This Ho Chi Minh Trail motorcycle tour traverses some of the best tracks in Southeast Asia.
When you are not riding the bikes on the sweeping and joyful tracks and roads, you’ll stay in everything from luxury hotels to campsites alongside lakes. You’ll take a boat trip through a cave nearly 7 kilometres 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.
Oh, and you’ll also have a BBQ on an old CIA airbase runway in a location known as ‘The Most Secret Place on Earth’! This is a motorcycle adventure tour worthy of every bikers bucket list.
You’ll be picked up from the airport and driven alongside the mighty Mekong river through truly stunning landscapes down to Champasak.
You’ll stay at a beautiful riverside resort which marks the start point for your epic adventure and there will be a chance to cool off in one of the pools before a sunset briefing of the adventure ahead.
We’ll then enjoy a welcome dinner and get to know each other over a drink or two.The bikes will be ready and waiting, so we’ll also have the chance to make some adjustments before hitting the road tomorrow.
It’s the first day of riding on this Ho Chi Minh Trail motorcycle tour and after breakfast you’ll hop on the bikes and ride alongside the Mekong to reach your first Laos ferry crossing. From there it’s dirt roads and trails up towards the Xe Pian National Park.
We then head onto tiny and twisting local tracks and ox-cart trails through the dense forests to take you to your first overnight stop on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The riding is truly wonderful, but you’ll have to concentrate on the many creek crossings if you don’t want to be the first one to take a dip – but don’t worry, it’s so warm you’ll hardly notice!
Start the day with a quick blast along the blacktop to visit an enormous abandoned Russian missile. It’s a stark reminder of the turbulent history of the Ho Chi Minh trail, and great for selfies!
After this it’s onto a wonderful mix of dirt trails that climb up into the hills and there’s more military hardware littering the side of the trails, from tanks to bomb shells. The trails continue to climb to give astounding views over the forests that cover the rolling hills below, the scars of the battles now hidden beneath the canopies of the trees.
Take a break for a delicious lunch with the local people in Chaleunxai before heading on upwards to over 1300m and into the villages of remote hill tribes that are unique to southern Laos.
The day continues as you cross a new bridge over a wide river below and pick up the main road towards the wide Bolaven Plateau and on to the evening’s accommodation at a beautifully picturesque and luxurious garden resort. After 230km a cool beer is a welcome sight!
It’s another long day today, but you’ll start with some tasty coffee grown in the plantations surrounding the resort.
Saddle up and travel along a sweeping dirt road to catch up with the indigenous people of the A-Lak tribe whose lives are lived almost unchanged for centuries. It’s an incredible experience.
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.
The first river crossing is another echo of the war, as the remains of the bridge wrecked by American bombings still stand on the banks of the now peaceful water. You’ll splash your way past and on to some fantastic trails, down steep hills, up inclines, through forest creeks and across every surface from chunky rocks to deep sand.
You’ll travel through cool woodland glades and tiny villages and finish the day’s ride crossing the final river of the day on impossibly small wooden boats to reach the town of Xepon.
Leave your bags in the room and hand your laundry to the concierge as today you are on a circular route that will bring you back to Xepon in the evening.
After a hearty breakfast you’ll 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 – it only moves up and down and side to side!
There’s still a lot of unexploded bombs on the far side of the river, so you’ll be keeping firmly to the safe route as you head away and follow a fantastic mix of trails and dirt roads back to Xepon.
Leaving Xepon, you’ll be straight onto a rough road on the way to Villabouly which is a one of the biggest sites for the gold mining industry in Laos.
It’s then onto rocky trails that will lead you through the vast Hin Nam No National park.
After this you enter what Ride Expeditions Head Honcho Toby has dubbed ‘Swiss Cheese Valley’ and you’ll see why straight away.
Having taken another tasty lunch with the local people it’s a river crossing on those rickety wooden boats again so try not to wobble about too much – you don’t want to be fishing for dirt bikes!
The last part of the day is on an unexpectedly smooth and flowing blacktop ribbon that will lead you to your campsite for the night on the banks of the Nam Thern Lake. While you sip on a cold one, the locals will fire up the barbie and you can dine like kings as the sun goes down. Does it get better than this??
As you’ve been racking up the miles, today is low on the distance and high on the scenery. You’ll leave the tents after a leisurely breakfast and head up a winding track that enters the deep valley that houses the entrance to the massive Konglor Cave.
With your bike loaded on the front of your own boat, you’ll float through the stunning seven kilometre long river cave all the way through to where the support truck will be waiting with cold drinks.
Suitably refreshed you might just want to go for a swim in the crystal-clear lagoon and just chill out. If you can drag yourself away, it’s back on the bikes for a short schlep on to your overnight stop at another great riverside resort where dinner and a crackling fire pit is waiting.
The morning ride is an easy one on a tarmac road through the beautiful landscape of the Nam Kading mountain range covered by dense tropical forest. After lunch in Thasi village you’ll hit the dirt and head towards tonights destination, stopping to visit villages of ‘lowland Lao’, ‘Hmong’ and ‘Khmu’ along the way.
You arrive in Xaysomboun – perched high up in the cool & misty mountains – this village is still untouched by tourism and you should arrive here in time to enjoy an incredible sunset across the hills.
Today you continue the ride on Revolution Road to Lima site 20A (Long Chen). Long Chen is home to a military base used by the CIA during the secret war in Laos and has only recently opened up to tourists. A 1200m runway sits surrounded by karst limestone hills in a truly spectacular setting. Long Chen is known as ‘The Most Secret Place on Earth’ – punch this into Youtube and have a watch – it’ll both amaze and anger you.
After you arrive at Long Chen you’ll visit the runway and get some incredible photos. You can also visit the house of General Vangphao, the leader of the Hmong forces during the secret war. You’ll then ride up to Phou Mok Mountain to a nice viewpoint overlooking Long Chien Village and the runway.
Spend the evening enjoying a BBQ on the runway – it’s a very strange feeling being surrounded by such beauty, yet thinking about what happened in this exact location in recent history.
Depart Long Chen with one final ride along the runway after which you ride through isolated mountain areas on your way through to Phonsavan and the Plain of Jars in Xiengkhouang Province. This area was heavily mined and bombed and remnants of the Indochina war can still be seen in the Hmong villages on the way.
You’ll explore ‘Site 2’ of the Plain of Jars and continue to Phonsavanh. You’ll stop at the MAG (Mine Advisory Group) information centre in the town to learn more about the UXO clearance projects in this area… after you’re journey up the Ho Chi Minh Trail and after last night’s experience at Long Chen, no one will judge you if this place brings tears to your eyes. It really is a sobering experience and an absolute must visit.
After visiting MAG, it’s a short ride up the hill to your accommodation – beautiful little cottages nested among a pine tree forest and a restaurant with roaring log fires – what a wonderful way to end the day.
It’s the final day of this Ho Chi Minh Trail motorcycle tour so after stocking up with another great breakfast you’ll jump on the bikes, drop the clutch and set out for the trails once more. The trails run alongside the Nam Kham river for mile after mile of epic riding as you head for the destination of Luang Prabang.
As a place to finish the tour, this vibrant and exciting town could not be better. Sitting on the banks on the mighty Mekong and teeming with shops and markets it’s the perfect end point for the tour.
You’ll ride into the hotel, ditch the riding kit and grab a shower before heading out for a farewell dinner in Luang Prabang to celebrate your achievement – 1900km over ten epic days. Raise a glass to that.
Enjoy the excellent hotel breakfast, take a stroll to one of the many cafes, or if times allows, take a trip out to the nearby Kuang Si waterfall. When it’s time to catch your flight, we’ll say our goodbyes, give man hugs and arrange for a taxi to take you to the airport!
Twin-share accommodation is included as standard – see ‘Optional Extras’ below for single room pricing.
On this trip we stay in a mix of guesthouses, luxurious resorts and camping.
Please see the daily itinerary info for more details on each nights accommodation.
You’ll be collected from Pakse (PKZ) airport on the morning of the first day. (You are of course welcome to arrive a day or two earlier, but there will be an extra cost for airport pickup).
At the end of the trip we will arrange transfers from our final hotel to Luang Prabang (LPQ) airport.
Your tour will be led and managed by a highly experienced member of the Ride Expeditions team (trained as a wilderness first response medic).
Ride Expeditions Ltd is committed to customer satisfaction and consumer financial protection. At no extra cost to you, and in accordance with ‘The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018’, all passengers booking with Ride Expeditions Ltd are fully insured for the initial deposit, and subsequently the balance of monies paid as detailed in your booking confirmation form.
The policy also includes repatriation if required, arising from the cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Ride Expeditions Ltd. This insurance has been arranged by Towergate Travel through Evolution Insurance.
During the COVID-19 crisis, every rider that requested a refund was issued a cash refund.
All fuel for your motorcycle is provided by us.
This motorcycle tour is accompanied by a GPS tracker that displays our live location and track history on an online map. We will provide you with the link and login details which you can then share with your family at home so they can track your progress throughout the trip.
This motorcycle tour will be guided by an experienced local Lao guide.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner is provided on most days.
Please see the daily itinerary to see what meals are included on each day.
A mechanic will be riding at the back of the group, ready to attend to any issues that may arise.
At least one member of the support team will have been trained as a Wilderness First Response medic.
An extensive medical kit including a defibrillator (AED) & stretcher is carried in the support vehicle.
We also have consulting doctors on call, 24/7, who are always ready to assist in the case of an emergency. Our doctors are fully briefed on all riders medical info prior to the tour, they know what we do, where we are riding, exactly what we have in our medical kit and what training our medics have.
Tours are accompanied by GPS trackers and a satellite messenger device so our doctor and office can see exactly where we are and can maintain communication.
If you have you your own suitable & reliable motorcycle at the start point, you are quite welcome to use that for this trip. If not, we will provide a rental motorcycle for you… Please see the Dates & Prices section for available bikes.
The cost of shipping the motorcycle to and from the start and finish destination is also included.
Since the day Ride Expeditions started running tours in Cambodia back in 2012, we have been dedicated to supporting the local community.
Part profits from every motorcycle tour are donated to M’Lop Tapang – a local Cambodian charity dedicated to bettering the lives of young children & their families.
A Ride Expeditions riding jersey with your name printed on the back.
This motorcycle tour of Laos is accompanied by a 4×4 support vehicle with a trailer and spare bike, equipped to carry your luggage, an extensive medical kit + stretcher + defibrillator (AED), drinking water, snacks, tools, spare parts and a satellite messaging device.
We’ll welcome you with a bag of Ride Expeditions goodies which will include:
You’ll need to book a flight to arrive in Pakse (PKZ) on or before the morning of Day 1 of this trip. You will then fly out of Luang Prabang (LPQ) airport on the last day of the trip.
It is important you either:
Please be aware that you are responsible for all damage caused to the motorcycle.See ‘Optional Extras’ below for ‘Motorcycle Damage Protection’.
It is a condition of booking that you obtain appropriate travel insurance that covers you for riding the same capacity motorcycle that you’ll be riding on this motorcycle tour.
The insurance must cover emergency evacuation, medical bills, repatriation etc.
Enduro / summer weight adventure style kit is the way to go on this motorcycle tour, rather than road riding kit. If you are opting for enduro kit, we’d recommend you bring extra layers and waterproofs to keep out the wet stuff.
You'll want some decent armoured protection and please do bear in mind that we will sometimes be riding on the road... 'dress for the slide, not the ride!'
Yes, please do 🤠 The 3g/4g network is extremely good in Laos and a $5 top up should easily be enough to last you the trip.
As this is a largely inclusive tour, you won’t need much. You will only need money for the items not listed as inclusions, which is mainly just alcohol, souvenirs and any other personal spending. $100 – $200 should be quite sufficient.
Yes – only 3 of the overnight accommodations don’t have wi-fi.
We only schedule our Laos motorcycle tours during the dry season, so we’re unlikely to get caught in too much rain (although it’s always possible, so we recommend bringing a lightweight waterproof layer that you can stuff into your backpack).
There will be a fairly wide range of temperatures, from as low as 10°c (possibly even lower if we’re unlucky!) in the hills, up to 35°c in the lower altitudes. It’s therefore important to carry a backpack with some extra layers inside.
Laos locals enjoy their meat and there is very little on the standard menu that is 100% vegetarian or vegan. While we never let you go hungry, and we will bring extra supplies with us if required, please be aware that the options will be quite limited. We’ll ask you about your dietary preferences in a pre-tour form and we’ll plan accordingly.
As for food allergies, we will make every effort to communicate your requirements to the kitchen. If you have concerns, please do get in touch so we can discuss these with you.
This depends where you are from originally, but the likelihood is that you’ll need a visa for Laos. You can get a tourist visa upon arrival at the airport or you can apply for an e-visa online in advance.
Follow this link for the most up to date entry requirements for Laos. This link to the UK foreign office website – if you are not a UK resident, please search for the equivalent info from your home country’s foreign office.
Visa costs, if applicable, are not included in the tour price.
To secure your place we simply need a 20% non-refundable deposit (subject to a minimum of £500). The remainder does not need to be paid until 60 days prior to the tour start date.
Yes. Here at Ride Expeditions, we take the necessary precautions to ensure that we protect both ourselves and you as the customer, with insurances covering financial failure, public liability, professional indemnity and employers liability (you will need your own travel insurance).
To obtain this insurance we must meet strict safety standards and local regulations. We must also carry out thorough risk assessments about all aspects of a tour before tyres can hit tarmac (…or dirt!).
Yes. All passengers booking with Ride Expeditions Ltd are fully insured for the initial deposit, and subsequently the balance of monies paid as detailed in your booking confirmation form. The policy also includes repatriation if required, arising from the cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Ride Expeditions Ltd. This insurance has been arranged by Towergate Travel through Evolution Insurance.
Not riding the motorcycle, no (although this will of course depend on the extent of your limited mobility). However, we may be able to accommodate you in our support vehicle. We advise you to give us a call and we can discuss.
To be legally riding in Laos you are required to carry your local driving licence, which must cover the size of bike you will be riding. This will also be a stipulation of any travel insurance company too.
You will also need an International Driving Permit (IDP). An IDP is basically an official, multi-language translation of your driving licence.
It is also a legal requirement that you carry your passport with you at all times. The police may issue a fine if you’re unable to present ID when asked.
Average group sizes are 8-9 riders and we limit the groups to 12 riders.
If you cancel your booking before departure, cancellation charges will be applied as follows:
Please refer to our Terms & Conditions for further info regarding cancellations, changes and transferring your trip to a friend.
For the most accurate and up to date info on travel advice for Laos, we advise you to visit the foreign office website.
Follow this link for Laos advice from the UK foreign office. As we are a UK company, this is the official government advice we follow. If you are not a UK resident, we advise you search for the equivalent info from your own country’s foreign office, as travel advice may differ.
This tour is predominantly unpaved, both on dirt roads and singletrack trails. While a good amount of off-road experience would be beneficial, you certainly do not need to be a pro. This tour is not suitable for riders with no off-road experience.
There are also some fairly long days in the saddle, so you’ll want to have some previous experience riding a motorcycle over long distances.
If you are unsure of your experience level, please let us know and we will talk you through the riding. We may also recommend you take an off-road adventure rider training course prior to signing up to the trip.
The official local currency of Laos is ‘Kip’, however you do not need to acquire any of this prior to your arrival. You can either withdraw Kip from an ATM when you arrive, or easily change up major currencies in the major towns & cities.
Don’t forget to tell your bank you are heading to Laos as without this information they will most likely think some rogue hacker is dipping into your account and promptly block your card.
The minimum required number for this trip to run is 6 riders. We reserve the right to cancel the tour if this number is not met and we will provide you with a minimum of 56 days notice. Please know that this is an absolute last resort for us and we will always do everything in our power to avoid this happening.
We accept GBP payments by Visa, Mastercard & American Express and direct bank transfers. Please get in touch if you would rather pay in another currency – we’ll do our best to accommodate!
Laos have an array of plugs and sockets: type A, B, C, E and F.