Book a tour: Laos Motorcycle Travel Guide: Some Notices For First-Timers

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Taking motorcycle tours in a pristine, tranquil, and gorgeous Southeast Asia country like Laos is always a lifetime experience for any enthusiastic motorbiker. Fortunately, my friends and I also had the chance to enjoy the spectacular scenery in this land on our motorbikes.
Therefore, we are excited to give you a Laos motorcycle travel guide before your motorcycle adventure to ensure that everything will be carried out as planned.

Paperwork For Motorcycle Touring In Laos

If it’s your first time exploring Laos on your motorbike, we suggest you take a guided motorcycle tour like us. The tour guide will ask you to prepare a list of documents needed for the importing procedure, including:

#1. Passport

This is a compulsory document when we go on motorcycle tours abroad. Since there’s nothing special about this section, we will move on.

#2. Visa

We went to Laos through land borders and were approved for a 30-day stay there. If you arrive in Laos at the airport, you will receive the same stay as us. 

You must prepare a passport-sized portrait of yourself, a $30 visa fee, and a legit address (it always tends to be the hotel’s address). 

Thoroughly exploring the beautiful country on motorcycles will take you weeks, let alone indulging yourself in the culture and daily life there. Hence, you can go to an immigration office to extend your visa to 90 days.

Visa to Laos
Flag of Laos , visa application form and passport on table

A visa from an airport or land border is not a multiple-entry visa. Only the Laotian embassy is capable of granting you a multiple-entry visa.

#3. IDP (International Driver’s Permit)

Being qualified for an International Driver’s Permit is the foremost task you must accomplish before participating in oversea motorbike tours. Every nation worldwide will require you to possess a valid IDP to control a motorized vehicle. After all, you don’t want to take a test for a Laotian driver’s license, right?

#4. Temporary Import

You must get a temporary import if you don’t enter Laos from a Southeast Asia country. Luckily, we had completed our Vietnam motorbike tours, so we could get into Laos without needing a temporary import. The border crossing will provide you with the Laotian temporary import. 

#5. Laotian Insurance For Motorbikes

Insurance for motorcycle tours abroad has never been a waste. You won’t ever know what risk awaits you and your motorbikes ahead. For this reason, paying a few dollars for insurance can save you much more than the purchase when bad things happen. 

When To Join Laos Motorbike Tours?

The tropical Southeast Asia country features two prominent weather conditions: dry and wet seasons.

The dry season lasts from October to April, with its peak temperature from March to June. On the other hand, from May to September, Laos witnesses the wet season (rainy season) with numerous rains. 

Laos' rainfall will increase significantly during the period from August to September. Therefore, we decided to start our motorcycle tours in February to fully conquer both on-road and off-the-beaten-path tracks. You can also opt for a January motorbike adventure to enjoy the optimal ride conditions in Laos.

When To Join Laos Motorbike Tours?
Stunning landscape with a lush valley and beautiful sky in north Laos, on the road from Luang Prabang to Phonsavan (plain of Jars)

Laos Motorcycle Travel Guide: Road Conditions

Generally, road conditions in Laos are acceptable and appropriate for both professional and amateur motorbikers. However, the condition is not steady. We experienced smooth rides on tarmac roads, but sometimes we must handle the challenge of dirt roads, poorly patched asphalt roads, and mountainous roads. 

Most roads in Laos are two-lane carriageways without firm median strips. As a result, you must be careful of oncoming cars and other vehicles. 

We were quite afraid of the fast trucks approaching us at the beginning of our motorcycle tours. You have plenty of time in your Visa to discover Laos, so don’t rush. Following the region’s speed limit, especially on a curvy road.

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Safety Rules For Foreigners In Laos

People joining Laos motorbike tours have spread rumors that bikers on a mountain road could be attacked for their properties. However, we talked with the locals, and they guaranteed that Laos is now a safe and beautiful country. We could also feel the peaceful vibe during our guided motorcycle tour in Laos.

According to a historical report, the US Army devastated Laos with more than two million tons of bombs during the period from 1964 to 1973 to cut down the secret supply chain for Vietnamese military forces. The fatal bombing had taken 10 percent of the Laotian people.

Although peace is re-established in Laos, the remaining inactive bombs are alarming for the Laotian population and tourists. For this reason, we recommend you take a guided motorcycle tour like us to avoid accidentally going to restricted areas in this country where the bombs land and remain inside beneath the surface. 

Motorbike Rental In Laos

Like with our Vietnam motorcycle tours, we did need to opt for motorbike rental in Laos. As a matter of fact, the motorbike rental market in Laos offers various off-road motorbikes for people exploring the hilly landscape or adventurous routes. Besides, you must submit your IDP, Driver's license, and passport to rent a bike in Laos.

Laos dirtbike tour to Vietnam in 2023

But you can go for a country-crossing tour if you like; just make sure that's a legal motorcycle route with enough required paperwork. If you want to experience more, we suggest you hire a motorbike in Vietnam or Thailand, then enter Laos through the land border, particularly when you want to have gentle rides on the paved road.

What Motorcycle Gear To Bring Along With You During The Laos Motorbike Tours?

Equipping yourself with the proper motorbike gear will make your motorcycle trip in Laos more enjoyable, resting assured that everything is under control. 

The weather in Laos can change promptly from bathing the road with a scorching sun to bucketing down within minutes, so the significance of preparing appropriate gear is unquestionable. Yet, in the dry season, the rain shows up suddenly and vanishes as fast as it comes. 

Since Laos is a tropical South East Asia country, we put on flip-flops to cool down our feet. That was a real mistake because we got sunburnt with red raw feet. Wearing breathable shoes would have been a more optimal choice. 

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Every motorcycle gear you put on during your motorcycle travel in Laos should be mesh-lined. If you forget to pack your motorcycle gear in your luggage, you can opt for affordable items in some shops along the way. 

Moreover, you should choose clothes featuring removable layers to replace them more conveniently when you sweat or get too wet. And remember to bring a set of raincoats with you in case of sudden rain.

One thing not directly related to the motorcycle gear that you should purchase when coming to Laos is a SIM card with an Internet connection. You can buy a SIM card at almost every mobile phone shop in this country. Remember to ask the sellers to activate the Internet data for you. 

An internet-connected SIM is useful for checking the maps in intact, deserted areas and updating your social network account and can be your savior when bad things happen.

Bottom Lines

Our Laos motorcycle travel guide is brief, but it provides you with all the fundamental information to start and end your motorcycle tours in Laos with joy and meaningful memories. What to wait for but not join an adventurous motorcycle tour in Laos this summer? Comment below if there are still some concerns in your mind!

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