Two days in the seaside resort near Bangkok, three days in Khmer country along Cambodian border, six days along Mekong river, a day in Vientianne, three days in the mountains of Loei and Khao Yai and finally a day and half in Bangkok for shopping. We shall get our Laos visas at the border (only passport required).
Days 1-2: (The Jomtien Beach near Pattaya-distance to airport 150 km) - Your fellow travelers will be arriving at all times from around the world today, so there are no arranged activities for the daytime. Our taxi driver will pick you up at Bangkok Airport. We will hold a meeting in the evening when everyone arrives. Your leader will leave a note at reception explaining this. On the morning of Day 2 we recommend you to relax at the pool or the sand beach opposite the hotel to get rid of jet-lag. Later you can do some shopping particularly items you need on the tour. It is possible to buy most of the basics any day in 7-Eleven shops on the way. After lunch motorcycles will be delivered - so you can go for an afternoon ride and pack your things into panniers.
Days 3-4: (Khmer country and ancient temples of Phanom Rung) - Your suitcases with items not needed will be deposited at the hotel. After the breakfast we shall ride east to Cambodian border. This is one of the least populated areas of Thailand because it was until recently part of Cambodia. Good winding roads with hardly any traffic. At one stage the road disappears under the surface of the lake during the rainy season. We will have to take detour. There is a beautiful scenery all the way to Aranyaprathet (hotel) where we shall arrive after 290 kilometers of ride. You can join the tour leader for a meal on the night market and if the mood is right visit some Thai karaoke.
Day 4 involves longer ride but you will be awarded with some great panoramic views from Khao Phanom Rung where there are the most impressing temples from Angkor Wat period in Thailand. Its main tower surrounded by the enclosure gallery is built according to a well developed plan. In fact, in the domain of the ancient Khmer civilization Prasat Hin Phanom Rung is the only religious monument constructed on a natural mountain-vulcano. From here road winds down to the plain that extends through mainly Khmer (Cambodian) language spoken area. Rice paddies, water buffaloes - typical Thai rural life. After 390 kilometers we will arrive at Ubon Ratchatani (hotel).
Days 5-6: (Mekong river, prehistoric paintings, visit to Laos and river rapids) - Leaving Ubon behind (as the locals call the city) we will have a short ride of 90 kilometers ahead to get to Khong Chiam (bungalow hotel) where you will get the first glimpse of Mekong river. On the way we shall stop at the river Mun rapids. In Khong Chiam we will board a boat and take 5 hours trip with several stops. We shall stop at the cliffs above Mekong and take a walk through bamboo woods to prehistoric rock paintings. We shall stop in Laos village for some refreshments/shopping (if you are after Chinese medicines like tiger teeth and pickled cobra snakes). After an exhausting day it will be pleasant to relax on the terrace restaurant on the banks of Mekong and enjoy tranquility of the place.
After the breakfast on Day 6 we shall ride north along the river. There are unusual rock formations along the way to Mukdahan where we shall stop in the market (big variety of dried fruits, cashew nuts and similar). Further north we shall visit the "pilgrimage" Buddhist temple of Isaan - That Phanom with tallest pagoda in region. After 310 kilometers of ride we arrive at Nakhon Phanom (hotel) - that used to be the biggest American air-force base during the Vietnam war. From Nakhon Phanom there is only 60 kilometers to Vietnam and this narrow strip used to be the most bombed part of Ho Shi Mingh trail.
Days 7-8: (Jet Si waterfalls, Wat Phutok and Nong Khai) - In the morning we shall ride to Jet Si waterfalls which are most magnificent during the rainy season. We shall take a walk along the stream (Jet Si means seven levels of waterfalls) to the top level. After lunch we shall climb thousands of steps and bamboo bridges to get to he top of 300 m high rock where there is a Buddhist forest temple Phutok. A panoramic view will repay the effort. Watch your backpacks because the monkeys there are famous for stealing. A short ride to Bung Kan (hotel) and a well deserved dinner after 260 kilometers ride.
On the day 8 we have a short ride - 140 kilometers to Nong Khai (hotel and laundry). On the way we shall stop at Wat Ahorn, the narrowest point on Mekong river with two Buddhist temples on the rock on each side of the river. We shall arrive in the to Nong Khai around mid-day giving everybody a chance to sort out laundry, visit some Buddhist temples on the banks of the river or get a bargain in the Indochina market. Dinner on the banks of the Mekong overlooking Laos is a must.
Day 9 -10: (Vientianne-the capital of Laos and mountainous Loei province) - Today we travel to the Capital of Laos, Vientianne. At Nong Khai there is the only bridge across Mekong river built ten years ago. We will cross the bridge to Laos side where we will sort out all necessary visa formalities and after we will take a tuk - tuk taxi for 30 kilometers ride to Vientiannne. Also called City of the Moon it is one of the classic Indochina cities, it conjures up images of exotic Eurasia, with its intriguing mix of Thai, French and Soviet influences. Very unusual items are for sale on the markets and you can enjoy a delicious French baguette with pate. Wide boulevards, tree-lined streets and sidewalk cafes impart a timeless atmosphere.
We shall return to Thailand in the evening. On Day 10 we leave Nong Khai but continue to ride along Mekong river rapids for 200 kilometers into Loei mountains. This is not northern most area of Thailand but it is the coldest. With mountains up to 2000 meters high that is the only place where it snows in the winter. In the valleys it still remains hot during the day (around 28 degrees Celsius). At Chiang Kan we leave Mekong and arrive at Loei (bungalow hotel) after 290 kilometers of ride.
Days 11-12: (Loei mountains and tropical rainforests of Khao Yai) - Today we have another long but scenic drive (370 kilometers). In the morning we will stop at old witches tooth as locals call the leaning mountain rock and Chayapoum in the afternoon before arriving at Pak Chong (hotel). On Day 12 after the breakfast we shall ride to the Khao Yai mountain range (1000-1300 meters above sea) and take a walk through the jungles of this world's No 7 national park. There will be a good chance to see monkeys, hornbills and gaur, less chance to see wild elephants or tigers. You can refresh under the waterfalls (the jump in The Beach - movie). Around sunset and after 305 kilometers we shall arrive back at Jomtien Beach (hotel).
Days 13-14: (Jomtien beach and Bangkok) - Bikes are collected in the morning and all day is yours. If you are tired after the tour you can relax by the pool or on the beach, if not you can do some local sightseeing and shopping. Usually the group has a last farewell dinner this day. On the day 14 a taxi will pick you up in the morning to take you to your next destination-Bangkok hotel. Bangkok has many sights to see and it is true shopping Mecca.
Day 15: (Bangkok-flight departure) - Depending on your flight departure you can arrange the taxi to the airport with the hotel reception. Most of the flights to Europe are late at night giving you an extra day in Bangkok. Check out time from the room is at noon but you can make your own arrangements to check out later or can simply deposit your luggage at the reception for the day.
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