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Cycle Legs, South-East Asia - Leg 7
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Cycle Legs, South-East Asia - Leg 7

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 6 - 18 day(s)
Group Size: 5 - 30 people
Destination(s): Thailand   Laos  
Specialty Categories: Bicycle Touring  
Season: August - September
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 2080 Australian Dollar (AUD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 6700 Australian Dollar (AUD)

Note: Average daily distance 99 km.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1, 17th August: Bangkok. Arrive in Bangkok and make your way to our hotel where we will be having a welcome dinner for the group tonight. Tonight's meal and accommodation is included in your tour price. If you want to make the most of this great city you can come here a few days before the tour. There are some great bike rides around the city (day and night) that are well worth your time and we can point you to where you can organise those rides. Check out our Cycle Legs incentives program for early and/or multiple leg bookings to get additional free nights and meals before and after your Cycle Legs tours - Bangkok will be a great place to utilise those free bonuses.

Day 2, 18th August: Bangkok to Banna, 106 km. We are transferred out of the busy city of Bangkok by bus to Min Buri Primary School where our tour guide's children attend. We have some great interactions with the children have morning tea on the jetty above a catfish-filled canal.

They jump and snap at the food we drop in to them (or if you are brave eat out of your hand). The local teacher gives us a little history lesson about the area and then we jump on the bikes and head off on our journey through fascinating countryside, with rice fields, limestone mountains, and egrets everywhere feeding on the abundant stocks of rice.

Not long out of Bangkok you see the change to village life with the many inventive ways of moving goods and people around on the vehicles and roads. We finish day one at Banna Resort which is a beautiful place set next to the river. Facilities include swimming pool, Jetskis, Padddle Boats, Massage, Spa, Gym, Sauna, a golf driving range (into the water), and a crocodile farm up the road for those who are missing Australia!

Day 3, 19th August: Banna to Wang Muang, 87 km. Today is a really nice ride where you will see lots of haystacks, corn, and great little bridges over rivers and creeks. There is a nice shoulder and smooth surface as we make our way alongside the picturesque train-line north from Bangkok into the heart of Thailand, and speaking of trains, tonight one of our accommodations will be in an old converted rail carriage which is something a little special. All rooms with en suite and great views.

Day 4, 20th August: Wang Muang to Bamnet Marong, 119 km. Our day today winds between mountains and under railway bridges which is quite fascinating. You may even catch a glimpse of one of the mobile ATM machines on the back of a truck that will remind you how inventive the people are in this part of the world. Beautiful vertical mountain outcrops and gumtree plantations along with Brahman cattle being driven along the road by the farmer or grazing on the side of the road. We stay tonight at Thong Resort which does not refer to a dress code - just a nice simple, quaint place with cabins by the water.

Day 5, 21st August: Bamnet Narong to Chaiyaphum, 77 km. The road again takes us past the green jungles and many temples that the area is known for. Our stop is at Chaiyaphum where our hotel is one of the bigger places on the tour with all of the facilities that you could want including nightly karaoke!

Day 6, 22nd August: Chaiyaphum to Phu Phai Man, 141 km. Today is our longest day on leg 7 due to our diversion off the main road to an amazing monastery where you will see orange robes monks conduct their day to day life with a beautiful view of the valley from the top of the hill that the monastery is perched upon. The many Lotus lilies in the ponds and gumtrees sometimes produce an Australian-esque scene (but no kangaroos).

Often we are surrounded by big cliffs as we weave our way through landscape and we eventually come to a town called Phu Phai Man where millions of bats occupy the local caves and fly out every evening at dusk to darken the sky with a black cover. For dinner we have plenty of options not least of which is the local delicacy of sausages encased in the skin of pigs testicles. Certainly not a compulsory choice for your meal tonight! Our accommodation is something very special - each bungalow built individually by a local man with love and care put into each one. You will love it.

Day 7, 23rd August: Phu Phai Man to Loei, 125 km. Beautiful scenery very similar to the Grampians in Victoria Australia besides the added visuals of rice fields, temples and buddas. Look out for chickens crossing the road (I'm serious - that isn't a joke). Rubber tree plantations and big cliffs are amongst the terrific scenery that continues on this day of the ride. Loei is quite a big town and we have our hotel in the centre of it. Here we are excited to see a coffee house and bakery which brings a welcome familiarity to the diet.

Day 8, 24th August: Loei to PAk Chom, 91 km. Today we meet the mighty Mekong River which is at some points 1km wide and the river will become our companion for the next 300km as we head north. The people are friendly and you will notice that the vehicles are very courteous to riders and other traffic on the road. This is an adventure like no other and this leg is a cyclists dream. On days like this it will just hit you as to how special it is what you are doing. Rimnam Resort is right on the Mekong and you can just sit back and soak up the atmosphere.

Day 9, 25th August: Pak Chom to Si Chiang Mai, 104 km. This is our last full day in Thailand before we head into Laos and we say good-bye to the lovely little Thai villages that we pass through, the elevated houses, Thai markets, children and tooting car horns to the spirits at the temple shrines on the peaks of many hills. Our overnight stop is in Si Chiang Mai and again we stay right next to the Mekong River in some very nice accommodation.

Day 10, 26th August: Si Chiang Mai, Thailand to Vientiane, Laos, 97 km. Today we pass over the border as we cross the Mekong and make our way to the capital city of Laos, Vientiane. Apart from the stunning beauty of the city we also have located another bakery and a Scandinavian coffee shop for our riders. Here we say 'Sabai-dee' (hello) to our great Laos Tour guides Chit and Karm who will be looking after us on the end of this leg and further on to the Chinese border on leg 8. Our accommodation is another beautiful place tonight.

Day 11, 27th August: Vientiane (Rest day). Take a long-boat ride or a cruise on the Mekong River, or grab a hot chocolate at the coffee shop. There are many ways to fill in your rest day today. This delightfully friendly capital, studded with crumbling French mansions, bougainvillea-blooming streets and steaming noodle stalls, is a city but has more of a big town-feel. Its travellers' enclave is based around Nam Phu, the Mekong riverside and Setthariat and Samsenthai streets.

Full of things to see, from Buddha Park to the Morning market and an impossibly rich selection of international cuisine - most pointedly French - you'll find yourself slowly won over by the easy charms of this evolving backwater. Sample its excellent food and enjoy a Beer Lao at sunset by the river to make the most of your day off. Our rest day is also the start/finish point for our 'short option' tours. See our website for more details.

Day 12, 28th August: Vientiane to Thalad Nam Ngum, 92 km. Along the roadside you will see lots of ducks, chooks, roosters, cows, buffalo, goats, dogs, people, children, and all manner of things. The road is a hive of village activity. We leave the Mekong today and make our way to Thalad Nam Ngum Reservoir and make a diversion to our accommodation which is an amazing place with timber
bungalows perched on a steep hill overlooking a massive lake. We will be taking the bus up the hill but you will be free to ride it if you still have the legs at the end of the day to push up the last 5km.

Day 13, 29th August: Thalad Nam Ngum to Muang Vangviang, 105 km. Again you can head off on your bike from our accommodation or start the ride down at the bottom of the 5km hill after we take you down on the bus. This day's ride is breathtakingly beautiful. The villages, mountains, people, animals, and buildings are amazing and there is very little traffic. Primitive shacks are scattered amongst the landscape with men and women carrying loads on their backs hanging from their forehead and children play all manner of games in the street. Accommodation is overlooking the river.

Day 14, 30th August: Muang Vanviang to Muang Kasi, 59 km. Today is our shortest day with a 59km jaunt to Muang Kasi. Young boys carry machetes in their pouch for cutting corn and going out to gather food for the evening meals. Babies hold on to their mothers with support from just a thin sash of material as there are no prams or strollers here - the family share the load of the young children between them all with boys and girls carrying their younger siblings or a load of wood or whatever needs to be transported. Wild pigs, monkey and deer peak out from the jungle to watch us go by on the roads that are funded by the Chinese government. Here we are getting into the remote countryside of this amazing place and our simple guesthouse is a reflection of that.

Day 15, 31st August: Muang Kasi to Kiewka Cham, 95 km. Rubber plantations are dotted along these mountain ranges and the local villagers utilise charcoal in place of electricity and gas in many cases. You will also see the manufacture of charcoal as one of the local enterprises. Village life is seen here in its fullest. Many houses are the same in each village because the same people build them all - not for money but because they are the people in the village that can build houses. They are paid in return by the rest of the villagers who have other talents and resources.

Day 16, 1st September: Luang Prabang. We head for home today and there are very few vehicles at all sharing the road. We do however share the road and locality with the local hill-tribe 'highlanders' people whose descendants are from Mongolia and have kept the brightly coloured clothes and robes from that part of the world. By this time you will love the villages and beautiful mountain riding that is a very similar visual to Alpe d'Huez in France.

Luang Prabang itself is one of our favourite places on the entire route with classic French architecture, and a huge temple that overlooks the city with great views (and lots of steps up to get there). Our 200-year old hotel is overlooking the Mekong River which we have now met up with again. The hotel restaurant sits on the banks of the Mekong and what better way to finish off this leg than to sit back and enjoy our farewell dinner here at the restaurant and wander down to the famous night markets. Congratulations - what a ride!

Day 17, 2nd September: Luang Prabang. Breakfast at the hotel then off to the airport for those heading home. Check out our Cycle Legs incentives program for early and/or multiple leg bookings to get additional free nights and meals before and after your Cycle Legs tours - Luang Prabang will be a great place to utilise those free bonuses.

Notes:
Airfare is not included in the tour price.

All of our Cycle Legs Southeast Asia rides are fully supported cycling holidays and include:
- Daily cyclist-sized breakfasts
- Morning teas on the ride
- All lunches (except rest day)
- Afternoon teas on the ride
- All dinners (except rest day)
- Great accommodation including one night pre and post tour
- The safety and assurance of touring with a proud Australian bicycle tour company with a 14 year history of great rides
- Phil and Susan McDonald, company owner-operators, on tour with you
- Phil rides, advises and escorts cyclists through the entire tour
- Susan oversees food and accommodation to ensure that it is to the company standard
- Great local guides
- Daily luggage transfer
- Access to our bike mechanic
- Support vehicle for non-riding partners or those that only wish to cycle some of the distance.

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