Cycling From Thailand Border To Laos – 7 Days

Ride from 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 consist of a small settlement on the Thai side of the Mekong River, whose main interest of the visitors 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.Down stream Khong island (four thousand islands), once a French outpost, contains dilapidated colonial houses from the 1920, Khong Island became an important trading point at the beginning of this 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 the channels that created thousands of tiny islands in its widest section, before becoming increasingly agitated. Finally at Khone Island, it hurtles over 15 km of falls and rapids to spectacular effect. Along this stretch at Phapeng water fall one arm of the river, suddenly crashes down a 15-metre drop .The town of Paksong was heavily bombed and now presents a bedraggled and somewhat temporary 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 water falls, some concealed by dense jungles; the best known is at Xeset, the hydro-electric development.

Day 1. Thai border-Champasack
After stamp your passports out of Thailand and once visas formalities have been completed at Lao immigration, after completing all the border formalities and loading our entire luggage into the support truck, we start riding from Lao immigration along the way to Pakse province on 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 the Pre-Angkor ruins of Wat Phou, once used to be the worship place of Hindu worshipers then were replaced by Buddhist temple in the late 11 century. We spend some time here exploring the temple before riding the last 10 km to our hotel. Check in Thavisab hotel, 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)
Meal: L / D
Accommodation: Thavisab hotel (room with private bathroom and hot shower, 24 h )

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 short ride to the main road and then start heading south again towards Cambodia. Today is mainly flat with quiet road and some interesting scenery, we pass many villages with children standing in groups waving their hands and say hello, it would be strange for them to see the tourists travel by bicycles (it feels hard for them).so we stop every 20 or 25 km for refreshments and we have lunch under the 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, Kong Island (it is the hometown of 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)
Meal: B / L /D
Accommodation: Villa Muangkhong (rooms are very good full of 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 water fall, we rest for a while before riding back and take a short boat trip to the small island of Don Det where we will 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  fresh water 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 hours boat trip back to hotel. Dinner is at the hotel.

Distance: 55 km (Haft riding is on good quality asphalt road and the rest is on the path but it is fantastic ride and flat)
Meal: B / L / D
Accommodation: Villa muangKhong

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 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 upward feeling. 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 are feeling 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.(At a junction where we start riding is at an altitude of 150 m above sea level and the resort where we stay over night is at an altitude of 960 m above sea level).

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)
Meal: B / L / D
Accommodation: Tad Fane resort. (Rooms are very good with private bathroom and hot shower)

Day 5. Free day
Today we have a choice of a rest day or take an easy hike around coffee plantations and see the spectacular waterfall up close.

Ride: Free
Meal: 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 climb we reach the top of Bolavene plateau (at an altitude of 1280 m above sea level). However, riding in the early morning makes you warm through the cold morning on the plateau, and you still have more energy in the morning, after a short break in a small town on top of plateau we continue our riding for another 38 km to a small town of Tha Teng (at an altitude of 860 m above sea level), this 38- kilometer decent is one of the best ride in this trip, we have noodle soup for lunch at the local  restaurant, 30 km from our destination, Tad Lor Resort (at an altitude of 750 m above sea level) Riding after lunch takes us very easy down hill but on dirt road for 21 km to the junction, the rest of the road just 9 km on asphalt road and it is mainly flat. We check in the hotel in the afternoon and it is your time for swimming at the waterfall, relaxing, enjoying the view or riding around. Dinner is at the hotel.

Elevation: Departure point 959 m above sea level.
Highest point: 1280 m above sea level.
Arrival point: 346 m above sea level.
Ride: 80 km (12 km ascend, 68 km descend and flat, including 21 km on dirt road)
Meal: B / L / D
Accommodation: Tad Lor resort (Rooms are very good quality, surrounding by nice nature and waterfall)

Day 7. Tad lo – Pakse
After break fast, we head towards Pakse. This road undulates and has a coupe of lengthy climb in it one of 5 km one of 49 km, but they are quite gradual, before we turn right and head down hill all the way into Pakse. The last 20 km in to Pakse is down hill and can be covered quickly, be careful as we head into town as the traffic increases significantly. We use the hotel in Pakse just for shower one room for men and one for women before we head back towards the border and departure.

Elevation: Departure point: 346 m above sea level.
Highest point: 606 m above sea level.
Arrival point: 170 m above sea level.
Ride: 84 km on good quality asphalt road
Meal: B / L / D
Accommodation: two rooms in Pakse hotel just for shower
End of service

Staffs and support team:
Lao team:
1. 1 English speaking Lao guide (cycling guide)
2. 1- 2 helper(s) that depending on the group size
3. 1 support truck for all luggage and bicycles
4. 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.

SUPPORTED TEAM
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, incase of any problem you just stop. Though we can not 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.

VISAS: 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.

Tour price includes:
1. Lao English speaking guide.
2. Full support with truck and mini bus
3. All meals as mentioned in the itinerary.
4. Drinking water.
5. Seasonal fruits.
6. Soft drinks and Snacks.
7. Entrance fees.
8. Hotels and guesthouses as mentioned in the itinerary.

Price does not include:
1. Personal insurance
2. Visa cost.
3. Airport tax.
4. Laundry.
5. The other personal expenses.

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