Other Need-to-Know Information about Laos
The southern stretches of the country, along the Mekong river, are mostly flat, but still provide unreal riding! You’ll pass through countless little villages, while stopping to meet the locals, try their food, and understand their way of life. The Mekong River itself also creates some awesome experiences. It harbors some of the largest waterfalls in southeast Asia, and in the gentler flowing sections, you might even see the pink dolphins that inhabit its waters! Some other fun activities include tubing and whitewater rafting. The northern areas of Laos are composed of hilly, even mountainous, terrain and covered in dense jungle.
Along your trek, you’ll experience incredibly diverse and distinct cultures whose treasures are no less gorgeous than the surroundings. Laos’ small population is composed of several dozen different tribes, who are scattered throughout the country. This assemblage of cultures creates a vibrant variety that will repeatedly wow you. The history of Laos and its people is as long as it is diverse. One impressive fact is that all of Luang Prabang, which has served as the capital of Laos since ancient times, is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. There is architecture that dates back to French colonialism and beyond, vast megaliths from the iron age, and numerous ornate Buddhist temples.
Laos holds several other tourism options as well, from high-adrenaline to the sublime. If you are looking for outdoor adventure, you can find great treks, kayaking spots, and rock climbing. A great way to cap off your Laos motorbike tours is to simply relax. If so, be sure to check out one of the traditional Laotian saunas which offer a massage and herbal steam room. These are often operated by temples.
Laos has three distinct seasons, which will have an impact on when you kick off your Laos motorcycle adventure. March through May is the shortest, hottest time of the year with temperatures reaching 40*C or higher. May through October is the wet season. The weather will be a little cooler, but there will be frequent downpours, especially in July and August. The driest time of the year lasts from November to March, and is when you’ll experience the least rain and lowest temps, but this also makes it the high season for tourism. Regardless, these months are when we would recommend you schedule any Laos motorbike tours, especially off-road trips.
As a westerner, Laos’ entry requirements aren’t too bad. If you’re coming from the U.S., E.U., or U.K., make sure you have obtained either a 30 or 60-day tourist visa from a Laotian embassy or consulate. Another options is to simply apply for a visa on arrival at the major airports. There are a few land border crossings that offer on-arrival visas, but they are not very widespread. Assuming you plan to arrive by plane, there are international airports in Vientiane, Luang Prabang, and Pakse. If not, there are several land border crossings accessible to foreigners, but you should verify them on the Laos National Tourism Administration website.
Why Planet Ride is an awesome choice for motorcycle adventure in Laos
Whether you are looking for a fun cruise on paved roads, or off-road Laos adventures, Planet Ride will not disappoint with the variety of tours we offer. Generally, our Laos tours last from six to eight days. You can often bring your own bike, or just use one of the great bikes offered by the tour, like a Honda 250 CRF. The local expert partners we work with will provide all the knowledge and support you need, and they will often give you the option of jumping into a fixed-date trip, or choosing your dates and group members for an even more personal experience. Along the way, you’ll be able to experience the way of life of the Hmong ethnic group, journey across the Plain of Jars, explore the Golden Triangle region, and much more. Check out the examples below for a better idea.
For one tour, you’ll be exploring the Nam Ou river valley, the Nong Khiaw Mountains, and the Hmong culture. After arriving in Luang Prabang, you’ll have a little free time to relax and get situated, before setting out for a sleepy Hmong village some 250 Km away. From there, our off-road Laos adventures take us from village to village, meeting more of the Hmong people, as well as several other ethnic groups, like the Akha, Khamu, and Lao Loum. You’ll be immersed in their cultures through home-stays, shared meals, and other activities. The roads on this trip range from smooth, asphalt highways to tiny dirt mountain trails, and everything in between. After a total of about 900 kilometers of riding, you’ll arrive back in Luang Prabang for your flight home.
Another one of the Laos motorbike tours we feature is an eight-day trek through the Golden Triangle region of Laos, which borders Myanmar and Thailand. You’ll spend those days covering about 1,300 kilometers of dirt roads, small trails, and other challenging terrain. Far from the usual tourist trail, we’ll see the beautiful Kuang Si waterfalls, visit the Lue Buddhist temple with its stunning frescoes, and cruise through tribal villages and endless rice paddies. Between river crossings and rutted trails, you’ll get to stop and experience the local people, their food, and their customs. Finally, we’ll make our way back to Luang Prabang to spend one last night relaxing at a hotel before heading home.