Book a tour: Thakhek Motorbike Loop In Laos: An Epic Adventure
- Trip Outline
- Trip Includes
- Trip Excludes
We have been to Laos many times but mainly spend time in the South and North regions which are popular tourist destinations. But then we wondered if the Central region has anything interesting.
We signed up for a 475 km adventure trip to this area to unclog some curiosities. We lived wonderful days filled with beautiful landscapes and surprises. Refer to our comprehensive guide if you plan to try the Thakhek motorbike loop in Laos.
Thakhek Motorbike Loop In Laos: Our Real Experience
Day 1: Thakhek to Thalang Motorcycle Tour
On a 125cc Honda, we headed towards the countryside of Central Laos with great excitement. Leaving behind the oversized suitcases, we decided to travel light with medium-sized backpacks to speed up on the endless paved roads. The harsh summer sun smothered an unpleasant heat while the breeze messed up our hair and slapped our faces.
Regardless of these inconveniences, we felt satisfaction in our bones in front of the majestic natural landscapes. Our motorcycle tour turned into forest trails and dusty roads winding through soaring karst mountains.
Even when we did not stop at the popular tourist attractions, we were treated to breathtaking views of lush valleys, picturesque villages, and gentle rivers. However, if you want a break in between, consider Tham Nong Pa Fa, also known as Buddha Cave. The most prominent activity is receiving the blessing from the monks. Even when you are not religious, confessing hopes and wishes for the upcoming off-road journey is always better.
Day 2: Thalang to Na Hin Motorbike Tour
We accompanied a high-quality motorbike that satisfied our passion for speed, but one of our companions did pump into some bad lucks. He ran over a dry branch, and as a result, his front tire ended up with a puncture. We dropped into a remote village, and locals rushed out to fix the technical problem despite the language barrier.
Luckily, we were back on the track after two hours. A strange landscape gave us goosebumps - the trunks of dead trees gathered in the middle of an artificial lake. Compared to the first day, part of the terrain has become worse. We rode on remote mountain trails before exiting Laksao town onto the highway.
Our crew maintained high speed until we reached Thabak and stopped at two colorful temples, Vat Oudom, and Wat Pa Pha Nang Rong. We also stumbled across a pristine swimming hole with clear blue water - Cool Springs/Cool Pool. Pay close attention to the direction sign at the entrance of Phontan, or you cannot go back to it.
>> View more: Laos motorbike tours 2024-2025
Day 3: Na Hin to Kong Lor Motorcycle Trip
Though it was a short distance, we departed early to have plenty of time at Konglor. But before that, we spent a short time in Phu Hin Bun National Park, where biodiversity values were stored. We could not hold back our excitement at Kong Lor Cave.
Leaving our vehicles at the cave entrance, we received flashlights and life jackets to take boat tours and went deep inside. After a short float, we stepped out of the darkness and began our exploration. Spreading the glimmering light throughout the vast cavern, the shimmering stalactites came into sight. The colorful natural light gave a magical vibe as if we were lost in another world.
We spent the afternoon on a freestyle motorbike tour to the famous waterfall of Nam Sanam. Note that the road might contain many dangers and not be in good condition. We kept our eyes on the tree trunk markers to ensure we were on the right track. We ended up having a day at The Rock Lookout. We could not believe it did not charge entrance fees for a romantic sunset-watching spot.
Day 4: Khong Lor - Thakhek Motorbike Trip
The last day of the Laos motorbike loop took much of our energy because of the regrets of ending the motorcycle tour and the boring schedule. We roamed the long stretch of Highway 13 at a moderate speed to capture the wildlife. If you still want to take a break at the major attractions, consider Tham Heup Cave and Khoun Kong Leng Lake.
As we approached the lake, we were immediately captivated by its stunning beauty. Nestled within a natural amphitheater of majestic mountains, the lake rests like a glistening jewel amid the rugged terrain. The water's color is a mesmerizing shade of emerald green, so vivid that it seems almost surreal, as if the lake holds secrets of a mythical realm.
Our fellows shared some pictures of these two stops. We did not feel much difference from the previous scenery, so we just ignored them. We would have detoured for a few dozen kilometers to get there if we chose the second route. Well, this was not a winning bet for us!
Things To Know For Smooth Road Trips
You can find plenty of accommodation if you spend time sourcing traveling communities on the Internet. Thakhek Loop has become a famous tourist destination these days, so hotels and resorts have mushroomed. However, that does not mean you can easily find a lovely guesthouse.
We recommend booking rooms at your favorite stops, especially during peak tourist season. Outside of this period, feel free to arrive earlier, walk around the streets, and find a place to stay. Except for Thalang, which serves beautiful scenery but few accommodations, book in advance even during the off season.
We have tried a couple of popular motorbike rental companies in Central Laos - Wang Wang and Mad Monkey Motorbike. The average price for their service ranges around 90,000-160,000 kip/day (~$12-15) for manual motorbikes. They also offer scooters, but these options, of course, can’t hit the spot since we all crave for a spirited adventure rather than a leisure trip.
We found them difficult to control and less powerful on hilly roads. The Honda Wave 125cc should come out on top of your choice, regardless of the supplier. Remember to inspect the overall quality and important parts before depositing.
What To Bring
In general, you need airy clothes and some protective gear for this adventure. Do not bring bright-colored items, as dirt roads may paint them with a pale yellow coat. If you arrive in the sunny months, prepare sunscreen and shielding equipment.
Conversely, raincoats, water shoes, and waterproof bags are necessary for motorbike tours in the rainy season (May to October). Bring large bottles of water, money, and a spirit of adventure!
Licenses and Travel Insurance
Laos is one of the safest destinations in South East Asia, but it is never too much for an insurance package. You never know anything will happen along the way, so take this guarantee seriously! Never start a motorcycle without a legal license.
Otherwise, you are not under the coverage of the insurance policies. In other words, you will not receive any medical assistance or compensation without a driver's license or international certificate, even in the event of an accident.
- The best time to start the Thakhek motorcycle loop is from December to January. Despite the peak tourist season, Thakhek is less crowded with tourists than Vang Vieng or Luang Prabang. Lower temperatures and stable weather promise a pleasant ride.
- Stay away from the giant pickups and trucks on the road. Some drivers never care about lane separation, and you have to protect yourself from them.
- Prepare some extra fuel. Reaching a gas station in deserted areas is difficult, and a stall in the middle is a disaster.
- Wake up at the crack of dawn and get an early start. We started the first day late and groped the dark streets. Well, it was not a pleasant experience indeed!
- Be prepared with cash to deal with the sparse ATM network in the countryside. Cashless payment methods are not very popular; you also need money for random repairs or police fines.
Our Thakhek motorbike loop in Laos was short, so we missed out on some outstanding scenery from the backpackers' suggestions. We will try it again soon and spend a longer time feeling the charms of the Central countryside.
If you have the same idea or want to learn more about this beautiful country, stay tuned to our blogs for the latest updates!
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