Cycling Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang

Day 1 Meet in Chiang Mai

We meet in the afternoon at the hotel where the guide will brief everyone thoroughly and make sure the bikes fit. We then head out for a nice and easy ride along the Ping River to get accustomed to riding in Thailand. The ride takes us to the handicraft centre at Ban Tawai, where you will have to time to enjoy some shopping before riding back to Chiang Mai.

The Rim Resort
Ride 40km

Day 2 Chiang Dao Tribal Trails

We transfer from Chiang Mai to the Chiang Dao caves to the start of our ride. This ride is a real treat for mountain bikers. We ride through rice fields and among soaring limestone cliffs before hitting the dirt. We ride truck paths cut by local hill tribes, and we meet Akha, Lisu, Lau, and Palaung people. The colourful Palaung are recent migrants, and you will see their women adorned with heavy brass waist-bands working the fields. We stop for lunch before a memorable afternoon riding some quite outstanding mountain trails. Our support vehicle will be waiting at the trailhead to transport us to our comfortable Thai-style inn.

Saimoonburi Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 77km

Day 3 Back Roads to Thaton

After an early breakfast, we ride backroads through many small villages before arriving in Fang and our stop for lunch. In contrast to the previous day, much of the ride is flat, and we make the distance quite quickly. The ride is scenic as we pass orchards and farmlands. We arrive at Thaton along the banks of the Mae Kok River and our resort nestled in the valley. The hills of Thaton afar is Thailand's natural border with neighbouring Myanmar. A dip in the swimming pool is a great way to relax after today's journey.

Maekok River Village Resort
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 78km

Day 4 Thaton to Chiang Rai

A short transfer to a Lahu village this morning, where we hitch a ride on a long-tail boat (with our bikes) to a scenic riverside area. We have a brief stop at the forestry reserve before heading off for another 20-km off-road ride. We have lunch at a local restaurant by the river before continuing biking on tarmac all the way into Chiang Rai. We stop to visit Wat Rong Khun, the White Temple, on the outskirts of the city. Created by a local artist, this modern temple stands out for its distinctive style. Overnight is at a resort with a nice swimming pool centrally located in the town.

Laluna Resort
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 55km

Day 5 Chiang Rai to Lanjia Lodge

After breakfast we transfer up to the border and market town of Mae Sai to start our cycling. The first 20 km is nice and easy: good road surface and flat. Then the road starts to climb and we take on a few gradual hills. iWhen we reach the Mekong River the road turns flat again. We will ride up to the Golden Triangle, the point where three countries come together, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. Stopping first for a quick look in at the Opium House, a small collection of antiques from this notorious era. Back on the bikes it is a short ride to a riverside lunch in the town of Chiang Saen. From here we have the option to transfer to our overnight stay or continue by bicycle for an additional 30 km. We stay tonight at a a lovely lodge right in the middle of a Hmong village. We’ll have tea with the shaman and learn some Hmong customs. There’ll also be the option to help villagers plant trees at the Herbal Plant Nursery Project for a small fee.

Lanjia Lodge
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 43km

Day 6 Chiang Khong to Pakbeng By Boat

After breakfast, we take a short transport to Chiang Khong and cross the border into Laos. After immigration, we load the bikes into our private riverboat (please note we do not use the public boat for safety reasons) and spend a relaxing day cruising downstream into the interior of this enigmatic country. We stop to visit some riverside villages before reaching the charming town of Pakbeng before dusk.

Phetsoksai Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7 Pakbeng to Udom Xai

Today can be an epic day, if you are up for the challenge! Our best overnight choice is a 144-km away, but we’ll see how the group does and transfer as necessary to cover the distance. Setting off on our bikes from Pakbeng, we cycle along the Beng River, riding through pretty Lao villages and unforgettable mountain and jungle scenery. We have a picnic lunch before we head into the north of Udom Xai province where the broken road and dirt tracks double as thoroughfares for the local people (the population here is made up of an astonishing 23 ethnic groups), sharing the trail with all manner of colourful vehicles and livestock – a glimpse of real rural life in Asia. Towards the end of the day, we have a long downhill into Udom Xai (also known as Muang Xai), which has a large market where the various languages of the area mingle along with the aromas of the produce.

Charming Lao Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 120-140km

Day 8 Udom Xai to Muang Khoua

We are now in the central highlands, and there are some spectacular views across the rugged mountain landscape ahead in an area that suffered extraordinarily heavy bombing during the 'Secret War' against the Americans during the early 1970s. The morning sees us start with a climb, but then it's an overall gradual downhill, and the last 60 km is relatively flat. Although this is a long day, the support vehicle is always available to hop in, if the distance is too long. We stay in a basic guesthouse on the banks of the Nam Ou River.

Sinaly Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 103km

Day 9 Muang Khoua – Nong Kiau Rest Day

After two challenging cycling days, it’s time to take it easy as we boat down the Nam Ou River to the pleasant town of Nong Khiau. Watch life on the river, from the fishermen working to the children playing in the waters. We'll stop at a village for lunch and a quick stretch of the legs. We'll spend about four hours on the boat.

Nong Kiau Riverside
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10 Nong Kiau to Luang Prabang

The last long ride of the tour! Cycling an undulating road, we head west along the Nam Ou River, which makes for a very scenic ride. The road undulates the whole way with a couple of short climbs of 1 to 2 km. We stop for a break at Pak Ou to visit the famous caves, filled with sacred Buddha images. Our countryside scenic ride continues to our destination, Luang Prabang. This is one of Asia's most picturesque towns and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and our ride through the streets is an unforgettable experience. Once we reach this historic town, we head to our hotel and freshen up for our farewell dinner.

Sala Prabang
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 143km

Day 11 Luang Prabang Free Day

A free day to explore Luang Prabang before we part ways. Watching the monks collecting alms at dawn, or an optional early morning ride to Krungsri Falls (33 km). Ask us about our optional extension stay in Luang Prabang.

Ride 30km