Phantastic and untouched Landscapes covered by tropical forest and a matchless density of Ethnic minorites are the key features of the region known as the “Golden Triangle” which covers parts of southern China, northern Laos and Thailand and is connected by the Mekong. Our route will lead you from Jinghong in South Yunnan through a natural reserve in Luang Namtha to beautiful Luang Prabang. From Lao’s ancient imperial capital we take a chartered boat upstream, traveling two days on the mighty Mekong to the Thai border-town Chiang Khong. After three more days of cycling in Thailand and a boat trip on the Kok river we spend the last two days of our tour in Chiang Mai.
- Difficulty • 3/3
- Days Total • 23
- Active days • 17
- Cycled Distance • 750 km
- China By Bike Tour Guide plus additional Local Guide in Laos
- Baggage Transfer and Support Vehicle
- Bicycle Rent
- Flight from Kunming to Jinghong
- Flights to and from China
- Entrance Fees
Arrival In Kunming And Onward Flight To Jinghong
Individual journey to Kunming, joint onward flight to Jinghong. After arriving in the hotel we go on a first stroll through the alleys around our hotel and have a welcome dinner in one of the local restaurants.
Jinghong, the capital of the Dai Autonomous Prefecture Xishuangbanna, functions as China's gate to South-East Asia. For the Dai (Thai) people, once powerful rulers over South Western China, this prefecture is the last enclave within the PRC. In the morning, we prepare our bicycles and set out for a first little day trip around the city, passing Dai style Buddhist temples and paddy fields on our way.
- Day Trip
To The Dai Village Ganlanba
The first stage of our tour takes us to Ganlanba, a Dai (Thai) village at the Mekong known for its well preserved traditional wood houses and temples. In the evening we have a Dai style dinner in one of the village's typical pile dwellings.
- 46 km distance
Botanical Garden In Menglun
We cycle through pineapple fields and banana plantations and reach Menglun around noon. In the afternoon we have time to explore the city's impressive botanical garden which boasts over 3.000 types of tropical plants and flowers.
- 41 km distance
Over the Hills to Mengla
On today's challenging stage, we pass through villages of the Dai, Hani and Ailao and cross three mountain passes to reach Mengla. Stunning views over Xishuangbanna's tropical forests and hills will be the deserved reward for our climbs.
- 96 km distance
To The Chinese Border
We ride leisurely through scenic tea plantations and reach the Chinese-Laotian border at Mohan in the early afternoon. The booming border town features a lively mixture of Chinese, Lao, Thai, Burmese and hilltribe people who come here to trade their produce.
- 57 km distance
First Day In Laos
It is time to say good-bye to China and hello to Laos! We cross the border in the morning and cycle through nice hilly terrain to Luang Namtha which lies beautifully in a mountain plateau, surrounded by paddy fields. In the afternoon, we have time to relax and and have a first cup of Café Lao. Two nights stay in a Bungalow resort.
- 59 km distance
Today, you can either have a day of rest or join us on a little ride on the fertile plateau. We can have a look at the local silk weaving production in one of the villages near Luang Namtha.
- Day trip
Ride To Oudomxai
The destination of today's stage is Oudomxai. We will notice many Chinese traders and merchants who have settled here and have given this place a distinct Chinese flair.
- 117 km distance
Along The River Phak To Muang Khua
After one climb in the morning, we follow the gentle course of river Phak until it merges into River Ou at Muang Khua. We stay one night in a simple hotel.
- 100 km distance
Boat Trip On The Nam Ou
On a small boat the driver naivigates us through the currents of picturesque Nam Ou. We arrive in peaceful Muang Ngoi in the afternoon. In this village which can only be reached by boat we stay one night in bungalows.
In the morning drive one hour by boat to Nong Kiaw. Back on our bicycles, we ride on rolling terrain to Pak Nam Nga, where we stay one night as guests of a Lao family.
- 59 km distance
Cycling To Luang Prabang
On our last cycling stage in Laos we follow the Ou River downstream until it reaches the Mekong. Located beautifully at the banks of the mighty river lies Luang Prabang. Our hotel is an old colonial Building which is built in a combination of french and laotian architectural styles. It is located right next to the Mekong, close to the centre of the historic city.
- 86 km distance
The Imperial City Luang Prabang
Together we explore the main attractions of the former imperal city. We visit magnificent buddhist temples and the former king palace. In the evening we stroll over the city's famous night market and enjoy the Laotian cuisine in a restaurant at the bank of the Mekong.
Free Time In Luang Prabang
Today you will have free time to relax and take it easy. You can enjoy some cake and coffee in one of the city's pretty cafés, go shopping for souvenirs or explore a few more of Luang Prabang's numerous temples and atmospheric little streets.
Day 16 - 17
River Cruise On The Mekong
Since thousands of years the Mekong has been the source of life for the people living in this region. For the next two days, we go on a cruise 300 km upstream, staying overnight in the town of Pak Beng. On the second day our spacious chartered boat takes us all the to Huay Xai, where we cross the newly built bridge to Thailand in the afternoon. On the Thai side of the river lies Chiang Khong, where we stay one night in a Guesthouse at the riverside.
Cycling from Chiang Khong to Chiang Rai
On our first stage in Thailand, we cycle mainly on quiet side roads to reach Chiang Rai in the late afternoon.
- 104 km distance
Boat Trip On The Kok River
From Chiang Rai we take a small boat to drive up the fast currents of the Kok. On the way we can stop to visit a village of the Karen or Akha minority. The last few kilometers to Thaton we once more travel on our bicycles.
- 20 km distance
Cycling From Thaton To Chiang Dao
Today's cycling once more features fantastic landscapes: After lunch, the road winds up the hills and runs through areas covered by Thailand's native forest. In the afternoon we arrive in Chiang Dao.
- 100 km distance
Final Destination: Chiang Mai
On our last proper cycling stage, we avoid the main road to Chiang Mai as much as we can, cycling through villages and fields on flat terrain. In the evening we go for stroll over Chiang Mai's night market and try some of the local specialities.
- 86 km distance
Chiang Mai and the Doi Suthep
As our last venture, we have the option to cycle up to the famous Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, which lies just outside Chiang Mai on a hill. Doi Suthep is hailed to be one of Thailand's most beautiful temples and features beautiful views on Chiang Mai and its surroundings. Farewell dinner in the evening.
- Day trip
Individual return journey from Chiang Mai.