Back roads Vietnam Laos
This tour combines some of the best parts of our Vietnam and Laos Tours. We start in Hanoi and end of tour in Luang Prabang. The premier destination in North Vietnam, then cycling over 1200 meter high Tram Tau Pass. we’ll ride through a land still untouched by the modern world. Continuing on, we’ll climb the region’s 1,350 m mountain pass into the land known by the local Hmong people . The subsequent exciting descent also offers outstanding sceneries through local tea plantations, tribal communities and vibrant countryside. We’ll cycle into the picturesque Black River , through the surrounding hills of PhuYen .Leaving MaiChau, we’ll bike into Laos. Agrarian local life and untamed topography means that most of the population lives in bamboo huts that cling to the sides of scarred, limestone hillsides. We’ll finish our bicycle trip in atmospheric Luang Prabang.
A true mountain bike expedition
Day 1: Hanoi arrival
Pickup in airport transfer to Hotel, free time. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi –SongThao-Yen Bai (+-55km)
A ride down other side of the spectacular Red river side, plenty of time to stop and take pictures of the local landscape. Arrive in SongThao, time for lunch before biking to Yen Bai. Overnight in YenBai. ( B,L)
Day 3: Yen Bai- Nghia Lo (+-65km)
A 70 km ride down other side of the spectacular Khe thang Valley provides plenty of time to stop and take pictures of the local sights in tea hill, rice field . Arrive in Nghia Lo .Overnight in YenBai hotel.(B,L, )
Day 4: Nghia Lo – BacYen (+-90km)
We will cycle through undulating road before we finally end the day in Phu Yen. It sits on a mountain ridge overlooking the Red and Black River and is home to the Thai, Nung, H’mong, La Ha and Ma peoples. Overnight in Phu Yen .(B,L)
Day 5: BacYen- Moc Chau.
Breakfast in hotel and starting ride down to Mu Cang Chai – Tu Le through valleys of old growth forest, tea plantations and rice paddies. After 90 km we arrived Tu le . Overnight in Tu Le local Hotel (B,L)
Day 6: Moc Chau-Mai Chau (+-95km)
This is a scenic lightly traveled road to bustling Odomxai. Odomxai seems to be undergoing a renaissance. Lots of construction and activity in the town these days. They have an airport here also (with less than daily service). We stay at the nicest place in town. (B,L)
Day 7:Mai Chau- Naneo border ( +-75km)
This morning, we make a run for the border by bus on National Highway 15 through Pu Luong and and Pu Ha Nature preserves to beat the 11:00AM border closing (about 70 miles). (B,L)
Day 8: Nameo border – Sam Neua ( +-105km)
After crossing into Laos, obtaining visas and meeting up with crew, begin riding on national route 217 , cycling uphill towards Vieng Xai on paved roads under some of the most picturesque karst scenery in Laos, passing hilltribe villages in the area, including Thai Dam, Thai Dang, Meuy, and Kmu. Picnic lunch en route.
After lunch, continued riding to Vieng Xai. After arrival, freshen up before driving outside of the town to explore a nearby network of hundreds of caves. The caves, both natural and artificial, were developed and used by Pathet Lao in Vieng Xai during the Vietnam war, including Khayson Cave, the office and residence of the Pathet Lao chief during the war period, and Souphanouvong Cave, also called Red Prince Cave, the residence of royal Prince Souphanouvong at one time. Then, onto Nouhak Cave, named for Nouhak Phoumsavang, who served as Lao PDR
Day 9:Sam Neua- Vieng Thiong (B,L )
After sunrise breakfast, departing for an epic day’s journey over the “Laotian Alps” to Vieng Thong, cycling over the massive 4,000+ foot Phou Lao and Phou Leuy mountain passes, where we’ll spy the 2,062 meter peak of Phou Leuy and 2,079 meter Phou Pan-Cnai in the distance. From Vieng Xai, we continue riding on national highway 6 to Nam Noen (64.5 miles and about 4,500 feet) of climbing. En route, pausing to explore Hing Tang (Suan Hin), a man-made formation of vertical stones that may be related to those on the Plain of Jars. At Nam Noen, we’ll turn northwest (right) on route 1 towards Vien Thong, a hilly 36 miles way. After arrival in Vien Thong, walking to nearby hot springs to soak worn legs before exploring the small town set on the Nam Khan River and largely inhabited by a collection of hill tribes particularly Hmong and “lowland” Lao. Before dinner, we’ll stroll to neaby hot springs to soak our legs. Overnight at simple guesthouse.
Day 10: Vieng Thiong- Nong khia
Our longest, most difficult day. Another early sunrise departure after breakfast (optional, but recommended van shuttle to ay least top of the first climb). National route No 1c between Vieng Thong and Nong Khiaw passes through beautiful scenery with lush green mountains, even in the drier season when we are passing through.
After departing Vien Thong, cycling on flats until reaching our first challenge, a 2,400 foot climb, before descending to a winding river valley road for about 12 miles until we reach our next climb of about 2,100 feet, plummeting down to Vieng Kham at mile 86 (at 1,200 feet elevation). After a third climb of 900 feet, the rest of the day is over the undulating hills on a paved, good-condition side road heading northwest to Nong Muang, a picturesque northern outpost being discovered by backpackers. (B,L)
Day 11; Nong kia- LuangPrabang
On to the historic and enchanting city of Luang Prabang. We follow the banks of the Mekong before entering the city proper. It’s also possible, with advance planning, to bike the 20k in the opposite direction to Nong Khiaw and then take a boat down the Nam Ou .River. This will take you right by the Pak Ou caves at the confluence of the Nam Ou and Mekong Rivers. (B,L)
Today is a rest day in Luang Prabang. Luang Prabang is encircled by mountains and situated on the banks of the Mekong where it meets the Nam Khan river. There is a lot to see in this World Heritage Town: Temples, Monasteries, the Royal Palace and French Colonial Architecture as well as the beautiful falls outside of town. It’s worthwhile to get up and observe the monks collecting alms at 6 am (B,L)
Day 13: Luang Prabang departure:
Free time until transfer to airport for departure flight. (B)
|Group Size||private tour ( 2people )||Group tour|
Note: Prices are based per person, double occupancy, with a separate cost for solo travelers. If you are traveling in a group but prefer single accommodations, a single supplement fee applies. Triple accommodations are not available in many of the destinations we visit.
Best Time to go
From October to May,
|English speaking local guide|
|Accommodations in hotels , home stays and local hotel around trip as mention|
|Meals as mention with B= breakfast, L= Lunch, D= dinner|
|Sightseeing and activities as noted in the itinerary|
|Additional guides where necessary|
|Entrance fees and permits|
International airfare; meals not noted on itinerary; Vietnam visa; insurance other than basic medical ; optional tipping to leader, guides and local staff; excess baggage charges; international airport taxes; cost of medical immunizations; items of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).