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Cycling Northern & Southern Laos

This tour connects northern & southern of Laos. 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. Southern Laos is the worthiest destination to visit in Laos with the amazing waterfalls, and green nature; the World Heritage Site of Wat Phou; or the exciting of 4000-island area.

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • Cycling & hiking through villages and meeting local people 
  • Visit the Plain of Jars UNESCO site and UXO landmine museums
  • Relax on a boat ride and cycle through luscious national parks
  • Cycle to Se Pian Biodiversity Conservation Center and visit the community of the ethnic minority
  • Cycle around the 4000-island area to explore some interesting spots

Unforgettable moments

  • Head off the beaten track by riding on some of the most secluded and beautiful roads in Lao
  • Pass from rice fields through to rainforests as we cycle passed the limestone cliffs of Phou Khao Khuay NP. 
  • Refresh at Kuang Si waterfalls, explore the surrounding area, or take the dip at the natural pools

Nature exploration

  • The amazing and peaceful scenery of the countryside of Laos
  • The nature of dreamy of Kuang Si waterfalls
  • The untouched nature along the way from Vientiane to Luang Prabang & Southern Laos
  • The amazing Khone Phapheng waterfalls, one of the biggest waterfalls of the world

Culture experience

  • Learn about the culture & history of the Laos
  • Experience different cultures while observing everyday life in the village
  • Explore the ruin of mysterious temple of Wat Phou to learn about the history of southern Laos

Map

Detailed schedule

Day 1 - Luang Prabang arrival - City tour

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.

Notes

Distance cycled: ~ 12km / 7mi

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Day 2 - Luang Prabang - Kuang Si waterfalls

Our main destination for the day is the hidden waterfall, Kuang 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.

Notes

Distance cycled: ~ 40km / 24mi

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Day 3 - Luang Prabang - Pakbeng

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 may have opportunity to stop and visit local villages. Enjoy the lovely scenery along both sides of the Mekong cruising to today’s destination.

Notes

Boat: 6 hrs

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Day 4 - Pakbeng - 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.
 

Notes

Distance cycled: ~ 80km / 50mi*

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Day 5 - Oudomxay - 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.

Notes

Distance cycled: ~ 100km / 60mi

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Day 6 - Muang Khua - 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.

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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 lead us through the cascades and prepare 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 back by a small boat to Nong Khiaw.

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Day 8 - Nong Khiaw - 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 16th century, when King Setthathirat found the caves and declared them a holy spot. Today many people still pay respect to this tradition.

Notes

Distance cycled: ~ 60km / 37mi*

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Day 9 - Luang Prabang - 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.
 

Notes

Distance cycled: ~ 90km / 56mi*

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Day 10 - Kasi - 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.

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.

Notes

Distance cycled: ~ 50km / 30mi*

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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
 

Notes

Distance cycled: ~ 15km / 9mi*

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Day 12 - Vang Vieng - 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.

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Day 13 - Ban Keun - 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 Mekong river. We arrive in the capital at around 2pm leaving us with enough time to do some sightseeing before our farewell dinner.

Notes

Distance cycled: ~ 65km / 39mi*

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Day 14 - Vientiane - Flight to Pakse - City tour

After breakfast, we take the flight to Pakse, the biggest city of the southern Laos.
Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel.
Founded by the French in 1905 as an administrative post, the capital of Champasak Province is a relatively new town at the confluence of the Mekong and Se Don rivers. 
In the afternoon, we will first visit Ban Khoh, which specializes in stone carving, and walk to the nearby Wat Chomphet, which hosts the biggest sitting Buddha in Laos.
Late afternoon, we will ascend to the top of Wat Phou Salao to admire the panoramic view over the town of Pakse, and the nearby area, whilst the dark is falling over the city.
Overnight in Pakse
 

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Day 15 - Pakse - Wat Phou - Don Daeng

After breakfast, cycle along the Mekong river. Have a water stop the first 20km to enjoy the fresh fruit, snack and drink.  Then we follow the Mekong river and cross the ferry and continue cycling leaving the Mekong river on the backdrop. There, appear the Wat Phou temple on the foot of the Champasak hill. It is a 12th century temple built by a great Khmer King Jayavarman VII. Visit the temple 45 minutes to 1 hour. Afternoon, transfer to Don Daeng. Dinner and overnight in Don Daeng.

Notes

Distance cycled: ~ 70km

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Day 16 - Don Daeng - Se Pian Biodiversity Conservation Center

Breakfast in Don Daeng. We fill in the water and be ready to get on the bike to cycle to Se Pian Biodiversity Conservation Center located near Cambodia border to Rattanakiri province. Visit the community of the ethnic minority. Enjoy the lunch in the community. Afternoon, cycle back to Don Daeng. Dinner and overnight in Don Daeng.

Notes

Distance cycled: ~ 60km

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Day 17 - Don Daeng - 4000 Islands

Breakfast in Don Khone. Today, we cycle to visit 4 Thousand Islands known as Si Phan Don in Laos. The 4 Thousand Islands situated on the Mekong River. Enjoy lunch at the 4 Thousand Island. Make sure we keep the empty bottle of water and can in the rubbish bin to keep the environment clean. After lunch, we cycle to Don Khone. Dinner and overnight in Don Khone.

Notes

Distance cycled: ~ 50km

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Day 18 - Don Khone - Pakse

After breakfast, today we cycle to the Khone Phapheng, the wonderful water fall at the border with Cambodia. Enjoy swimming and relaxation at the water fall. Picnic lunch overlook the water fall. Afternoon, transfer back to Pakse. Dinner and farewell dinner in Pakse.
 

Notes

Distance cycled: ~ 30km

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Day 19 - Pakse - Departure

Free for the last-minute shopping before taking the departure flight

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We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision.

Check below our detailed tips & guide for every places to visit in Laos, recommendation regarding the inclusion in each theme you prefer, and what you can do based on the time frame you have.

PLACES TO VISIT IN Laos
Luang Prabang
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The ancient capital of Lane Xang Kingdom

Vang Vieng
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Vientiane
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The ancient capital of Lane Xang Kingdom

4000 Islands
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Phonsavan
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Nong Khiaw
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Laos PLANS BY TRAVEL THEME
Family
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The combination of fun and educational activities

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Explore every corners of the destination on two wheels

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Unique experience combined with top-notch services

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Easy excursions combined with unique experience making the long-lasting romantic memories

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Explore the least visited destinations and unknown experience on foot

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The combination of some must-see experience and the cruise tour along the mighty rivers

Unseen
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Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

Laos PLANS BY TIME FRAME
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Laos BLOG ARTICLES

On June 7th, 2012, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has eased travel recommendations for more than a hundred countries and territories, including Vietnam and Laos in the list of "safest to travel".

Time to travel now? We do not think so! Let's check more detail below.

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Bucolic Wat Phou (Wat Phu, Vat Phou, Vat Phu) sits in graceful decrepitude, and while it lacks the arresting enormity of Angkor in Cambodia, given its few visitors and more dramatic natural setting, these small Khmer ruins evoke a more soulful response. While some buildings are more than 1000 years old, most date from the 11th to 13th centuries. The site is divided into six terraces on three levels joined by a frangipani-bordered stairway ascending the mountain to the main shrine at the top.

Visit in the early morning for cooler temperatures (it gets really hot during the day, and on the lower levels there isn't any shade) and to capture the ruins in the best light. Make sure to grab a map at the entrance as there is little to no signage here.

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Buddhist Lent Day (Thailand Wan Khao Phansa, Laos Boun Khao Phansa) is the start of the three-month period during the rainy season when monks are required to remain in a particular place such as a monastery or temple grounds. Here, they will meditate, pray, study, and teach other young monks. In the past, monks were not even allowed to leave the temple, but today, most monks just refrain from traveling during this period. You will still see them out during the day.

It is said that monks started remaining immobile in a temple during this time because they wanted to avoid killing insects and harming farmland. Apparently, traveling monks were crossing through fields, thus destroying the crops of villagers and farmers. After catching wind of this, Buddha decided that in order to avoid damaging crops, hurting insects, or harming themselves during the rainy season, monks should remain in their temples during these three months.

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Initiated in 2006 by an NGO working for years with the elephants, this annual meeting of Laos Elephant Festival became one of the big festivals of Laos, followed by thousands of Laotians who move to attend a number of exercises, parades, and elections of the most emblematic animal of Laos. Fifty elephants are walking around for 3 days in the streets of the small provincial town. A large market takes place for the occasion with all kind of local (or Thai) products.

Home to the country’s largest pachyderm population, Xayabouly Province is the natural choice to host this growing event that also aims to raise awareness about the need to protect the endangered Asian elephant, which has played such a vital role in Lao people’s livelihoods, culture and heritage.

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The highlight of the year in Wat Phu Champasak is the three-day Buddhist festival, held on Magha Puja day on the full moon of the third lunar month, usually in February. The ceremonies culminate on the full-moon day with an early-morning offering of alms to monks, followed that evening by a candlelit wéean téean (circumambulation) of the lower shrines.

Throughout the three days of the festival Lao visitors climb around the hillside, stopping to pray and leave offerings of flowers and incense. The festival is more commercial than it once was, and for much of the time has an atmosphere somewhere between a kids' carnival and music festival. Events include kick-boxing matches, boat races, cockfights, comedy shows and plenty of music and dancing, as bands from as far away as Vientiane arrive. After dark the beer and lòw-lów (Lao whisky) flow freely and the atmosphere gets pretty rowdy.

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When the three months of Buddhist Lent come to an end in October, it is the perfect time to visit temples and celebrate the end of the rainy season. In Laos, this is called Boun Awk Phansa (Sometimes translated as Boun Ok Phansa or Boun Ock Phansa) and various religious and local traditions can be observed during this time. Moreover, there are plenty of festive activities are organized throughout the country with floating flower boats, candles, fireworks, lavishly decorated wats and an old-time carnival … all make for a magical Boun Awk Phansa festival in Vientiane, Laos. 

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