An unforgettable tour of Laos by bicycle
Cycle tour the jewel of Southeast Asia, past stunning karst mountains, alongside rivers and through remote hilltribe villages. This is our most comprehensive bike tour of Laos and an incredible way to discover the charm and beauty of this hidden gem.
This bike tour departs from Vientiane and concludes in Luang Prabang
For an even longer adventure this trip can be paired with our Mountains of Laos tour to explore the Plain of Jars and experience the challenging yet hugely rewarding mountain passes of this breathtaking country.
'Lao Lao' is a rice wine distilled locally in villages and while we don't suggest you consume it while cycling, it does give a good idea of this trip: fun and tasty with the potential for a little bit of pain the next day.
This trip's cycling offers wonderful variety as we ride along back roads and quiet highways, alongside rivers and past scenic limestone mountains. There are some short manageable climbs, but the stunning views and Hmong village scenery are ample rewards for the effort.
Most days you'll find yourself on undulating terrain, but there is a fair share of flat gentler pedaling along winding river roads and daily distances are moderate. When not exploring on the bikes we make use of boats or our own two-legs for some added variety to your adventure.
This trip offers a good mix of on and off-bike activities with a number of free afternoons to spend at your leisure, be it enjoying some well earned R&R or dealving deeper in to your new environment by exploring town or trying some optional suggested activities.
Peak Season Surcharge
For tours commencing from Dec 23 to Jan 3 there is a peak season surcharge of 15% on the price of this tour due to hotel rate increases at this time of year.
8 days duration
195 km distance
Trip Features & Tour Inclusions
What makes Grasshopper so special?
Find out how your next ride goes the extra mile.
Click on each icon below to see more...
Top quality, well maintained Cannondale CX3 mountain bikes in a full range of sizes are included in your tour. Handlebar bags for your personal possessions and a comfortable saddle are also provided, with a women's specific version available.
In Luang prabung there are several quality hotel options and we have selected a superb property that delivers on comfort quality and service. The area we are travel outside the city is not known for its luxurious accommodation, however you can always expect a clean bed in a well run hotel or guesthouse, with air-conditioning or fan (as the temperature dictates) 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.
An air conditioned backup support vehicle is always 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.
4 to 14
This tour is guaranteed for a minimum of just 4 travellers. And we limit the group size to only 14 travellers so that you get all the attention you want in an intimate group.
There is no surcharge for single travellers - we will match you with another same sex single traveller. If you want a single room there is a an optional upgrade that you can book.
for Lao Lao
Meet in Vientiane & Fly to Muang Xai
We'll meet at the Vientiane Airport for our morning flight to Muang Xai. The route takes us over dramatic mountains and should have us arriving at our secluded resort in the hills nearby this small northern city by lunchtime. After lunch, check into your room and settle into the location. It is a lovely place to adjust to the climate and slow pace of life. There’s time for a bike fitting and a quick spin around the area to get comfortable on your new wheels and familiar with the surroundings. Evening drinks, followed by dinner provides the opportunity for a proper briefing and chance to meet your fellow travelers properly.
Ride Muang Xai Surrounds & Free Afternoon
We set out on the bikes just after breakfast and ride an unpaved road over the hills to connect with a paved road that leads down to the next river, the Nam Ou. We won’t quite reach that river, but the ride is lovely, on undulating hills following a smaller tributary. We finish the ride at a market junction where we often see hill tribe folk who have come down from their villages to trade. We sample a few snacks here and then transfer back to the resort for a free afternoon. There are various activities and tools for relaxation that can be booked in advance, such as massage and yoga.
Muang Xai Exploratory Morning Hike & Swim
Let’s make the most of our beautiful surroundings with a morning hike, over the streams and then high up into the hills surrounding the resort. We’ll stop in on a number of villages to see first-hand how the local people in this area live. Subsistence farming, often slash and burn style is prevalent here and through much of Laos. On the way back, water levels permitting, maybe we can have a dip in the fresh, cold waters of a stream before we arrive back in time for lunch at the resort and another free afternoon to spend at your leisure.
Cycle & Transfer to Pak Beng
Start off your day with a morning ride through forests and past large, clear rivers in Muang Xai before we hop in a van for a transfer to the small riverside village of Pak Beng. Once here we’ll have the afternoon to take advantage of our off-the-beaten-path accommodation. This charming lodge faces the Mekong Elephant Park, and is an ideal starting point for many walking trails in the forest. If you wish to immerse yourself further in the culture, take a shot at Laotian cooking with the hotel’s regional cuisine lessons or see a traditional dance show put on by a local primary school.
Boat to Luang Prabang & Pak Ou Caves
All aboard the boat to Luang Prabang! As we begin our cruise down the Mekong River we’ll have the chance to catch glimpses of rural riverside Lao river/village life. The journey takes most of the day, but far from being an ordeal, it’s a nice way to relax, lookout for elephants on the riverbank, read a book and chat with your fellow travelers. As we near Luang Prabang, we’ll explore the sacred Pak Ou caves filled with thousands of Buddha relics left here by devoted pilgrims.
Then it’s just another hour into the city, so we can expect to arrive at sundown. At the elegant, centrally located hotel, it's time for some drinks and a briefing on the city itself and then dinner together at an authentic and innovative restaurant nearby.
Pedal the Prabang
It’s a bright and early start today as we take to the streets of Luang Prabang to catch the traditional Monks Alms ceremony. The colourful daily procession is an iconic and revered local tradition, but one they are happy to have visitors watch or even take part in, given you observe local etiquette. Your guide will make sure you’re well-versed on the appropriate attire and conduct for this unique daily ritual.
Having risen quite early we'll return to the hotel for breakfast before hitting the road. Taking to the bikes we’ll pedal to Wat Xieng Thong: Luang Prabang’s royal temple and one of Laos’ most important monasteries. From there, we’ll saddle up again and cycle to the local fresh market where your guide will clue you into the interesting produce for sale that you may not recognize.
We’ll refuel with a traditional Lao coffee at one of the city’s oldest coffee stalls, then continue our ride to a lesser-known temple and then along a riverside road to check out traditional ‘sa paper’ making and distillation of the country’s famous rice wine: Lao Lao. Don’t get too carried away with the sampling!
From there, we’ll board a boat that takes us down the Mekong to explore traditional pottery, then cross back to the other side of the river to see how silk is made at Ock Pop Tock. Our last stop of the day will be for a traditional lunch together. The evening is free for you to seek out whatever food you are craving in this vibrant city, with your guide happy to offer some suggestions.
Waterfall - Boat, Cycle & Swim
The last ride of the trip and a highly enjoyable one. We start off by crossing the Mekong on a ferry. We ride out on a paved road to a riverside village south of town and stop in here to learn about rice wine making. Then we hijack a local fishing boat and have them ferry us back to the eastern bank of the river.
From here we encounter a steep but relatively short hill to bring us to Kuang Sii Waterfall. You may have heard about this place, but until you jump into the aqua blue, cool waters, you won’t understand how special it is. After a dip, we can visit the Free the Bears enclosure and see these mischievous creatures at work, trying to free their lunch from the obstacles that the carers set. Then it’s time for a bite to eat, probably a barbequed river fish, before we ride the undulating road back into town. Our final afternoon and evening together will be marked by a delicious meal, which will be a familiar thing by now.
Our tour concludes here in Luang Prabang after breakfast. If you are flying out, we will have a car ready to take you to the airport. Otherwise, your guide can assist you to move to wherever you need to.
What's the Riding Like?
5 days riding
The terrain is a mix of sealed and unsealed roads sometimes on the main roads but generally on secondary roads. Main roads in Laos are actually like a backstreet anywhere else due to the low number of vehicles on the road which is consistent with the country's low population. There are some moderate climbs, but these are relatively short, and rolling terrain which is fun and achievable for anyone comfortable on a bike. There is always a support vehicle on hand to give you a lift if you need a break from the riding. This trip is for those who like their cycling but love their relaxed afternoons as well.
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 talk to us about creating your own date. Provide dates that you would like to travel and as long as you are happy to open the tour to other people joining we can look into possibility of arranging a departure for 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 4 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.
What our guests tell us...
Don't take our word for it, listen to what guests say about our tours!
Other Multi-day Tours in Laos
We have an exciting range of cycling tours in Laos, both for families and the more general cyclist. Explore the country from north to south, or just concentrate on the beautiful areas in and around Luang Prabang. Discover the mysterious Plain of Jars, cool down on the Bolaven Plateau, or be wowed by the amazing scenery around Vang Vieng.
Tour the top highlights of these two countries
Cycle the twin jewels of Southeast Asia (Cambodia and Laos) on a one-week active adventure that takes you from th...
A family friendly bike tour of Laos
New in 2019 - Introduce Laos to the whole family with an active tour that explores Luang Praban...
Bike Laos' breathtaking highlands
Bike tour one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in South East Asia, with views that will leave you ...