Laos is like a homemade rice wine made in villages. We don’t recommend drinking it while biking, but it represents the spirit of this trip: enjoyable and tasty, maybe causing a bit of soreness the next day.
On this trip, you’ll cycle through a mix of paths, from quiet roads to scenic routes along rivers and mountains. There are a few short uphill stretches, but the stunning views and charming Hmong village scenes make the effort worthwhile.
Most of the time, you’ll encounter gently rolling terrain, with some easy stretches along rivers. Daily distances are moderate. Besides biking, you’ll also explore by boat or on foot for added variety to your adventure.
This trip includes a mix of biking and other activities, giving you free afternoons to relax or explore as you like. Whether it’s unwinding or trying optional activities in town, you have the freedom to enjoy your surroundings at your own pace.

Highlights

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Itinerary ideas

  • 1

    We’ll pick you up and escort you to Vientiane Railway Station, where we’ll board a train to Muang Xai. Enjoy scenic mountain views on the journey. Upon reaching our peaceful resort by lunchtime, unpack and then bike to visit surrounding villages, rice fields, and a hilltop temple with panoramic views of Muang Xai. Explore the local market later on. Return to the resort for drinks, dinner, and the opportunity to socialize with fellow travelers.

  • 2

    We start biking right after breakfast. We ride on a rough road over the hills, then switch to a smooth road that goes toward the Nam Ou River, though we won’t quite get there. The ride is pretty, with hills and a small river. We’ll cross some shallow streams, so expect to get a little wet! At kilometer 47, you can choose to stop biking for the day. We’ll then take a ride to Muanglar for a local lunch, and you can relax at the resort for the afternoon. There are different things you can do there like massages and yoga. If you still have energy, there’s an extra 23 kilometers of biking you can do, but we’ll decide as a group. This part of the ride ends at a market where we might see people from hill tribes selling things. We’ll try some snacks there.

  • 3

    After breakfast, we’ll drive 30 minutes to where our hike begins. We’ll explore the beautiful area, crossing streams and climbing up into the hills around the resort. Along the way, we’ll visit several villages to see how the local people live. They often rely on subsistence farming, which means they grow just enough to live on, sometimes using slash-and-burn methods. We’ll return to the resort in time for lunch after a 1 hour and 40-minute drive. Then, you’ll have another free afternoon to relax and do whatever you like.

  • 4

    Begin your day with a morning bike ride through forests and alongside big, clear rivers in Muang Xai. Then, we’ll hop in a van for a ride to the small village of Pak Beng by the river. Here, we’ll spend the afternoon enjoying our unique accommodation. This lovely lodge overlooks the Mekong Elephant Park and is a great place to start exploring forest trails. If you’re interested in diving deeper into the local culture, you can join cooking lessons to learn about regional cuisine or watch a traditional dance performance by a local school.

  • 5

    Get ready to sail down the Mekong River to Luang Prabang! During our cruise, we’ll see glimpses of rural life along the river and villages in Laos. The journey takes most of the day, but it’s a relaxing experience. You can spot elephants on the riverbank, read a book, or chat with other travelers. As we approach Luang Prabang, we’ll visit the sacred Pak Ou caves, filled with thousands of Buddha relics left by pilgrims. Then, after about an hour, we’ll reach the city at sundown. We’ll check into our nice hotel, have some drinks, and get a briefing about the city. Later, we’ll have dinner together at a nearby restaurant, enjoying authentic and innovative dishes.

  • 6

    Today starts early as we head out in Luang Prabang to witness the Monks Alms ceremony, a colorful daily tradition. Visitors are welcome to watch or join in, following local customs. Your guide will ensure you know how to dress and behave respectfully.

    After the ceremony, we’ll return to the hotel for breakfast before starting our biking adventure. We’ll pedal to Wat Xieng Thong, a significant monastery, then visit a local market to learn about unique produce. We’ll stop for traditional Lao coffee before heading to a lesser-known temple and exploring ‘sa paper’ making and rice wine distillation.

    Next, we’ll take a boat trip along the Mekong to see traditional pottery and silk-making at Ock Pop Tock. We’ll have lunch together before you have the evening free to explore Luang Prabang’s diverse food scene, with recommendations from your guide.

     

     

  • 7

    Our last ride of the trip is a fun one! We start by taking a ferry across the Mekong River. Then, we ride on a paved road to a riverside village where we learn about making rice wine. After that, we hop on a local fishing boat to cross back to the other side of the river.

    Next, we tackle a steep but short hill to reach Kuang Si Waterfall. You’ve probably heard about it, but swimming in its cool, aqua-blue waters is truly special. After a refreshing dip, we can visit the Free the Bears enclosure to see these playful creatures trying to get their lunch. Then, we’ll enjoy a bite to eat, maybe some barbecued river fish, before riding back into town on the rolling road.

    Our last afternoon and evening together will be filled with delicious food, a familiar treat by now.

     

     

  • 8

    Our tour ends in Luang Prabang after breakfast. If you’re catching a flight, we’ll arrange a car to take you to the airport. If not, your guide can help you get to wherever you need to go.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

See our Laos Travel Guide for more info.

Follow this link for general travel information about Laos.

Read about Holly’s experience in Landscapes of Laos.

Multi-day Cycling Tours Frequently Asked Questions

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