A family friendly bike tour of Laos
A great introduction for the whole family to Northern Laos, touring by bicycle and boat. Explore beautiful heritage listed Luang Prabang and peaceful Nong Khiaw with plenty of fun activities along the journey to keep everyone engaged.
This family bike tour runs from Luang Prabang and returns.
Luang Prabang is a true gem of Southeast Asia, a joy to explore by bike and a great place for kids to get a taste of the far east. On this tour we’ll get up close to elephants, see how silk is made, learn to cook a delicious Lao meal and cruise the Mekong River, in addition to visiting the wonderful UNESCO old town of Luang Prabang itself. Leaving town we head north through some of the most stunning scenery in all of Southeast Asia, for a visit to sleepy Nong Khiaw set on the banks of the Ou River.
With a good mixture of biking and various other activities, this tour is designed to form a fun and active component of your journey in the region.
Please Note - This tour is intended for families only. It is possible for us to schedule a private session of the same tour for adults, on request, at a nominal surcharge.
5 days duration
133 km distance
Trip Features & Tour Inclusions
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For our Family Tours in Laos we provide perfectly maintained GT, Merida or Trek bikes in all sizes for all ages. We have tag-along bikes for 4-6 year olds and child seats for younger kids. Helmets are supplied and we have a strong emphasis on safety.
Kids 12 years and under get a 20% discount. Kids 12 and under sharing a room with parents or 2 other siblings get a 30% discount.
The hotels we use are a great, and sometimes unexpected, part of this tour, with stylish and comfortable surroundings. All are exceptionally clean and well run and come with air-conditioning and a private bathroom.
An experienced English speaking, local leader will host you on this trip who is well spoken, very well informed, and charming. Our leaders are often cited as being the main highlight of the tour. We use local leaders who have a passion for their country and are always well informed on topics ranging from history, politics, cuisine and importantly local customs and cultures. Our leaders will take pride in introducing you to every aspect of their country and will help you to connect with the villagers you meet along the way.
For groups of 5+ people a bike mechanic will join the group. Whilst not a master of linguistics, our technical team always make an effort to form a bond with the group and provide not just mechanical support, but additional encouragement to those who may find themselves at the back of the group. Our drivers support the group by ensuring that the freshest fruit and tastiest snacks are picked up along the way.
Kids are well catered for on Grasshopper tours with a range of bike options to choose from. We have quality children's frames ranging down to XX-Small for those comfortable on a bike. For the less experienced tag-alongs are available that hook to the rear of an adult bike and allow kids to pedal along if they want, and for the youngest kids we have children's seats, so no one misses out on the fun.
An air conditioned backup support vehicle is available for tired riders and to carry your luggage.
Amazing Lao meals are included throughout the tour. Lao food is an adventure in itself. The emphasis is on freshness and the use of a well balanced mix of vegetables. Meat is eaten not as the centre piece of a meal, but in harmony with the rest of the ingredients. Fish plays a big part in the Luang Prabang diet, while mountain dwellers tend to eat more root vegetables and poultry. In any case, there is something for everyone. Included meals are listed in the day by day itinerary, and drinking water is always included with meals. Any soft or alcoholic drinks are not included and will be at your own expense.
Energy bars and local snacks are provided to keep your energy levels up for the riding, and clean water is always available to keep you well hydrated.
Take It Home
A beautiful souvenir Grasshopper cycling jersey is yours to wear and take home. We also provide a Grasshopper drink bottle as an extra memento.
3 to 14
This tour is guaranteed for a minimum of just 3 travellers. And we limit the group size to only 14 travellers so that you get all the attention you want in an intimate group.
for Little Laos Family Adventure
Cycle Luang Prabang & Cooking Class
We start this tour taking to the bikes for an introduction to the layout, history and architecture of this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage old town. We'll walk through some of the smaller alleys, transformed into a small market in the mornings, where your guide will explain all the weird and wonderful items on sale. Our meanderings then take us to Luang Prabang’s oldest coffee shop for a drink. Back on the bikes we ride past two important local temples following an off-road track that runs alongside the Mekong River, encountering small workshops along the way that produce decorative paper and pictures. The morning ends with a boat trip downstream to Ock Pop Tok, where we’ll learn about the cycle of silk production from worm to scarf, and everything in between. A tasty lunch tops off a great morning's adventure. Arriving back at your hotel you will have time to freshen up before we join in a cooking class in the jungle garden of Tamarind Restaurant. Here we learn about the ingredients we will be using before preparing a traditional Lao dinner with the chef’s guidance. Tonight's delicious meal will be composed of the fruits of our labours!
(Due to availability the cooking class is swapped around with the activities on day two if it falls on a Sunday)
Cycle to Kuang Sii Falls & Forest Trek
28km cycling & 2hr trek
Following breakfast we head out on a pleasant ride to the Kuang Sii Waterfall, a relatively easy cycle with just two sustained hills on a paved surface. We pass through some lovely villages and up through teak plantations with the Mekong on our right. Along the route we'll stop at Ou village to see traditional rice wine production before continuing on to our favourite waterfall. Reaching the falls late morning, after visiting the inquisitive Asiatic black bears at the ‘Free the Bears’ enclosure, there will be some time for a swim in the refreshing water before lunch. After some time to digest our meal we'll head off for a relatively easy 2 hour walk, climbing up through the lush forest surrounding the waterfall then along a forested ridge to a Hmong Village where our support vehicle awaits. On the drive back to Luang Prabang we stop to visit a rarely seen waterfall that is treasured by locals. Returning back to the hotel in Luang Prabang the afternoon is then yours to relax and enjoy this lovely town. Meals: BLD
Cycle to the Elephant Camp
This morning we have the option of a very early rise to watch the iconic Laotian spectacle of hundreds of orange clad monks proceeding through the town's streets to collect alms from local people. When the monks have passed, we return to the hotel for a leisurely breakfast and maybe a morning swim before we check out and begin our ride to the Elephant Camp. Here elephants that used to work in the logging industry have been rescued and rehabilitated and now enjoy a well-deserved retirement in this beautiful dense jungle setting. We’ll receive basic training from the “mahout” (elephant handler) on how to care for these beautiful creatures before taking a fun ride on the back of one. This evening we enjoy a delicious dinner at the Elephant Lodge and spend the night in a charming bungalow, accompanied by the sounds of the jungle outside. Meals: BLD
Transfer and cycle to Nong Khiaw
After breakfast, it's back on the elephants with buckets and giant brushes in hand to take our new friends for a bath in the river, which always makes for a comical spectacle. Do not expect to stay dry! We then transfer by vehicle to Pakmong where we jump on the bikes again to explore the countryside along quiet meandering roads dotted with villages. Our route comes down into a valley where it follows, then intersecsts, with the course of the Nam Ou River. This is where we roll into today’s destination, the scenic village of Nong Khiaw, a picturesque location set on the river banks and surrounded by towering limestone karst scenery. Here we check into our lovely bungalows and enjoy a tasty dinner. Meals: BLD
Boat, Cycle & Transfer to Luang Prabang
We begin today with a late morning rendezvous with our boat that will guide us pleasantly downstream on the Nam Ou river towards the recently constructed Ou River Dam. We’ll transfer from here for a visit to the Pak Ou Caves. The caves are a mystical pilgrimage site perched above the Mekong River, packed with more than 3,000 Buddha images, some inlaid with semiprecious stones. That these remain undisturbed in this remote site in one of the world's poorest countries is a testament to the devotion of the people.
Leaving the cave we’ll enjoy our final ride together, through the countryside on dirt roads back towards Luang Prabung. This is a quiet road with small villages set quite close. After 30km or so, we board the support vehicle and transfer along the busier highway back to Luang Prabang where we’ll say our fond farewells. Our team can assist with checking you into your next hotel from here, or help arrange your onward departure.
What's the Riding Like?
Some hilly terrain
5 days riding
The roads on this ride are all paved, although in places this can be damaged and may have reverted to hard packed dirt, but there is no "off-road" riding. We aim for secondary roads wherever possible, but given that Laos doesn't have many primary ones to start with, we are somewhat limited in that regard. We place a strong emphasis on safety and the low number of vehicles on the road, which is consistent with the country's low population, makes cycling in Laos a relaxing experience. There is always a support vehicle on hand to give you a lift if you need a break from the riding.
Coolest time: Nov-Mar
Wettest time: May-Sep
Our favourite: Jun-Aug
The coolest time of year is from November to March with temperatures rising to a peak in April and May. With the arrival of the rains in June temperatures drop, with rain falling mainly in the afternoons in short, heavy showers. September is the wettest month, although tropical showers can still occur into October. November brings a return to drier weather.
One of the greatest joys of cycling is the feeling of immediacy with the natural environment and scenery, of which Laos has plenty! Although the summer months are wet, this rain brings incredible clarity to the air, making those views even more spectacular and great for photographing. Also the odd shower is a nice way to cool down during a hot ascent...
Create Your Own Date:
Don't see the date for this tour to suite your schedule? No problem - create your own date. Chose the dates that you would like to travel and as long as you are happy to open the tour to other people joining we will charge the standard tour price - no markups!
1. You must have booked and paid your deposit for travel dates that are at least 3 months in the future. This just gives us time to promote the trip and find other people to join you.
2. Create Your Own Date for this tour applies for bookings of two or more people only. If you are a solo traveller we can do our best to get a group for the dates you choose but we cannot guarantee standard pricing until we achieve a minimum of 2 people.
3. This offer is subject to availability. In peak season we may not have the capability to add tour dates to our already busy schedule.
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