Motorcycle travel in Laos is not without risks but the rewards of truly independent travel are great. There are several rental shops in Vientiane only and bike rentals in other parts of the country are few. Quality of machines varies from shop to shop so you need to fully inspect your new friend before you head out on the road.
There are many good roads and many paved ones and touring Laos is done easily.
Most bikes in Laos are Honda Baja or XR 250 dual purpose bikes and anything else is usually mechanically questionable. Helmets are not only mandatory in the country but a valuable item in a place where traffic rules are made up by the minute.
There is an operator in Laos that offers not only bike rentals but full support and tour guidance for self drive trips, Remote Asia Travel based in Vientiane.
Cycling is a great option with quiet roads. Laos offers wonderful remote areas to discover, very little traveled roads, friendly people and even some companies providing cycling tours with the help of professional guides all over the country.
The more time people seem to spent in Laos the more they seem to like the quiet travel mood and the opportunity to actually be in contact with the people along the way.
Good maps are available about the roads in Laos and all major routes are with good roads.
In normal distances you find simple guest houses and in all major towns better choices and restaurant. Food is not a problem as long as you remember to carry some stuff with you. Tropical fruits and noddle soup is one of the standards.
There are two local operators running a wide selection of guided mountain biking tours through Laos:
- "Biking-Laos.com based in Luang Prabang" (www.biking-laos.com)
- "Greendiscovery" operating from Vientiane and Luang Prabang (www.greendiscoverylaos.com)
A thing to note if you travel on your own...there are very few proper bike shops outside of Vientiane but also for bikes with 28 inches wheels you would have a hard time. Bring your equipment with you and make sure you get contact details to a supplier maybe from Thailand (Chiang Mai or Bangkok)
Some may prefer the speed of a motorbike, note that some roads are still not brilliant condition for a scooter due to the poor balance of those chinese imports.
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