VIETNAM TO LAOS
MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURE TOUR
After three years running tours in Vietnam we are very excited to add our latest Laos Adventure Trails motorcycle tour to our growing list of thrilling and exceptionally exciting Asian Motorcycle Holiday Tours
Laos is a Southeast Asian country traversed by the Mekong River and known for mountainous terrain, French colonial architecture, hill tribe settlements and Buddhist monasteries, making it a must for the adventure rider looking for something special without having to remortgage the home!
Laos is a Southeast Asian country traversed by the Mekong River and known for mountainous terrain, French colonial architecture, hill tribe settlements and Buddhist monasteries.
Vientiane, the capital, is the site of the That Luang monument, where a reliquary reportedly houses the Buddha’s breastbone, plus the Patuxai war memorial and Talat Sao (Morning Market), a complex jammed with food, clothes and craft stalls.
Laos, although a relatively poor country has so much to offer. The people are incredibly friendly and in no time you’ll be chatting to monks, villagers and farmers.
The geologically diverse landscape of Laos, with its forested mountains, upland plateaus and lowland plains, supports an equally diverse population that is united largely through agriculture, particularly the cultivation of rice. With elements of Indian culture, including Buddhism, the religion is now practiced by most of the population. Both Buddhist and Hindu lores have shaped the visual, performing, and literary arts of the country. Many of the indigenous and minority peoples of the remote highland slopes and mountainous regions, however, have maintained their own idiosyncratic ritual and artistic traditions.
Our accommodation is always of good standard. The hotels and home-stays are clean and friendly and have a UK equivalent of a 2 or 3* hotel. Hot private showers and most have WiFi. Vietnam and Laos culture is much different to ours so some accommodation may be substandard in comparison to our UK standards, please be aware of this as this is an adventure tour, not a luxury holiday.
During the home-stay we sample the delicious food, cooked by the owners, this usually consists of chicken and pork, rice, omelette, noodles, spring rolls and greens followed by fruit for dessert. During the evening we may be treated to some traditional dance displays from the local women in the village.
When in Hanoi or other larger cities, we are likely to eat out and other than on your rest day, your guide will take you either to a street restaurant or an indoor restaurant that serves excellent freshly cooked food and plenty of Beer and rice wine!
* Evening meal is not included on the rest days
Each morning for breakfast we are treated to yogurt, fruit, pancakes, eggs, bread etc. It’s all very delicious topped with a drizzle of fresh honey if you wish!
Every day we leave at around 8.30 – 9.00 and head off on the bikes once they have undergone some maintenance from our local tour guide and his assistant. The luggage is loaded onto the 4×4 and we spend the day stopping frequently to take photos, learn about the culture and told stories of the history that makes Vietnam and Laos so intriguing. You will get plenty of time off the bike, when we first arrive in Hanoi you have a free day to do as you please. Your local tour guide is on hand to advise and provide you with details on what you can do and see. We also have a day off in Sapa, in the mountains, also known as the adventure capital of Vietnam.
At lunchtime, around 12.00 – 13.00, we stop for about an hour and indulge in some noodle soup, rice, spring rolls, meat and other fine food, all freshly prepared for us. The food is clean and freshly prepared After lunch, we head off again and may even take in some dirt tracks and narrow pathways, often crossing shallow streams and rivers or negotiating rope suspension bridges, it’s all brilliant fun.
By the end of each day, your camera memory cards will be bulging with photos captured and memories that will last forever. Bring a small camera so you can carry it in a small backpack or hydration pack, even better. A small helmet camera is also a good option
Vietnam 7 Laos is relatively cheap outside of the main cities, such as Hanoi. Lunch is approximately £3 – £5 each day and beer is around £1 a can. Fuel, breakfast and dinner is included (*dinner excluded on the rest day and last day), as is airport transfers and bike hire. Laos is more expensive than Vietnam as the majority of goods and products are imported from Vietnam.
We have an agreement with our business partner that if you break it, you pay for it. This simply means if you dropped your bike and snapped a wing mirror you would be expected to cover the cost ($10). For any engine or tyre damage you would not be expected to pay as this is wear and tear unless you have deliberately made an effort to damage the bike
You will not need a Visa for Vietnam but you will need a Visa for Laos, our local guide will make the arrangements at the border for this and the cost is approx $35
We insist you take out suitable medical and travel insurance, we use HolidaySafe for this and will need proof of your policy
|Bike Hire Included|
|Flights Included (Approx £550-650)|
|Hotel Accommodation Included|
|Home Stay Accommodation Included|
|Breakfast & Dinner Included*|
|Local Tour Guides Included|
|Support Vehicle Included*|
|Full UK Support Included|
|Medical Insurance Included|
|Travel Insurance Included|
*support vehicle is provided if more than 6 riders booked. For less than 6 you will be required to carry your own bag ideally a 40/60ltr dry bag. Or as a group opt to pay $55 per day for a bike courier to transport luggage from hotel to hotel
DAY 1 - GETTING ON A PLANE
Flying to Ha Noi
GMT will advise on times to arrive in Hanoi for the transfer to your hotel. Ideally, it is best to all book the same flight (details provided 8 – 12 weeks before departure). More often than not the flight will leave London and there will be a stop over in Hong Kong or Kuala Lumpur. With the last hour or two flight into Hanoi where we will be met by our local representative and taken to the hotel
Flight times: Typically 12 – 15 hours
On board meals and media entertainment: Included
Visa’s required: UK citizens can obtain Visa into Laos at the border (details provided)
Flight cost included: No
Charging Ports: Yes on the plane behind the seat
DAY 2 - Ha Noi
Arrive in Hanoi and transfer to the hotel. Then spend the remainder of the day relaxing as well as enjoying our first meal in Vietnam.
Please note: There may be time to go and choose the bikes depending on flight arrival times etc. If there isn’t time you can choose the bike before arrival and it will be prepared ready for you when you arrive
Bikes available are: Honda CRF250 / XR200 or 250 / CB400 etc
DAY 3 - HANOI - MAI CHAU
[May change due to flight times]
Pickup and transfer to the starting point where you will take the bike and start the first day ride to the Northwestern of Hanoi. Easy paved trails & main roads, nice scenery along the Da river and bamboo forest. Dinner and overnight sleep at home-stay with Thai family. Hot showers, toilets and fresh cooked food and beer await. (All food is cooked to western standards for health and hygiene reasons)
Beds for the evening are in a large communal room on 1st floor. These will be large mattresses with privacy curtains and mosquito nets spaced apart.
DAY 4 - MAI CHAU - LAOS BORDER
Say goodbye to the family at the home-stay as we head down to Thanh Hoa province. Riding on a beautiful trail along the Ma river until we reach Nameo Town, where we cross the border to get into Laos obtaining our Visas. Our local guide will arrange all this for us, all we need is passport photos (details provided) The cost of the Visa is approximately $35. The landscape suddenly changes over the Laos border, we are treated with quiet roads and exceptional scenery as we ride up and down many mountain passes.
Dinner this evening is in town and we stay overnight at a mini hotel in Samnua.
DAY 5 - SAMNUEA - XIENG KHOANG
The day begins with a fantastic ride over many hills and mountain passes of of the Xiangkhoang Plateau. There’s time to stop and visit some small Hmong villages on the way and interact, learning and discovering their fantastic culture before arriving in Xieng Khoang, were we will make a visit to the famous Plain Of Jars.
Plain of Jars, The Plain of Jars is a megalithic archaeological landscape in Laos. It consists of thousands of stone jars scattered around the upland valleys and the lower foothills of the central plain of the Xiangkhoang Plateau
Dinner in the local town with an overnight stay in a hotel
DAY 6 - XIENG KHOANG - LUANG PRABANG
An earlier start as we have a long day ride today. We will be riding though many hilly areas, all the way to Luangprabang. There will be plenty of stops for photo opportunities with very stunning views over the high mountains and deep valleys.
We arrive late in the afternoon and enjoy dinner in town with an overnight stay at a hotel.
DAY 7 - RELAX IN LUANG PRABANG
Luang Prabang, the ancient capital of Luang Prabang Province in northern Laos, lies in a valley at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. Inhabited for thousands of years, it was the royal capital of the country until 1975.
It’s known for its many Buddhist temples, including the gilded Wat Xieng Thong, dating to the 16th century, and Wat Mai, once the residence of the head of Laotian Buddhism.
You have the whole day free to discover the ancient city of Luangprabang, a beautiful city with sumptuous food and plenty of things to see.
You shall make your own dinner arrangements this evening using the vast choice on offer in the city.
Overnight at a hotel.
DAY 9 - MUANG KHUA - VIETNAM BORDER - DIEN BIEN PHU
We head to the East where we will cross the border to get back to Vietnam. The landscape changes quickly once we are past the border, flat plains with rice fields and tree lined roads. Riding all the way down hill through the country of Thai peoples until the spectacular valley of Dien Bien Phu where we will stop for the night.
Dinner in town with an overnight stay at a hotel.
DAY 10 - DIEN BIEN PHU - SON LA
Making a visit to the historical remains of French battle field during the Indochina War in the morning gets our day off to a good start. We then start riding down to the South to get to Son La. Ride up and down many high passes, many of which stop on the beautiful Pha Din mountain pass for photos and a visit to the village of Black Thai/Hmong peoples.
Dinner in town with an overnight stay at a hotel.
DAY 11 - SON LA - PHU YEN
We continue riding down hill to get the bank of the Da River then continue riding along the Hoang Lien high mountain range until the valley of Phu Yen.
Dinner in town with an overnight stay in a hotel
DAY 12 - PHU YEN - HANOI
Leaving the high mountain of the Northwestern region, we head down to the South to get back to Hanoi, follow the bank of the Red River until Hanoi. We end the ride in Hanoi.
Depending on our flight time we may leave today for the UK. However, if the flight cannot be taken in the evening then we will stay another night in Hanoi and catch the flight the following day – details will be confirmed soon
DAY 13 - DEPART
If we are unable to obtain a flight the previous evening, we will head for the airport and return to the UK
As with any adventure tour itineraries may vary or be subject to change slightly without notice. We reserve the right to alter or amend the itinerary in the best interest of the customers
- 17th November 2018 – 30th November 2018
- 19th October 2019 – 1st November 2019
Single rider sharing a room: £2199.00
You will pair with another rider booking a shared room
Single rider private room: £2795.00
Home stays may be communal rooms
Rider & Pillion double/twin room: £3499.00 (total)
Riding a Kawasaki 350cc or similar
Motorcycle Hire (Honda CRF250 / rider & pillion – Kawasaki 350 or similar)
All running Fuel for the bike
4×4 Support Vehicle with mechanic*
Full Breakfast each morning (buffet style usually)
All Accommodation (hotels and homestays)
Local English speaking guide
Evening meals (excluding rest days and last day)
Free water throughout the day riding
Local English speaking tour leader
Knowledgeable advice and history of Vietnam
Full UK Support
WHAT IS THE SEAT HEIGHT OF THE BIKES?
The seat height varies depending on which bike you choose but on average they are 80 – 84cm. At 5’9″ tall and with a 29″ inside leg, a rider is able to sit on the bike with knees slightly bent and feet on the floor, this is because the chassis on the CRF250 is built for the Asian market
SOME OF THE TRAILS LOOK A BIT NARROW, WILL I HAVE TO RIDE THEM?
No, the support vehicle (although a 4×4 pickup truck) can only drive along the roads suitable for it, such as compacted dirt tracks wide enough but obviously, it cannot drive up the trails. If you prefer not ride the narrower trails (or through the streams etc, perhaps because you have a pillion) you simply follow the support vehicle on the alternative route and meet up with the group on the other side. Usually the trails are only short sections throughout the tour. There are many options, so that everyone can ride within their comfort zone and are not made to do anything they are not comfortable doing
DO I NEED TO HAVE A MOTORCYCLE LICENSE? I CAN RIDE A BIKE!
You will need to have a full valid motorcycle license to join the tour
DO I NEED A VISA?
Only for Laos but this will be organised by the tour guide (Cost $35 approx) For Vietnam, you ‘British Citizens’ passport holders travelling for tourism or business can enter Vietnam for up to a maximum of 15 days (inclusive of dates of entry and exit) without a visa. If you have a different type of British nationality – for example ‘British national (overseas)’ you’ll need to get a visa or an e-visa before entering Vietnam. More info here
Please see the link above for updates on visa requirements as it subject to change each year
DO I NEED VACCINATIONS?
Yes, you will need to consult your pharmacist or doctor as to what they recommend is the best course of vaccines for you. Do note; Malaria tablets can make you unwell, many customers do not take them but do use the best insect repellent available. Mosquitos and Malaria are quite rare in the north but caution is strongly advised and we do not in any way encourage clients not to take necessary precautions. Having good travel insurance is a must. We recommend Holiday Safe who will also be able to provide specific insurance cover for using a motorcycle off road
WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE?
Most of the tour dates we organise for Vietnam bring good weather as it is outside of the rainy season. The climate is usually very manageable. Typical temperatures are 22 – 30c with the odd shower. Slightly colder in the higher mountains
WHAT IS THE CURRENCY?
Currency is Vietnamese Dong but Dollars are widely accepted. Money can be changed at the airport and in Hanoi
WILL I HAVE TO EAT INSECTS?
No, not at all. In Thailand this cuisine is more common but in Vietnam the food is rather much more simpler. A typical evening meal consists of meat, such as pork, noodles, rice, spring rolls, omelette, greens and rice wine! Noodle soup is a very popular dish and is served both at breakfast time and other meal times. Breakfast served for us, however, is usually bread, eggs, honey, omelets, fruit, yoghurt etc
DO THEY EAT CATS & DOGS?
Not that we have known about! Although the Vietnamese are known for eating what we consider pets it was not something we have seen on the menu! All our hotels and Home stays have been taught to cook the western way, this means hygiene and menu selection is taken into account
WHAT BIKES DO YOU USE?
We use Honda XR200/CRF250 Dirt Bikes. There is a comfier option of a CB400/ or Kawasaki 350 for riders with pillions if you wish. Supplements may apply to bike larger than 250cc.
IS THE TOUR ON OR OFF ROAD?
Most of the surface is compacted dirt tracks, trails and shallow streams and tarmac. Even without dirt road riding experience, as long as you are an experienced and competent rider you shouldn’t have any issues. There are some shallow streams but there is always an option to take the tarmac road route with the support vehicle
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT FLIGHT TO BOOK?
We will provide all the details regarding flights 12 weeks prior to departure. The cost of the flight is approximately £500 – £700 GBP
WHAT RIDING GEAR SHOULD I BRING?
We always recommend wearing what you feel comfortable and safe in. Some wear cargo trousers and hiking boots with a jacket. Obviously a helmet and light summer gloves are a must. Personally I would recommend wearing boots that cover your ankles such as adventure boots or tough ankle boots (not steel toe capped boots). A lightweight waterproof motorcycle jacket and some motocross trousers, jeans or strong cargo trousers as a minimum. Whilst there is a minimum amount of off tarmac riding (dirt tracks) speeds in Vietnam are typically around 30 – 40 mph. We strongly recommend you bring a backpack style hydration pack with you and a helmet camera! When riding the trails the speed is kept to a minimum, it is not a race or a rally
UPDATE – APRIL 2018 REGARDING LICENSES IN VIETNAM
Do you have a question? Send us an email with “VIETNAM NORTH WEST TOUR” as the subject and we will get back to you ASAP