Ride from LAOS/THAI border to Pre-Angkor ruins of Champasak, four thousand islands on the Mekong River and to Bolaven plateau.
The Mekong sweeps down towards the Cambodian border. On the eastern border the land rises towards the Anna mite chain through dense jungle, sparsely populated by remote tribes. The Ho Chi Minh trail makes its way down through the forest, littered with the skeletons of trucks and still contaminated with unexploded bombs.
Pakse, the provincial capital, is a busy, thriving town in the cleft of the Mekong and the Sedon River. The present town of Champasak consists of a small settlement on the Thai side of the Mekong River, whose main interest is its proximity to the famous Khmer site of Wat Phou, a name which indicates a connection with the ancient Cham kingdom, contemporaneous with the early Khmer empire. Downstream Khong island (four thousand islands), once a French outpost, contains dilapidated colonial houses from the 1920S. Khong Island became an important trading point at the beginning of the 20 century and has the distinction of having the only railway line in the country. South of Khong Island the Mekong River almost loses itself among channels that created thousands of tiny islands in its widest section, before becoming increasingly agitated. Finally at Khone Island, the Mekhong hurtles over 15 km of falls and rapids to spectacular effect. Along this stretch at Phapeng waterfall one arm of the river suddenly crashes down a 15-metre drop.
The town of Paksong was heavily bombed during the Vietnam war and now presents a bedraggled, ramshackle appearance. The Bolavens Plateau dominates the centre of the region, rising sharply out of the plain north of Pakse. The climate is cool and rainy, yielding rich crops of coffee and tea. The plateau is graced with extravagant waterfalls, some concealed by dense jungles. The best known is at Xeset, a hydroelectric power plant.
Day 1: Thai border – Champasack
After having your passports stamped on exiting Thailand and once visa formalities have been completed at Lao immigration, and loading our luggage into the support truck, we start riding from Lao immigration along the way to Pakse province on a good-quality asphalt road for 26 km. Then we turn right for another 61 km riding on dirt road but completely flat. We pass many small villages and paddy fields before we arrive at the Pre-Angkor ruins of Wat Phou, once the site of Hindu worship. The site was then replaced by a Buddhist temple in the late 11TH century. We spend some time here exploring the temple before riding the last 10 km to our hotel. Check in Thavisab Hotel, with dinner at the hotel.
Elevation: Departure point: 120 m above sea level.
Arrival point: 124 m above sea level.
Distance: 87 km (first section of 26 km on asphalt road, 51 km on dirt road and last 10 km on asphalt road but the whole route is flat).
Meas: (L / D).
Accommodation: Thavisab Hotel (room with private bath and hot shower, 24 h electricity).
Day 2: Champasack – Khong Island (4000 islands)
Si Phan Done in Lao means 4000 islands, it is the widest and most charismatic part of the Mekong River and is our destination today. We leave as early as we can after breakfast. After 2 km of riding from the hotel, we cross the Mekong River on a very unusual mode of transport to the other side and after a short ride to the main road, we head south again towards Cambodia. Today is mainly flat with a quiet road and some interesting scenery. We pass many villages with children greeting us. It is unusually for them to see tourists travel by bicycle (it feels hard for them).So we stop every 20 or 25 km for refreshments. We have lunch under a tree by the road when we feel like it. We then cross back over to the Mekong River to one of the biggest island in the Mekong River (the hometown of a former Lao president). We cycle a short way to our hotel. Dinner is in the hotel.
Elevation: Departure point: 124 m above sea level.
Arrival point: 120 m above sea level.
Distance: 113 km (on good quality asphalt road, and mainly flat).
Meals: (B / L /D).
Accommodation: Villa Muangkhong (rooms are complete with facilities). Internet and laundry are available here but no massage.
Day 3: Around 4000 islands
Today is a day to explore, we once again cross the river and head south where we ride as far as the Khon Pha Pheng waterfall. We rest for a while before riding back and we take a short boat trip to the small island of Don Det where we have lunch. After lunch we ride along the old French Railway down to the beach where we get on small boats to Cambodian waters in search of freshwater Dolphins, After an hour we ride back to Don Det island and finish our cycling for the day there. Then we catch a boat for another 2 hour boat trip back to our hotel. Dinner is at the hotel.
Distance: 55 km (half of the riding is on good quality asphalt road and the rest is on a path, fantastic to ride and flat).
Meals: (B / L / D).
Accommodation: Villa Muang Khong.
Day 4: Muang Khong – Tad Fane
An easy start to the day as we transfer back on the way we come for almost 2 hours to begin our journey into the coffee growing area of Laos, the Bolaven plateau. We head north to Pakse before starting to climb up into the temperate coffee growing area renowned for its Arabica and Robusta beans. These beans fetch some of the highest coffee prices in the world. The road undulates but has a definite feeling of ascent. As we climb, we see coffee everywhere as the plantations converge on the side of the road. We finish at the wonderful Tad Fane Resort, which provides a stunning backdrop and the very impressive Tad Fane Fall. If you feel energetic you can cycle to the other waterfall for swimming. Alternatively, you can relax in the restaurant and take the wonderful view. Dinner is at the resort.
Elevation: Departure point 175 m above sea level.
Arrival point 959 m above sea level.
Distance: 30 km (on good quality asphalt road but ascend).
Meals: (B / L / D).
Accommodation: Tad Fane Resort. (Rooms are very good with private bath and hot shower).
Day 5: Free day
Today we have a choice of a rest day or taking an easy hike around coffee plantations to see the spectacular waterfall up close.
Meals: (B /L /D).
Accommodation: Tad Fane Resort.
Day 6. Tad Fane – Tad lo (Tad means waterfall)
(Resort is at an altitude of 960 m above sea level.) Today is the best riding in this trip. After 12 km of climbing we reach the top of Bolavene plateau (at an altitude of 1280 m). However, riding in the early morning warms you through a cold morning on the plateau. You still have more energy in the morning after a short break in a small town on top of a plateau. We continue riding for another 38 km to a small town of Tha Teng (at an altitude of 860 m), this 38- kilometer descent is one of the best rides in this trip. We have noodle soup for lunch at a local restaurant 30 km from our destination, Tad Lor Resort (at an altitude of 750 m) Riding after lunch takes us very easy downhill on a dirt road for 21 km to the junction. The rest of the road is just 9 km on asphalt and is mainly flat. We check into our hotel in the afternoon and you can swim at the waterfall, relaxing, enjoying the view or riding around. Dinner is at the hotel.
Elevation: Departure point 959 m.
Highest point: 1280 m.
Arrival point: 346 m.
Ride: 80 km (12 km ascent, 68 km descent and flat, including 21 km on a dirt road).
Meals: (B / L / D).
Accommodation: Tad Lor Resort (Rooms are very good quality, surrounded by nature and waterfall)
Day 7: Tad Fane – Pakse
After breakfast, we head towards Pakse. This road undulates and has a couple of lengthy climbs. One is 5 km, one of 49 km, but they are gradual. We then turn right and head downhill all the way into Pakse. The last 20 km in to Pakse is downhill and can be covered quickly. Be careful as we head into town as traffic increases significantly. We use the hotel in Pakse just to shower, one room for men and one for women before we head back towards the Thai border.
Elevation: Departure point: 346 m.
Highest point: 606 m.
Arrival point: 170 m.
Ride: 84 km on good quality asphalt road
Meals: (B / L / D).
Accommodation: Two rooms in Pakse hotel for showering
End of service
Staffs and support team:
1 English speaking Lao guide (cycling guide)
1- 2 helper(s) that depending on the group size
1 support truck for all luggage and bicycles
1-2 mini buses depending on the group size.
Packing instruction: When packing you should understand that your main luggage would not be accessible during the day so if you have items you want to use please put them in a smaller “day pack “which we will store in the van. This applies to every day.
We will be supported by air conditioned mini bus and truck that have been specially modified for cycle tours. The vehicles follow us the whole time and are always available for tired cyclists. It is very easy to get bikes on and off the truck, so you can rest when you are tired and cycle whenever you fell like it, and you will be well looked after, all support vehicles will follow around 100 – 150 m behind the last cyclist, water stop is every 1 – 1:30 h or every 15 – 25 km depending on the road condition and the cyclists.
BIKE REPAIRS:Basic spares and tools are carried by the guide and on the support vehicles such as alum key set, chain splitter, puncture repair kit, pumper, in case of any problem you just stop. Though we cannot guarantee having spares for every conceivable problem. If bringing your own bike please make sure that it is fully serviced prior to the trip to ensure that nothing serious is about to break.
WEATHER: There are two seasons in Laos: from March to September is hot and raining with temperatures between 25–40 C. From October to February is winter with the temperatures between 10-25 C, it also depends on which part of the country, northern part is cooler than southern part. In winter season is the best time to travel in Laos and riding conditions are perfect.
VISA: Visa can be obtained from Lao embassies and consulates abroad; in addition, visa can be obtained on arrival at international checkpoints and the cost for this is from 30 – 42 US$ in cash with a validity of 30 days(the cost of visa is different from every nationality ) and you will also need two passport photographs.
FOOD: Meals are included as per the itinerary where B= breakfast, L = lunch, D= dinner. Most meals are Lao food and it is very similar to Thai food. Any special dietary requirements can also be catered for as well. Please let us know at the time of booking.
WHAT TO BRING:
Jackets, padded cycling shorts, T- shirt, cycling shoes, socks, stiff-soled cycling shoes (if needed) cloves, sun classes, sun cream, camel bag or water bottle and the other personal stuff needed (camera, video camera, MP 3).
Tour price includes:
Lao English speaking guide.
Full support with truck and mini bus
All meals as mentioned in the itinerary.
Soft drinks and Snacks.
Hotels and guesthouses as mentioned in the itinerary.
Tour Price does not include:
Service outside Laos
The other personal expenses.
HOW TO BOOK TOUR:
1. Online booking
2. Phone booking: +85620 55771646, +85671 254675
3. Email booking: firstname.lastname@example.org