Northern Thailand and Laos is such a beautiful part of the world and forms part of some of our transcontinental expeditions, but in its own right, it makes an incredible motorcycle tour. This is an outstanding opportunity to have a wonderful motorbike tour of Northern Thailand and North West Laos, through areas of spectacular mountainous beauty, and includes the famous Road of 1864 bends between Mae Hong Son and Mae Taeng, the highest mountain in Thailand (Doi Inthanon), 2,565 meters, visiting the Long Neck Women of the Kayan Tribe and exploring the Golden Triangle, the region made famous by Khun Sa, once one of the world’s most infamous drug kings!
Once in Laos, we’ll ride close to the Chinese border, enjoy spectacular mountain riding to Luang Prabang a UNESCO World Heritage Site, have time to explore the mysterious Plain of Jars and the capital, Vientiane, before returning to Thailand and riding alongside the Mekong River into the mountains of Phu Ruea.
You’ll love the warmth of the Thai people and their laid-back attitude, the amazing culinary experiences (Tom Yam Soup with giant prawns is our favourite!), the ancient ruins and ornate temples, and of course, the stunning roads that twist and turn at every opportunity.
At a glance
The Rider Price shown is based on the rider using their own motorcycle. For tours less than four weeks, you will need motorcycle rental if you do not have your own motorcycle available at the start destination of the tour.
|Jan 7 – 20, 2018||£2,665||£625||£2,135||BMW F 800 GS: £1,995
BMW R 1200 GS: £2,465
Dates & Prices
|The Rider Price shown is based on the rider using their own motorcycle. For tours less than four weeks, you will need motorcycle rental if you do not have your own motorcycle available at the start destination of the tour.|
|Date:||Jan 7 – 20, 2018|
|Rider Shared Room:||£2,665|
|Passenger Shared Room:||£2,135|
|Bike Rental:||BMW F 800 GS: £1,995
BMW R 1200 GS: £2,465
A 14 day motorcycle tour of Thailand & Laos adventure riding the best motorcycle roads on offer!
Please note that this itinerary is slightly different to what is advertised in the the brochure.
7 January 2018. Day 1 – Chiang Mai
Arrival at airport and transfer to hotel. Tour Briefing and Group Welcome Dinner.
8 January 2018. Day 2 – Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son (186 miles)
Motorcycle handover and familiarisation. A great day on exhilarating twisty rural roads, stopping at the Vachiratharn Waterfall – an impressive and powerful 80 m high waterfall. You can climb to the top of Doi Inthanon, which at 2,565 meters is the highest mountain in Thailand. Onto Mae Hong Son, the City of the “Three Mists”, located along the banks of the Pai River close to the border with Myanmar (formerly Burma).
9 January 2018. Day 3 – Day Mae Hong Son to Pai (113 miles)
A morning boat ride on Pai River to visit a Karen Long Neck village, then off to the famously chic town of Pai on the beginning of the road famous for having 1864 bends of varying sharpness. There’s a little side trip to Ban Rak Thai (literally “the Thai-loving village”), built around a lake on the Myanmar border. When in Pai, go exploring and enjoy the delights of the Walking Street market!
10 January 2018. Day 4 – Pai to Sop Ruak (215 miles)
We complete the “remaining” 762 twisties over the mountains to Mae Taeng before heading to the Golden Triangle region, where the three borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet.
11 January 2018. Day 5 – Sop Ruak
Today is a rest day. If you like you can join a boat trip to explore this famous river region of the Mekong. Alternatively you can ride to the modern and interesting Hall of Opium to learn more about Khun Sa and the opium trade in the past. Or you simply enjoy a Thai Massage and/or the swimming pool of our hotel.
12 January 2018. Day 6 – Sop Ruak to Luang Namtha, Laos (155 miles)
We head over the border into Laos and ride through the Nam Ha National Park, across rolling rice terraced valleys, past waterfalls and temples to reach the friendly town of Luang Namtha, with a backdrop of distant mountain ridges; we are only 30 miles short of the Chinese border!
13 January 2018. Day 7 – Luang Namtha to Luang Prabang (195 miles)
Another riding delight today, on a road that twists and turns at every opportunity through the heart of Laos, where village life goes on at the roadside. Luang Prabang is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site and well worth exploring so we have two nights here.
14 January 2018. Day 8 – Luang Prabang, rest day
There’s the opportunity to rise early to view the procession of monks on their daily outing collecting alms, a practice that dates back centuries and we also have an optional ride of 18 miles to visit the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfalls. where it’s possible to swim in the lagoon, so bring your swimming gear! There’s also plenty of sight seeing, especially the temples, including the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong, which nestles at the meeting of the Mekong and the Nam Khan Rivers, and Wat Visunnala, which is the oldest temple in the city.
15 January 2018. Day 9 – Luang Prabang to Plain of Jars (176 miles)
We ride east, on more fabulous traffic free roads to the Plain of Jars – mysterious giant stone jars of unknown ancient origin, scattered over hundreds of hilly square kilometres around Phonsavan.
16 January 2018. Day 10 – Plain of Jars to Vientiane (208 miles)
South bound towards Vientiane, capital of Laos, with time to explore this delightfully friendly capital, studded with crumbling French mansions, bougainvillea-blooming streets and steaming noodle stalls. Enjoy a Beer Lao at sunset by the river.
17 January 2018. Day 11 – Vientiane to Khao Kor, Thailand (185 miles)
Take the Friendship Bridge leaving Laos over the Mekong River. We’ll track this mighty river on our right, before turning south and back to the highlands and a night spent in our resort hotel amidst the lush forests.
18 January 2018. Day 12 – Khao Kor to Khao Yai (240 miles)
We continue our journey south to Khao Yai National Park, established in 1962 as Thailand’s first national park, with its evergreen forests and grasslands, it is part of Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex, a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO, covering 5 protected areas from Khao Yai to Cambodian border.
19 January 2018. Day 13 – Khao Yai to Pattaya (125 miles)
Our final day on the road – we are heading to Pattaya, a vibrant coastal resort city, with 4 kms of beach, plenty of restaurants, bars and nightlife – a very different side to Thailand compared with the mountainous north. Drop off the bikes and head out for a Farewell Group Evening Dinner.
20 January 2018. Day 14 – Pattaya – Bangkok – Home
Transfer to Bangkok International Airport. Please book your return flight home for any time after 2pm on 20 January or if you would like to stay a few more nights, please let us know.
Note: Your tour price does not include your passenger flights. Check out www.skyscanner.net for latest prices.
All our hotels are an excellent 4* standard or equivalent. Many are small boutique hotels or private lodges, some with riverside settings, and all have en suite bathrooms, wifi, bar and restaurant. All have swimming pools and most also have spas and Thai massage services.
You have the benefit of booking with a UK tour operator who has in place Financial Payment Protection Insurance with Towergate Stevens & Chapman, so that your money paid to us in advance is protected in accordance with The Package Travel Regulations 1992.
Before you go
This is organised by us with the local motorcycle rental provider. Your rental fee includes:
We act as agent for the local provider and on arrival you will be required to sign the local motorcycle rental contract and provide your credit card details as a guarantee against damages.
For clarity, we do not include your passenger flights. Once we have confirmed that this tour is a guaranteed departure, it is your responsibility to organise your own flights to and from the destination. You need to book an outward flight to our start point, Chiang Mai, to arrive no later than around 4pm on 7 January 2018. The earliest leave date is after 2pm on 20 January 2018 from Bangkok. Only book your flights once we have confirmed that your tour is a guaranteed departure. We do not refund flight costs if you have booked flights for a tour that has not been notified as a guaranteed departure.
Should you wish to arrive before the official date or stay after the official end date, please simply request extra nights at the time of booking and we can make the reservation at our group hotel.
What riding experience do I need?
This tour is suitable for a good road rider, with previous experience of touring. It is also suitable for experienced two-up couples. Traffic conditions in Chiang Mai and Vientiane are very busy and quite chaotic. Once outside of these major cities, the main roads are quieter but please be aware of slow trucks on some of the great twisty roads. You must ensure your overtakes are safe and progressive. Remember that riding is on the LEFT in Thailand (as in the UK) and on the RIGHT in Laos!
Do I have to ride in a group?
No! We do not make you ride in convoy. We offer you the freedom to decide how you would like to ride. We give you a road book, GPS co-ordinates and hotel information. You can use this to self-navigate. If you prefer to ride with our Motorcycle Leader, then you can do this.
What is the average group size?
Our groups are normally between 6 – 10 riders (some riders will have passengers). Most of our groups are from the UK, but we also have customers from the USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, Switzerland etc.
Is this ride suitable for a passenger?
Yes, but we do recommend that your passenger needs to also be an experienced tourer. We use good quality hotels, which passengers will enjoy, and on the rest days, your passenger can enjoy the pool, spa treatments or sight seeing.
Is there a support vehicle?
Yes, this tour operates with a local support vehicle and driver. The support vehicle will carry one piece of luggage per person, up to a maximum of 60 litres each. Your luggage should be dustproof and waterproof and we recommend soft bags such as Ortleib. Hard suitcases or baggage with wheels are not recommended.
Tell me about motorcycle rental
We organise your motorcycle rental with our approved local rental agency, in accordance with your selection. Your rental includes your motorcycle, equipped with side panniers. Further accessories are available at an additional charge (eg tank bag, top box, GPS etc). Your rental covers unlimited mileage and the insurance is third party liability with CDW (Collision, Damage, Waiver) insurance with an excess of US$1500 for Thailand only. For Laos, third party liability only is available.
On arrival, you are required to sign the local rental agency terms and conditions of hire – please request these, if you require sight in advance. You will also have to leave a credit card as a guarantee against damages. We advise you to check your rental motorcycle carefully and to take photographs on any pre-existing damage when you collect it.
Please note that on rare occasions we may need to substitute you choice of motorcycle for something similar.
What documents do I need?
You will need your original documents as follows: Passport, Driving Licence, International Driving Permit. In addition you must have travel/medical insurance (compulsory requirement). As visa requirements are dependent on your nationality and can be complex, with constantly changing requirements, we would direct you to our appointed visa agency for advice. www.thevisamachine.com
What about flights?
For clarity, we do not include your passenger flights. Once we have confirmed that this tour is a guaranteed departure, it is your responsibility to organise your own flights to and from the start and end point. You need to book an outward flight to our start point, Chiang Mai to arrive no later than around 2pm. The earliest leave date is any time on 16 January from Chiang Mai.
What is the weather like?
January is a great time to visit Thailand. It is in the middle of the dry season and you should expect average temperatures of around 27C degrees. On this basis, make sure your riding gear has good venting!
What about my health when I am abroad?
It is a condition of your travel with us that you have in place travel / medical insurance to cover you for medical treatment and repatriation if you suffer any illness or injury when on the expedition, including any injury sustained from riding or being a passenger on a motorcycle.
Before you travel, we strongly recommend that you visit your GP or a specialised travel clinic to get advice on the recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures needed for the countries on this trip. As background, the websites listed below may prove useful.
Please note that outside of Bangkok, there may not be the same level of medical infrastructure nor consistent medical standards that you may be used to. In particular, emergency services often may be a long distance away, with no co-ordinated response, or sometimes no medical response available within reasonable times.