities and experience the humbling generosity of the Laos people. The scenery was incredible. The cycling was enjoyable at not as tough as we'd expected and the group pulled together for the larger wee bumps along the way!
Richard Matheson, Leeds, England, UK
It has all been said in the other testimonials the most vivid memories will always be of the three most important things: the welcoming and friendly people of Laos, great food and interesting and varied terrain for cycling! A wonderful experience, and a privilege to visit such a beautiful country which gives so much to its visitors.
Ailsa Rutherford, Surry, England, UK
For want of a less clich'd phrase: this was a life-changing experience. I wish I had discovered cycling tours earlier in my life. It's the perfect speed to see a country if walking's too slow for you and buses/trains whisk you past too quickly behind glass. The Laos tour provided a great sense of work and reward for me; the work is the cycling; the reward is seeing such a beautiful place and lovely people more intimately (and not forgetting the odd Beerlao at the end of the day too!). I can't fault the tour leaders, David and Khen, for their continual cheer and encouragement along the way, striking the right balance between supported group travel and personal space . I look forward to my next adventure with redspokes.
Jon Langley, London, Endland, UK
This was just what I hoped for, not just a trip from A to B but a tour into and through the Thailand/Laos area where you felt part of the region for the period of the journey, thanks.
Clare Thomas, don, England, UK
Absolutely fantastic experience, a stunning country, amazing people and a great tour. Dermot and Ken were brilliant and ensured we all had a great time. Fabulous!
Ian Langley, Leeds, England, UK
The trip was a great mix of culture, cycling and good fun without a lot of transfers during the trip.
Richard Garlick, Hertford, England, UK
This was a wonderful holiday for me that allowed personal space yet was efficiently organized - Helped of course by Laos being such a intresting, beautiful and friendly country to visit.
Nina Davis, Hackney, London, UK
Fantastic trip, it was everything you promised and more. I absolutely loved it, it was just what I needed to feed my soul and I felt totally energised when I got back (plus my fitness level was through the roof!) I'll definitely be coming on another redspokes Trip.
Anna Hebden, Australia
The tour was wonderful. Ben and Ken were both great; very patient and helpful. I enjoyed all the accommodation and it was good to have a mix of hotels and guest houses. One of the highlights was a hot bucket shower at the stop before Luang Prabang. We had had a very wet day of cycling and it was lovely to be made so welcome at that guest house, a simple place, but definitely one of my favourites.
The food was fantastic too and I was amazed by all the wonderful vegetables and herbs in Laos. As a vegetarian I was catered for at every stop.
Not being a great or experienced cyclist I was a little apprehensive before the trip, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I stayed at the back most of the time chatting with Jenny and Heather (often 3 abreast..... sorry Ben!). We had a fantastic time with lots of laughs.
I was also really impressed with the cycle shop in Chiang Rai. The people working there were very helpful and got my bike sorted for me no problem.
I would give the tour 5/5 and will definitely be looking at another in the futureThanks again, Anna.
Sophie Lewis, Cambridge, England, UK
As a novice cyclist I found the riding hard; but I now can't think of a better way to see a country. Laos is amazing Breathtaking scenery and the friendliest people you'll ever meet
Allyson Wakeham, Brighton, England
Beautiful country, gorgeous people - the children brought tears to my eyes with their enthusiasm towards visitors. Breath taking views, a well thought out route for a short visit and taste of Laos. Many thanks redspokes for introducing me to Laos.
Laura Russell, London, England
This was my first cycling holiday and was an absolutely amazing experience. Laos is a remarkable country with unbelievable scenery and the friendliest people I have ever met.
The cycling was difficult in places but it was reassuring to know that it was never far before we would turn the corner and see the van waiting with fresh fruit and hot drinks. I am already thinking about my next trip with redspokes!
Bea Bowen, Oxford, England
All in all an absolutely fantastic trip which has opened my eyes to the huge advantages of seeing a country by bike instead of zooming past in a bus from A to B. Both Ken and Dermot were great tour leaders, always ready with a smile and keen to make sure that everyone was getting the most out of the trip, I loved it!
Thanks for everything.
Olivia Slee, Perth, Australia
This trip was undoubtedly the best trip I have ever been on. I still find myself comparing other travels and nothing matches the amazing experience of the Laos trip. You step into a new world and interact with your surrounds to a far greater level when touring on your bike. Some of the experiences still seem very surreal. I cherrish a letter written to me by one of the schoolgirl wishing me "lucky when back to your home". I have met some amazing people and will have to organise another trip with some of the group (the two Andy's!!) in pursuit of winning a hill stage!
Mike Shelton, Cheltenham, England, UK
Really good trip, having spent the previous week cycling on my own in southern Laos/Thailand, it was great to have everything arranged. The big advantage of an organized trip is that you don't have to ride the dull bits and there are interesting extras like the Mekong river trip, the stay in Khens village and the Hmong village visit. The 15 mile interval between stops is just right. The support crew and all these stops added a lot to the trip.
Owen Cooper, Manchester, England, UK
I was hugely impressed by the Organization throughout the tour, which was always low key/relaxed, yet clearly well planed. A huge thank you for designing an experience that'll stay with me for many years - the combination of cycling, scenery and meeting local people was superb. Few experiences live up to expectation, especially when you are really looking forward to something, but "lost in time" not only lived up to expectation, but exceeded it. Thank you
Chris Fielden, Nottingham, England, UK
Excellent tour, I think I'll struggle to find a much better holiday
Rita Gough, Preston, England, UK
An outstanding experience that I will always remember. I felt part of Laos/Thailand, rather than a spectator and it was great riding through the less well known villages/towns.
Penny Weir, Avimore, Scotland
Thank you for such a great trip to Laos/Thailand - what a magical country. A great experience.
Mark Hoskins , Wolverhampton, England, UK
A great trip David and Ken were great guides and provided plenty of information about Laos. An awesome way to see this magnificent country; far better than from the back of an air-conditioned bus. I met a great group of fellow travellers. This holiday will be remembered for a long time.
Dave and Eve Jones, Malmesbury, England, UK
We had a hoot, and enjoyed ourselves immensely, as well as making a number of good new friends. It was hard going, but enjoyable none-the-less, and despite eating like horses, we came back 0.5 stone lighter !!! I think the biggest testimony is that we are all planning another trip for 2012 '“ same group, same tour leader. We had a fantastic time. Thank you!
Helen Young , Chiswick, London, UK
A great trip '“ well-planned, good tour leaders/team spirit and a fantastic, challenging way to see a beautiful & unspoilt country.
Sean Schofield, , London, England, UK
Thanks to everyone at redspokes. I had an amazing time and definitely would go on another redspokes trip.
Debbie Glenwright , Townsville Australia
Cycling in Laos was excellent as the trip combined the challenge of ridingthrough some beautiful hilly countryside, while at the same time taking inmany different cultural experiences. The homestay with the local villagerswas the highlight of the trip.
Nicola Hardie , Singapore
The amazing opportunity this trip provides to really truly understand Laos as a country, understand at first hand some of the issues it faces on its road to development and really meet the people.
Their lives are lived on the roads in front of their wooden huts, so on a bike you have every opportunity to understand it, interact and even participate in their life via a homestay. Outside the capital, they live in the middle ages '“ limited electricity, no running water, wood huts cooking on fire, the cooking area is the same as the living room and the bedroom. This trip gave us a unique opportunity to live with them (with a homestay) and realise that although they may not have much materially, they gain everything in the richness of their family and community support. Something we have long lost in more developed countries......making me wonder if development, although inevitable, will really bring these people more happiness.
The local Laos team were outstanding and great to be with - Khen, Daolit, May and Khen the driver. They're committed to what they do and obviously enjoy it - Khen had some of his family helping at various points.
Ken and Daolit have excellent English and interpersonal skills and good local knowledge; they give useful cultural dimensions which is useful.I loved Laos - a special trip - one of my best adventures so far: it combined activity, beautiful scenery, great people, delicious food and cultural insights.
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