Northern Thailand & Laos

P1010457Northern 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 for a shorter motorbike tour Northern Thailand and North West Laos, through areas of spectacular mountainous beauty, an1995d 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 our motorcycles close to the Chinese border, enjoy spectacular mountain riding to Luang Prabang a UNESCO World Heritage Site, relax with  Beer Lao in Vientiane, and delight in hundreds of miles of empty twisting roads through lush jungle landscapes, 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

14

Duration (days)

1 8 5 0

Miles Covered

Moderate

Riding difficulty

2%

Unpaved Roads

Medium

Culture Shock

At a glance

Duration (days): 14
Miles Covered: 1850
Riding difficulty: Moderate
Unpaved Roads: 2%
Culture Shock: Medium

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 Rider
Shared Room
Single Supplement Passenger
Shared Room
Bike Rental
Jan 7 – 20, 2018 £2,495 £625 £1,995 BMW F 800 GS: £1,495
BMW R 1200 GS: £1,995

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: £2,495
Single Supplement: £625
Passenger Shared Room: £1,995
Bike Rental: BMW F 800 GS: £1,495
BMW R 1200 GS: £1,995
  • A 14 day motorcycle tour of Thailand & Laos adventure riding the best motorcycle roads on offer!

    • Test your cornering on the thrilling “Road of 1864 Curves ” between Mae Hong Son and Mae Taeng, an incredible route of swooping bends through the lush green jungle of the North.
    • Visit the highest mountain in Thailand (Doi Inthanon), 2,565 meters and see the Long Neck Women of the Kayan Tribe, famous for the brass rings that they wear around their necks.
    • Explore the Golden Triangle, the region where Thailand, Kyanmar and Laos meet, and made famous by Khun Sa, once one of the world’s most infamous drug king, who even had his own private army.
    • Our tour of Laos takes us to within 20 miles of the Chinese Border – let’s take a look!
    • Laos and spectacular mountain riding to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Luang Prabang, home to 33 gilded wats, saffron-clad monks, faded Indochinese villas and exquisite Gallic cuisine.
    • Take a ride along “Lima Site 6”, a secret US runway during the Vietnam War, and located in the village of Van Vieng.
    • Ride alongside the Mekong River and the mountains of Phu Ruea.

    ROUTE MAP 

    For illustration only and is not to be relied on as accurate.

  • This is a 14 day, 13 night tour with 12 days of motorcycle rental.  The overall itinerary is approximately 1700 miles.

    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 Sukhothai (186 miles)
    Lovely rural roads, with little traffic, through small Thai villages.  Our destination is Sukhothai which literally means “Dawn of Happiness”, capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom in the 13th and 14th centuries. Don’t miss to visit the Sukhothai Historical Park, an UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Inside are the remains of the Royal Palace and twenty-six temples, the largest being Wat Mahathat

    9 January 2018.  Day 3 – Sukhothai to Pue  Ruea (200 miles)
    We take the enjoyably twisty road towards Lom Kao, climbing up the mountain and passing through Phu Hin Rongkla National Park, where in January the Himalayan Cherry (pink Sakura) is at full bloom.  These roads pass through scenic lush green mountain landscapes.

    10 January 2018.  Day 4 – Phu Ruea – Vientiane, Laos (190 miles)
    More of the mountains of Phu Ruea towards the Mekong and reach Chiang Khan, and a spot of lunch alongside the river.  We’ll follow the Mekong River eastwards towards the Friendship Bridge in Nongkhai, which we cross and enter Laos.  The capital, Vientiane, is a delightfully friendly city, studded with crumbling French mansions, bougainvillea-blooming streets and steaming noodle stalls.  Enjoy a Beer Lao at sunset by the river!

    11 January 2018.  Day 5 – Vientiane to Van Vieng (119 miles)
    We ride the back roads through villages and rice fields towards Van Vieng. During the 1964-73 Vietnam War, the US constructed an air force base and runway here and you can ride down the old crumbling airstrip, known as “Lima site 6”, which splits the town in two.  Van Vieng has a spectacular setting on the Nam Song River, with its limestone karst hill landscape surrounding the town.

    12 January 2018.  Day 6 – Van Vieng to Luang Prabang (155 miles)
    The road to Kasi heralds a 100 mile wild stretch of highway along steep ridges and around hairpin bends, with headlong views of rugged valleys and remote mountains as far as the eye can see. There are plenty of scenic photo stops on this road, including villages. In Kasi, we take the newly build road towards Luang Prabang.  Luang Prabang, with its gleaming temple roofs, fading French architecture and stunning mountain backdrop, has been claimed by the UNESCO to be ‘the best preserved city in South East Asia’. In the evening you can enjoy a deserved dinner by the Mekong River.
    giant buddha on Mekong river (Large)

    13 January 2018. Day 7 – Luang Prabang
    This is a rest day, but there is the opportunity to rise very early to view the procession of monks on their daily outing collecting alms, a practice that dates back centuries.  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.

    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!

     

    14 January 2018.  Day 8 – Luang Prabang to Luang Nam Tha (194 miles)
    Passing villages, rice fields on lovely traffic free curvy roads, today’s ride leads us to Luang Namtha, which lies on the banks of the Nam Tha River.  It’s a small, simple town close to the Chinese border.

    15 January 2018.  Day 9 – Luang Nam Tha to Golden Triangle, Thailand  (156 miles)
    These superb winding country roads continue to the border, where we re-enter Thailand and head to the Golden Triangle region, where the Mekong splits Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.

    16 January 2018.  Day 10 – Golden Triangle
    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.

    17 January 2018.  Day 11 – Golden Triangle to Pai (225 miles)
    Today, a stop at the huge Choui Fong Tea plantations is worthwhile, as well as seeing the Doi Mae Salong Village Market or diverting in Thaton to enjoy a splendid view from Wat Thaton over the town.  Then it’s the famous “Road of 1864 bends” (the H1095) – lots of twisties over the mountains to Pai! A few miles before Pai you can stop at an iconic Memorial Bridge.

    18 January 2018.  Day 12 – Pai to Mae Hong Son (110 miles)
    A relaxed riding day with lots of bends and superb view points. We have the option to head to the small Chinese Village of Ban Rak Thai for lunch by the lake (48kms in and out). This afternoon, we also visit the Long Neck Karen Village, by taking a small boat there in the afternoon. The Karen, a tribal minority, historically lived in the hills on the Myanmar side of the border. Some of their women wear heavy brass rings around their necks, forearms, and shins.

    19 January 2018. Day 13 – Mae Hong Son to Chiang Mai (183 miles)
    More great winding roads, with lots to see to finish our final riding day.  There’s the local war museum in Khun Yuam, visit Doi Inthanon (Thailand’s highest mountain) and the Royal Pagodas, see the 80m high Wachiratham Waterfall!  It’s a final 50km blast on the main road back to Chiang Mai.  Drop off the bikes and head out for a Farewell Group Evening Dinner.

    20 January 2018.  Day 14 – Chiang Mai – Home
    Transfer to Chiang Mai 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

    • The assurance of booking with a UK tour operator and knowing that your money paid in advance is protected.
    • Tour information package including GPS Route riding and safety tips, details about the hotels, the route and the sights
    • Access to the GlobeBusters Team for one to one meeting about preparing for the tour and what to expect.

    En Route

    • Transfers between Chiang Mai Airport to the hotel
    • 13 nights at good quality and comfortable hotels or resorts on a bed & breakfast basis
    • 2 Evening Dinners (including soft drinks, but not alcohol)
    • Local overnight hotel parking charges.
    • Activities – Tour to Long Neck Village, Mekong Boat Tour (Golden Triangle), Half day tour in Luang Prabang with local guide

    Support Crew

    • GlobeBusters Motorcycle Tour Leader on a motorcycle to accompany the group
    • Local Support Driver and Vehicle, equipped with satellite phone, spare fuel, water, tools, selected spare parts and emergency first aid kit, acting as a sweeper vehicle

    Motorcycle Hire

    This is organised by us with the local motorcycle rental provider.   Your rental fee includes:

    • 12 days motorcycle rental with unlimited mileage and side panniers.
    • GPS Mount (Zumo 660 or BMW Navigator IV / V or Zumo 390)
    • Third party liability insurance for motorcycles in Thailand & Laos
    • Comprehensive vehicle motorcycle insurance with deductible of USD 1,500,- for Thailand (but not for Laos).
    • Laos Permits for Motorcycles

    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.

    Not Included

    • Return passenger airline flights to get to the start and from the finish point for the tour.
    • Personal travel, accident and medical insurance
    • Entrance fees to sights and parks, optional excursions, meals (all except where stated).
    • Personal spending money, tips, souvenirs or other extras.
    • Personal documentation (eg visas, passport), vaccinations, personal taxes, border crossing fees.
    • Fuel, oil & other motorcycle consumables, toll road fees, traffic fines.
    • We do not supply riding gear; you must bring your own helmet, jacket, trousers and gloves.
    • Any other item not specifically included in the price.

    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 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 Chiang Mai. 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.

    Please also refer to our terms and conditions.

     

  • beautiful bends (Large)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.

    P1010473

    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.

    http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/
    http://www.masta-travel-health.com/

    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.