Top Ten Southeast Asia Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Bike Northern Laos
By Andrew Forbes
Jungle near Nabong
Picture this: The Laotian landscape

For the hardened trail biker, taking to the trails of northern Laos is considerably more demanding than trail biking in nearby Thailand. Starting from the ancient Thai city of Chiang Mai, it's an easy three-hour ride to the ferry across the Mekong at Chiang Khong. Once across, in the small Lao town of Huay Xai, the adventure really begins—and there isn't an easy road in sight! Gun your bike across the dusty back tracks of Bokeo and Luang Nam Tha provinces, through hill tribe villages, and across innumerable streams and small rivers, through scenery that is almost completely unspoiled. Accommodation is limited and rather simple, but this is more than made up for by the unsurpassed friendliness of the locals. Break for the night in Luang Nam Tha, Muang Xai, and Pak Beng, then load your bike onto a Mekong ferry and head back upstream to Chiang Khong. Allow five to seven days for this tough but rewarding trip.


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