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Laos and Thailand Biking and Cultural Tour

offered by supplier M20818 (read about supplier)

Key Information:
Tour Duration: 14 day(s)
Group Size: 5 - 16 people
Destination(s): Laos   Thailand  
Specialty Categories: Bicycle Touring   Cultural Journey  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 1595 Pound Sterling (GBP)
Maximum Per Person Price: 1595 Pound Sterling (GBP)

Our cycling begins in Chiang Saen taking us through hill tribe villages and lush jungle scenery towards Laos. Crossing the border we take a boat trip on the Mighty Mekong river to Pak Beng. Back on the bikes we vist Ban Nalay village where you will be welcomed with a traditional Baci Ceremony. A few days of roller coaster hills and magnificent scenery take us to the holy caves at Pak Ou one of the most religious sites in Laos. Located at the confluence of the Nam Ou and Mekong rivers, the caves date back for thousands of years and house over 4,000 Budda statues. From here you can either cycle on or take a slow boat to World Herigate town Luang Prabang. We have a rest day here with time to enjoy the historic town and relax in beautiful surroundings. Now rested we face the ultimate challenge of the trip with a monster day of climbing to Kiu Kacham. From here we continue cycling towards Vientiane passing small fishing villages. Our holiday ends in Vientiane, the relaxed capital city of Laos.

Itinerary:
Day 1: Arrive Chiang Rai.
On arrival in Chiang Rai you will be transferred to your hotel. This afternoon you'll have time to explore this laid back town and the surrounding areas. Attractions include the Hill Tribe Museum and Education Centre, several beautiful Wats, Mae Nam Kok River, and a night market with free Northern Thai music and dance performances. At 6 pm we will have a group briefing.

Day 2: Chiang Rai to Chiang Khong.
After an early breakfast we transfer to Chiang Saen where our cycle tour begins. Following the Mekong river we ride through lush jungle passing picturesque hill tribe villages where you will see simple bamboo huts on stilts. Under the huts women can often be seen weaving and children play alongside chickens and pigs. We arrive at Chiang Khong the border crossing point from Thailand into Laos. (Approximate cost of Laos visa 40 US).

Day 3: Chiang Khong to Pakbeng.
This morning we take a memorable boat journey on the mighty Mekong River to Pakbeng, surrounded by mist covered mountains. This is a wonderful way to understand the importance of the Mekong to the people living in traditional villages that we pass along the way.

Day 4: Pakbeng to Ban Nalay.
After breakfast we ride along newly sealed roads through some fascinating villages, where excited children shout "Sabaai-dii, Sabaai-dii" (the Lao 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 stop in Ban Faen (our guide's village) for lunch and then visit to the school that was built with funds donated by redspokes cyclists, before finishing the day at our new homestay at Ban Nalay.

Day 5: Ban Nalay to Oudom Xay.
Our route continues along this roller coaster road to Oudom Xay passing through many hill tribe villages that still retain their age-old cultural traditions. Each is recognisably distinct from the other as can be seen in the traditional dress unique to every village. Bunches of bamboo shoots are laid out by the road along with dried chilies for sale to the odd passing truck load of people. Modern life with all its trappings is still a long way off.

Day 6: Udom Xay to Pak Mong.
An unforgettable day as we go deep into the rich jungle, a tough climb at the start, then rolling hills with magnificent scenery before an exhilarating 18 miles (29 km) Descent to Pak Mong. A hard day.

Day 7: Pak Mong to Luang Prabang.
Today we are treated to good, mainly flat roads. 25km short of Luang Prabang, you have the option of visiting the holy caves at Pak Ou, where we will find an ancient collection of thousands of precious Buddha statues. From here you can opt to cycle on or take a slow boat to Luang Prabang for around 20$ the exact price of the boat will depend on how many people take this option.

Day 8: Luang Prabang.
Rest day in beautiful Luang Prabang, encircled by mountains and situated on the banks of the Mekong at its confluence with the Nam Khan river. You are free to explore this delightful World Heritage town with 32 historic temples, ancient monasteries, the magnificent Royal Palace Museum and its French Colonial architecture. This is a place to chill out and enjoy the food, the peaceful surroundings and the people.

Day 9: Luang Prabang to Kiu Kachan.
The big one, the ultimate challenge of the trip! After a pleasant start with a fairly easy 12 miles (20 km) we begin the first of two long ascents (support vehicle on hand) a 10 mile (16km) climb passing a spectacular scenery of limestone peaks, some of which are the highest in South East Asia. We than have a descent of 9 miles (15 km) before the second monster climb of 14 miles (24 km) before we arrive in Kiu Kachan.

Day 10: Kiu Kachan to Kasi.
This morning begins with another challenging cycle, covering the first 30 miles (50 km) of a roller coaster ride. We stop for a well deserved lunch at Nung Phu Khun before continuing with a spectacular 22 mile (38 km) descent, passing dramatic views of craggy limestone mountains. The scents of jasmine and lotus blossom drift through the clear air from the rich jungle flora. We end our day coming off the mountains at Kasi.

Day 11: Kasi to Vang Vieng.
Today is an easier day covering 48 miles (60 km) of gentle rolling hills to Vang Vieng. After lunch we have an option of a side trip to Tham Xang or Tham Hoi caves set in dramatic scenery on the banks of the Nam Song. Vang Vieng has recently become a destination for backpackers and is therefore a comfortable place with nice restaurants and guesthouses. Once we get there we can treat ourselves to some fruit milkshakes and pancakes, or have a Beer Lao and relax watching the sunset over the river behind stunning limestone pinnacles.

Day 12: Vang Vieng to Na Nam.
After a relatively gentle 14 miles (24 km) we reach the fishing village of Tha Heua where you can see all manner of salted fish being sold by the road. Here you have the option to take a 3 hour boat journey on the Ang Nam Ngum reservoir to Na Nam a small fishing village, passing many picturesque islands dotted along the way. Alternatively you can cycle the moderate 50 miles (84 km) along the road, climaxing in a steep 2 km climb before reaching our guesthouse at Na Nam.

Day 13: Na Nam to Vientiane.
Our last day of cycling starts with our last two short but hard climbs, before the road levels out for the 57 miles (95 km) all the way to Vientiane. Here the land is agricultural, passing paddy fields and more intensely farmed areas. As we near the Lao capital of Vientiane the roads, which until now have been relatively traffic free during our trip, start to become busier. We arrive at our guesthouse in the afternoon. We should have enough time to do any last minute shopping, then relax and celebrate the end of a great trip.

Day 14: Home.
Tour finishes, a transfer is offered to those flying back on the late morning flight to Bangkok.

Notes:
Airfare is not included in the tour price.

What's Included and what's not:
- All accommodation will be in hotels or guest houses
- We choose accommodation on the basis of comfort rather than luxury
- Our prices are based on sharing a twin room
- Single rooms are sometimes available at extra cost.
- Food: All food is provided on the tour on cycling days
- All transportation and local guides within Thailand and Laos are included
- International and local flights are not included in the tour costs.

Notes:
- Spending money depends on your taste for souvenirs, drinks etc. We estimate that £200 will be more than enough to cover the 16 day tour.
- Locally payable airport tax is around £5
- International tax is also £5
- Laos/Thailand visas are £20
- Flight from Bangkok to Chiang Rai around £55
- Flight from Vientiane to Bangkok around £85.

About This Supplier
Location: England
Joined InfoHub: Mar 2011

M20818 is a specialist company taking small groups of cyclists to spectacular, remote areas of the world. We offer a unique blend of physical challenges, cultural experiences and cycling camaraderie, at highly competitive prices. M20818 guides are experienced cyclists and tour leaders. Destinations include Laos,...

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