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11 Day Ho Chi Minh Trail Guided Motorcycle Tour in Laos from North to South
This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences

This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences


(No availability) 11 Day Ho Chi Minh Trail Guided Motorcycle Tour in Laos from North to South

Luang Prabang, Laos

Exploring Laos Motorcycle Tours

Stretching from the north of Vietnam and traveling right down to what was then Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City, in the south of the country. In reality, it is not just one trail, but a collection of seemingly thousands of back roads and trails that scythe through the achingly beautiful landscapes of Laos, passing through everything from deep valleys lined with rice paddies to dense jungles far from civilization. It is a truly epic route and for motorcycle riders, a true bucket-list motorcycle tour. Come and enjoy it!

Key information

  • Bike: rental bike (Honda CRF250L)
  • Terrain: mix of asphalt and off-road
  • Mileage: 1,745 kilometers / 1,084 miles
  • Daily rides: 80 - 260 kilometers / 50 - 162 miles
  • Meals: all meals

Highlights

  • Go through fast-paced dirt roads
  • Pass river crossings on small wooden boats
  • Starts in Luang Prabang and ends in Champasak
  • Snake alongside the Nam Kham River as you approach Luang Prabang
  • Take a boat trip through a cave nearly seven kilometres long with your bike
  • Enjoy steep rocky hills, river crossings, and winding dirt roads
  • Meet with members of remote hill tribes
  • 10 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate

Styles


9 riding days
Airport transfer included: Luang Prabang International Airport
Airport transfer included: Pakse International Airport
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Accommodation

During this tour, you will stay overnight at various accommodations along the route including luxury riverside resort with a pool, luxury resort with a pool, luxurious riverside resort, guesthouses, town hotel, private campsite with individual tents, beautiful hilltop cottages (each equipped with open wood fires and surrounded by pine tree forest), and luxury hotel with a pool.

Ride Expeditions uses excellent quality accommodations where they are available. In the smaller towns and villages, you will stay in the best available accommodation. Please be aware that this can sometimes be quite basic but that is all part of the experience. Ride Expeditions promotes bullying of those that sit on your phones too much. If you are caught on Facebook at the dinner table, it is an instant 5 USD fine that goes towards that night's drinks bill.

Program

NORTH TO SOUTH ITINERARY

Day 1: Luang Prabang

If it’s your first time in this stunning country and arriving in Luang Prabang will be a treat for all your senses! This vibrant and exciting town on the banks of the Mekong with its beautifully colourful buildings, amazing cooking smells, and the noise of the bustling markets could hardly be a better place to start your adventure. It’s a truly enchanting place to get you into the spirit of Laos.

With riders arriving from all over the world, Ride Expeditions will be there to pick you up from the airport and travel the short distance to the town and your luxury hotel. There will be a chance to cool off in the pool in the afternoon before a delicious welcome meal and a chance to meet your new riding buddies. Then, you’ll go exploring into Luang Prabang with its vibrant streets, fabulous riverside bars, and of course, the infamous Laos beer. What a great way to begin your holiday!

  • Accommodation: Luxury hotel with a pool.
  • Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

Day 2: Luang Prabang - Phonsavanh (195 kilometer / 121 miles)

It’s the first day of the tour and after breakfast, it’s time to check out the bikes and get them adjusted for the journey ahead. Once you’re ready to go, you’ll head out of Luang Prabang towards the south of the town and head for the lazy curves of the Nam Kham river. Your route for the day is a wonderfully scenic start to the tour as the Ho Chi Minh trail follows the river for mile after mile of fantastic riding. This is what you came for and it’s truly stunning.

As the day goes on, you’ll move away from the river plain and start to climb up into the hills that rise above the lowlands. As you gain altitude, the temperature starts to drop; so you might need to stop and add a layer or two as you head to your destination for the evening: the remote hilltop village of Phonsavanh. But don’t worry, you’re staying in tiny little cottages and each one has a log fire to keep you cosy and what a wonderful way to end the day! Phonsavanh is a chilly place, so please remember to pack warm layers for this afternoon / tomorrow mornings ride.

  • Accommodation: Beautiful hilltop cottages (each equipped with open wood fires and surrounded by pine tree forest)
  • Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 3: Phonsavanh - Muang Mok (110 kilometer / 68 miles)

Starting the day high in the mountains, the trails today are truly epic, from sweeping dirt trails and narrow winding tracks as you head towards Muang Mok. The scenery is truly epic from the get-go, so Ride Expeditions will allow plenty of time for photo stops and selfies! You may have time to call in to the Mines Advisory Group and hear more about the history of the region and their efforts to make the country safe again, but don’t worry, your route is definitely mine free!

The riding is a bit more challenging today, so you’re not going for massive distances. But don’t think the riding isn’t epic as the landscapes and vistas on this part of the ride are exceptional. Considering Laos is so beautiful, it’s a complete mystery that so few people actually visit the country; but Ride Expeditions is happy to keep it as a secret! The wonderful trails eventually take you to the small town of Muang Mok hidden in the mountains like a mighty eagle’s eyrie, where you will spend the night. This is something special, it really is!

  • Accommodation: Guesthouse
  • Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 4: Muang Mok - Konglor (260 kilometer / 162 miles)

So, after a tasty breakfast in your mountaintop guesthouse, it’s time to kit up and get ready for your fourth day. After a couple of easy days, today steps up the distance with over 250 kilometers to travel, but with landscapes like this, it’s no chore! You’ll travel through tiny and fascinating hill villages of Khmu and Hmong, places so far off the beaten track that few Westerners have ever witnessed them. You can count yourselves truly blessed to spend time with the warm and friendly people in these remote communities.

Through the course of the day, you’ll be climb up into the Nam Kading mountain range, your trails snaking through the stunning scenery as you continue south. You really won’t want this day to end! As the sun begins to dip from the sky, you’ll start to drop down from the mountains and follow the blacktop towards Konglor and the stunning riverside resort that is waiting for you, complete with a delicious dinner and a crackling firepit.

  • Accommodation: Luxurious riverside resort
  • Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

DAY 5: Konglor - Nakhai (80 kilometer / 50 miles)

After the long day in the saddle yesterday, today is a bit different. After a leisurely breakfast as the sun starts to warm the day, you’ll jump on the bikes for a short but beautiful ride through a deep valley and down to the stunning Konglor Cave. But don’t think you’re putting on overalls and lamps and going caving as Konglor Cave is a stunning seven-kilometre-long river cave, so with your bikes expertly loaded onto individual boats by the support crew, you’ll float gently on the crystal-clear water through the vast caverns. You want adventure? It doesn’t get much better than this.

The support truck and crew will meet you at the end of the cave to unload the bikes while you enjoy a cold drink and you might even fancy a bit of a swim! Suitably blissed out, you’ll remount and follow the road the short distance away from the valley and down to yet another stunning overnight stop at a private campsite on the banks of the Nam Thern lake. As you freshen up, the team will fire up the barbie and you can dine like kings as the sun goes down.

  • Accommodation: Private campsite with individual tents
  • Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 6: Nakhai - Xepon (240 kilometer / 149 miles)

Waking up on the banks of the lake is one of those moment’s you’ll never forget, but with some distance to travel today, you’ll have to tear yourselves away after breakfast to press on. Once away from the campsite, you pick up an unexpectedly smooth ribbon of tarmac that is a joy to ride and helps you click up some miles. Heading towards lunch, it’s time for another bit of water to negotiate, and this time you’ll be balancing those bikes between a pair of rickety looking canoes to cross a wide and gentle river. If you’ve not done this before, try to keep your nerve and definitely no wobbling. Ride Expeditions has not lost a bike yet and they don’t want to start!

Lunch is waiting for you on the other side thanks to the local villagers, so it’s a time to stock up on a variety of tasty and often unknown snacks and spend time taking in the scenery. But if this is good, the afternoon gets even better as you head into what Ride Expeditions' head honcho, Toby, has dubbed ‘Swiss Cheese Valley’ and you’ll see why straight away.

Your route will take you through the vast Hin Nam No National park, with a stunning variety of trails throughout the afternoon, as you head towards Vilabouly, one of the biggest sites for the Laos’ gold mining industry. The final part of the day is a long a technical dirt road that will take you into the town of Xepon. After a night under a canvas, you’re back into a hotel and the creature comforts. Time for a Laos beer!

  • Accommodation: Town hotel
  • Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

DAY 7: Xepon - Ta-Oy - Xepon (230 kilometer / 143 miles)

Leave your bags in the room and give your laundry to the concierge as today you're on a circular route that will bring you back to Xepon in the evening. After a hearty breakfast, you head a short way up the road to visit the Laos-Vietnam War Museum, a fascinating display of the weapons of the conflict accompanied by explanations of just how Laos fitted into this terrible war. It’s a sobering experience that ties in the history of the trail that you are following.

After that, you’ll be ready for a bit more riding, so it’s time to jump on the dirt bikes and head due south towards the longest bamboo bridge in the country. But you’re not there to just look; you’re riding over that bad-boy, so buckle up and focus on where you’re going as it only moves up and down and side to side at the same time. There’s still a lot of unexploded bombs on the far side of the river, so you’ll be keeping very firmly to the safe route as you head away and follow a fantastic mix of trails and dirt roads back to Xepon.

  • Accommodation: Town hotel
  • Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 8: Xepon - Paksong (255 kilometer / 158 miles)

It’s time to leave Xepon and continue your journey south, so after stocking up at breakfast you’re on the bikes again. Ride Expeditions thought that as you will have enjoyed wobbling about on a canoe quite so much, they’d fit in another river crossing, so no sooner than you’ve hit the road, it’s time to negotiate another thin ramp, and try not to think about falling in! Once the impossibly small boats reach the other side, it’s trail heaven as you travel through tiny villages, open country, and cool woodland glades in the course of the morning.

As the day progresses, the terrain changes from sweeping trails and deep sand to rocky climbs and steep downhills as you follow the Ho Chi Minh trail. At one point, you cross a river with a strong reminder of the war, as the remains of the bridge wrecked by American bombings still stand on the banks of the now peaceful water. This area was heavily shelled in the Vietnam conflict, but years after the bombs stopped falling the locals have turned the craters into fishing lakes and pools for the water buffalo or just for the children to play in.

Towards the end of the day’s riding, you’ll stop for a break and catch up with the indigenous people of the A-Lak tribe whose lives are lived almost unchanged for centuries. It’s an incredible experience, and the contrast in their lives to your own is all the more marked once you reach your luxury resort for the evening.

  • Accommodation: Luxury resort with a pool
  • Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 9: Paksong - Attapeau (230 kilometer / 143 miles)

It’s the last long day of riding of the tour but don’t worry as the Ho Chi Minh Trail still delivers big landscapes and fantastic riding. The first part of the day is on the main road over the massive Bolaven Plateau, before you drop down to the river and then up again. You’ll pass through remote villages and see the people of the fascinating hill tribes that are only seen in this part of Laos.

After lunch with the locals in Chaleunxai, it’s more fantastic riding along the trail that give astounding views over the forests that cover the rolling hills below, the scars of the battles now beneath the canopies of the trees. As you drop down, there’s military hardware littering the side of the trails wherever you look, from tanks and jeeps to bomb shells and bullets.

You’ll take a detour to see an enormous abandoned Russian missile; a stark reminder of the turbulent history of the region and the reason this trail exists! Your guesthouse for the night is in Paksong, a sleepy settlement and the ideal place for your last night on the trail and a few beers as the stars fill the night sky.

  • Accommodation: Guesthouse
  • Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 10: Attapeu - Champasak (145 kilometer / 90 miles)

It’s the last day’s riding but there are still some of the best trails till the end. Once you’ve finished breakfast, you’re going straight out and back on the bikes, so drop the clutch and head for the hills! Today’s riding brings you everything from tiny and twisting local tracks and ox-cart trails through the dense forests and it’s some of the best off-road trails you will ride and you’ll love it.

The Ho Chi Minh trail continues on into the splendour of the Xe Pian National Park, cutting a meandering path through the wonderful Laos landscape as you head towards the Mekong again. You board a ferry to take you across the swirling depths of the massive river before picking up another sweet trail that follows the water towards Champasak, your final destination for the tour.

As a place to finish the tour, this beautiful riverside resort is perfect. You’ll ride to your luxurious hotel and celebrate your achievement with a cool beer that will be waiting for you as you arrive. After a quick shower and a freshen up, it’s time for a proper celebration, so you’ll head into the town for a night of tall tales and cocktails overlooking the Mekong once again.

  • Accommodation: Luxury riverside resort with a pool
  • Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

Day 11: Champasak

The following day, if you’re going home straight away, Ride Expeditions will take you on to the airport in Pakse, just a short drive away. If you are meeting up with partners to continue your exploration of the beauty of Laos, then Ride Expeditions will wave you goodbye and look forward to riding with you again.

Skill levels

Beginner

  • Can ride for two to three hours
  • Minimal riding experience
  • Assistance required
  • Comfortable with curves and leans
  • Basic experience with unsurfaced roads
  • Short distance ascents and descents

Intermediate

  • Can ride for three to four hours
  • Average riding experience
  • Little assistance required
  • Comfortable with extreme curves and leans
  • Average experience with unsurfaced roads
  • Steep ascents and descents

Motorcycles

Kawasaki KLX 250 or 300

Ride Expeditions uses the new fuel injected (2013+) models of the ever faithful Kawasaki KLX250, most of which they bore out to 300 cubic centimeters to improve the performance. All of these bikes have been modified with strong handlebars, hand guards, performance exhausts, and fuel controllers or engine control units (ECU’s). This machine is the perfect trail bike to reliably and comfortably take you on an adventure of Cambodia.

Yamaha WR450F

If you are looking for a powerhouse trail bike, it does not get much better than the awesome Yamaha WR450F. Equipped with an astonishingly powerful yet usable motor, the fuel-injected Yamaha has legions of fans all over the world from Brisbane to Baja. For Cambodian tours, the WRF makes light work of the sweeping dirt roads but is precise and controllable in the deep jungle trails, just right for the more experienced off-road rider.

Included excursions

During this holiday, you will visit Phnom Penh, the bustling Russian Market, Killing Fields Memorial or the Genocide Museum, Khone waterfalls, Kong Island, Laos-Vietnam War Museum in Xepon, Konglor Cave, and Mine Advisory Group (MAG) Information Center. You will meet the people of the A-Lak tribe, spot the incredibly rare Irrawaddy dolphins, and take a boat trip through a cave nearly seven kilometers long.

Location

The tour will take place along the Ho Chi Minh trail from Luang Prabang to Champasak and the other way around in Laos. You will go through Attapeu, Paksong, Xepon, Nakhai, Konglor, Muang Mok, and Phonsavanh. For all the beauty of the trail, as it is today, the origins of the Ho Chi Minh trail are far from peaceful. Between 1959 and 1975, the trail provided a vital route for the Viet Cong to transport arms and supplies to help in their resistance to the American forces during the Vietnam war.

Such was the importance of the supply route to the communist forces, the US dropped over half a million tonnes of bombs onto the trail in Cambodia and a staggering three million tonnes in Laos in an ultimately unsuccessful effort to stem the flow of arms to the Vietnamese fighters.

Forty years later, the Ho Chi Minh trail is an altogether more agreeable place to be. It still cuts through the landscape, but where there were bomb-ravaged vistas, there is now mile after mile of stunning sceneries and beautiful tribal villages of friendly and welcoming people. The debris of the war has been recycled, so village huts are supported on enormous bomb casings and spent artillery shells are now pressed into use as flower planters and animal drinking troughs. This is a very special place.

Food

All meals are included in the price. If you do not like rice, noodles, vegetables, or spicy Asian food; you are going to be very hungry for ten days. If you really cannot stomach the idea of going Asian for more than 24 hours, Ride Expeditions will do what they can to cater to you. They will let you know when Western food options are available and where possible provide Western-style lunches such as baguette sandwiches imported meats, cheeses, crisps, and fruits.

While they cannot make guarantees, they will always pass on any dietary requirements to places that you eat. That said for a lot of the tour you will be in rural areas, so trying to explain lactose intolerance is trickier than in a city center wholefood restaurant in Sydney. The food in both countries is both plentiful and delicious, but if there are any ingredients that are going to cause you real issues, let them know.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Your motorcycle tour up the Ho Chi Minh trail will not disappoint. Riding some of the best tracks in southeast Asia, you will be accompanied and supported by a team of guides, mechanics, and an expedition medic at every moment. When you are not riding bikes on the sweeping and joyful tracks and roads, you will stay in accommodations from luxury hotels with infinity pools to tents in the middle of the Mekong River.

You will see some of the rarest dolphins in the world, take a boat trip through a cave nearly seven kilometers long (with your bike), meet with members of remote hill tribes, and swim in a blue lagoon before sinking a cool beer while watching the sunset.

What's included

  • Bike rental of your choice
  • Western medic riding with the group
  • GEOS search and rescue cover
  • 4×4 support vehicle and spare motorcycle
  • Professional local guides / mechanic(s)
  • 10 nights accommodation as per itinerary
  • All fuel
  • All meals as per itinerary
  • Ride Expeditions' personalised travel app for android and IOS
  • Ride Expeditions' riding jersey
  • Welcome pack
  • Airport pickup
  • Entrance fees / crossings, etc.
  • A percentage of tour profits to a local charity / school
  • 1 tree planted on your behalf

What's not included

  • Personal travel insurance
  • Flights
  • Motorcycle damages - 500 GBP security to be 'held' on your card
  • Motorcycle damage insurance: 205 GBP
  • Meals not listed in the itinerary​
  • Visa - approximately 30 USD
  • Alcohol
  • Other personal expenses
  • Emergency transportation

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Luang Prabang International Airport (LPQ) and the departure should be from Pakse International Airport (PKZ). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Ride Expeditions will pick you up from the airport.

Airport: Luang Prabang International Airport Airport transfer included: Luang Prabang International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.
Airport: Pakse International Airport Airport transfer included: Pakse International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 15% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
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