Cycling in Laos Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailor Made Adventures
Destinations:
Laos, Thailand
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
MOL
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Moderate / Challenging

You are moderately fit and have an interest in remote or challenging environments. Some previous experience is required for activity based trips.

15 Days Flight Inclusive
14 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

Laos, known as the land of a million smiles, boasts stunning mountainous landscape and a laid back atmosphere, the result of a long isolation from its neighbours. Our route takes us through some spectacular scenery, from narrow roads shaded by jungle vines to shimmering rice paddies and mountains which are home to a mix of ethnic groups. Out of the saddle, we walk through villages and bamboo forest and visit Luang Prabang with striking colonial buildings, tree-lined avenues and colourful temples. We finish our trip in bustling Bangkok. The cycling is demanding at times, but our reward is to have roads almost to ourselves in South East Asia's friendliest and least known country.

At a Glance

  • 10 nights hotels, 2 nights guesthouses, 1 night sleeper train
  • 10 days cycling with 90% vehicle support
  • Surfaces are nearly all good tarmac
  • Some tough climbs and long downhills 
  • Group normally 7 to 18, plus local leaders
  • Countries visited: Laos, Thailand

Trip Highlights

  • Exploring remote areas of Laos rarely visited by tourists
  • Spectacular mountain scenery, limestone cliffs, rice paddies and waterfalls
  • Traditional hill tribe villages
  • Slow cruise down the Mekong River

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is rated Activity Level 4- Moderate/Challenging and classified Road.

10 days cycling, average 57km/day (35 miles), 90% vehicle support.

Terrain and Route:

Surface almost all decent tarmac with the occassional unsurfaced section. Routes follow main roads, but Laos lacks the heavy traffic of other Asian countries. Laos is mountainous and there are some tough climbs and long downhills, but vehicle support is available 90% of the time. The heat can make the going tough. The majority of riding is away from traffic, but you should be comfortable riding in some traffic on the approaches to the main towns. To cover the distances involved, there is some driving on winding mountain roads.

Trip Profile

This trip ventures into remote areas of Laos where the accommodation and some restaurant options will be basic. In order to see places that are not frequently visited by tourists, this is one of the sacrifices that you must be prepared to make.

Transfers

There are some vehicle transfers but journey times are usually 1-3 hours maximum, these are outlined in the itinerary. 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Group

All groups will be accompanied by an experienced cycling tour leader from start to finish. The tour leader will be assisted by a bike mechanic and local guides will be used at various sights.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
7
Max group size:
18

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Chiang Mai
End City:
Bangkok

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Chiang Mai

    Chiang Mai, 'The Rose of the North', is known for its temples, markets and the many colourful hilltribes that live in the area. Chiang Mai is a former religious and cultural centre. Twice coming under the control of the Burmese, there is a strong Burmese influence reflected in the architecture of the city. In the evening we can visit the night market where many of the hilltribe's handicrafts can be seen. There will also be a group briefing in the evening with your leader to hear all about the trip ahead.
    De Charme Hotel or similar

  • Day 2

    Warm-up ride around Chiang Mai old town and visit Doi Suthep hilltop temple

    After our bike fitting we start to explore Chiang Mai on two wheels. We will visit the old town, the temple of Vieng Kum Kam and numerous cultural highlights in the morning. We'll stop for lunch before driving up to the hilltop temple of Doi Suthep, the most revered Buddhist shrine in the Chiang Mai region. On a clear day the temple affords an excellent view over Chiang Mai and its striking temple landscape. There will be the opportunity to listen to the monks chanting before returning to the city for a chance to try northern Thai cuisine at dinner.
    De Charme Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 30 km / 18 miles
  • Day 3

    Transfer to Chiang Rai; cycle along the Thai/Burma border into the heart of the Golden Triangle

    Leaving our hotel early we set off by bus to the Chiang Rai Province, the northern most province in Thailand (approx. 2.5 hours transfer). We visit the revered Wat Rong Khun (The White Temple) before cycling to Mae Sai. We journey (cycle and 1 hour transfer) into the heart of the Golden Triangle, the compact region where Thailand, Laos and Burma meet offering a heady mix of cultures and landscapes. 
    Serene at Chiang Rai Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 55 km / 34 miles
  • Day 4

    Visit an Opium Museum; cycle towards border to Chiang Khong

    The Opium Museum is our first stop today (after a 30 minute transfer) which highlights the history of opium from its natural properties to its illegal uses, and gives historical information on the Opium Wars that led to the fall of the Manchu Dynasty. The Golden Triangle was previously one of the most extensive producers of Opium until Afghanistan became the world’s largest producer. We'll next start cycling at Chiang Saen following a quiet route towards Chiang Kong, which borders Laos. The cycling today is mostly flat with a few rolling hills passing through tobacco and corn plantations. 
    Ibis Styles Chiangkhong Riverfront or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 67 km / 42 miles
  • Day 5

    Transfer into Laos; cycle to Luang Nam Tha

    This morning we transfer across the border into Laos and onto the village of Ban Nam Chi (approx. 2.5 hour transfer), where we will start today's cycling. Today we cycle through quiet jungle-lined roads marvelling at the mountainous landscape along the way and stopping for lunch in Vieng Phuou Ka before finish our cycle at our guesthouse in Luang Nam Tha. The Luang Nam Tha region is a land of 39 ethnic tribal groups. The Nam Tha river weaves itself through the countryside and has many ethnic tribal villages dotted along its length on one side and dense jungle of the national protected area on the other. There is a night market not too far from the hotel which provides the opportunity to feast on the local speciality of bamboo and green papaya salad or slow cooked Laotian pork belly. 
    Thoulasith Guesthouse - Luang Nam Tha or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 80 km / 49 miles
  • Day 6

    Rural cycle to the Udomxai province

    We start the day with a ride from Luang Nam Tha to Udomxai. The town is formed by many small villages and is home to a wide variety of ethnic groups; Hmong, Tai Dam, Akha, Tai Lue and Yao. The cycling today will pass through rice paddies and rolling valleys with a few hill climbs before transferring to the town. After arriving in Udomxai, your leader will take the group for a walk around the centre of town including a walk up to Xaymoungkhoun temple, where you can see a Buddhist stupa aged more than 600 years and enjoy views of the city from here.

    Charming Laos Udomxai or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 40 km / 25 miles
  • Day 7

    Continue through Udomxai province to Pak Beng

    We cycle directly from the hotel today journeying towards Pak Beng. The area is an important intersection between China and Vietnam and has a unique multicultural atmosphere. Located in the Nam Ko River basin and surrounded by scenic mountains the area is famed for its Chinese produce. We will stop for a late lunch before cycling a further 20km where we hop into the the minivan and transfer (approx. 1 hour) to Pak Beng town for our overnight spot on the side of the Mekong.

    BKC Villa or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 85 km / 53 miles
  • Day 8

    Board slow boat on the Mekong to Luang Prabang visiting Buddha Caves en route

    Today we journey to Luang Prabang region by boat, cruising along the Mekong River which starts its journey high in the Tibetan Plateau, eventually emptying itself into the sea in the south of Vietnam. Its journey takes it through 7 different countries in Asia. Travelling slowly allows us to absorb the pace of the riverside settlements and marvel at the mist covered mountains towering above us. En route to Luang Prabang we will visit the famous Pak Ou Cave, cut out of the limestone banks which line the river at Pak Ou. These caves are filled with thousands of Buddha images brought by the surrounding villagers as a sign of their devotion. After visiting the caves, we then transfer (approx. 30 minutes) to our hotel in Luang Prabang for the next 2 nights. 
    My Lao Home Boutique Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Cycle to beautiful Kuang Si Waterfalls. Chance to see monks receiving alms at dawn

    Approximately 25 km from Luang Prabang are the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfalls. We ride from our hotel, leaving Luang Prabang passing through a rural landscape of rice paddies and Lao Lum villages. Once at Kuang Si Waterfalls, we will have a picnic lunch and perhaps take a refreshing dip before cycling back to Luang Prabang where the rest of the day is free for individual sightseeing or shopping, or there may be a possibility for an orientation bike ride of the town (any entrance fees are not included). This evening there is a chance to visit the night market in town with beautiful traditional Lao and hilltribe textiles on sale. For those up at dawn there is chance to witness the daily parade of saffron-robed monks receiving alms. 
    My Lao Home Boutique Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 60 km / 37 miles
  • Day 10

    Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng

    Today we drive south from Luang Prabang to Phou Khoun through more mountainous terrain (approx. 3 hours), passing through numerous Hmong villages. Once in Phou Khoun we pull out the bikes and start riding. The ride includes a superb winding descent with magnificent views of limestone karsts which gives the impression of entering into 'Lord of the Rings' territory'. This is followed by shorter climbs and easy riding through rice paddies and villages as we approach Baan Yao. The rest of the journey (approx. 2 hours) taken by bus to Vang Vieng, a popular town with plenty of bars and restaurants to enjoy. 

    Amari Vang Vieng or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 60 km / 37 miles
  • Day 11

    Vang Vieng to Vientiane

    This morning we transfer 2.5 hours from Vang Vieng to Pakkayong village where we start today's ride. Passing through local rubber plantations, small villages and along the Nam Ngum river, we pause for lunch along the way until we reach Ban Don Noun village where we hop on the bus for a 45 minute-1 hour transfer to Vientiene, the sleepy capital of Laos. In the evening the perfect option is to retire for a refreshing beverage and watch the sunset over the Mekong River. 

    City Inn Hotel Vientiane or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 60 km / 37 miles
  • Day 12

    Free morning to explore then cross over the Friendship Bridge into Thailand; board overnight train to Bangkok

    This morning is free to shop or explore Vientiane before we start cycling in the early afternoon from our hotel across the Laos/Thailand border. After completing border formalities and farewelling Laos, we continue to ride (on the left in Thailand!) a short distance to Nong Khai railway station. Here we say good-bye to our Lao guide and the group will be transferred to a local hotel (with pool) for a couple hours to relax before returning to the train station for our overnight train journey to Bangkok. 
    Overnight Train

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 25 km / 15 miles
  • Day 13

    Bangkok city tour; free time

    On arrival in Bangkok we transfer to our hotel. Later in the morning we take a short walk to the Chao Praya River where we board a long tail boat for a tour of the local canals. Bangkok was once known as the Venice of the East because of its intricate canal network. We get a glimpse of daily life as we pass locals selling their wares by the river. We will visit what to this day remains the home of the Thai Royal family at the Royal Palace complex followed by Wat Phra Kaew, home to the Emerald Buddha, one of Thailand's most venerated images. Another highlight is Wat Pho, the largest temple in Bangkok, housing a 46m long, 15m high gold-plated reclining Buddha. We then head back to our hotel by ferry. This rest of the day is free for further exploration of this exciting city before we a final group dinner (optional).
    Rembrandt Bangkok Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 14

    End Bangkok

    For land only clients, the tour ends this morning in Bangkok after breakfast.

Accommodation

Hotel, Guesthouse & Train

10 nights hotels, 2 nights guesthouses (all ensuite) and 1 night sleeper train in an air-conditioned open plan sleeper train in soft-bed berths.

All the hotels/guesthouses we use have twin rooms with en suite facilities and are clean and comfortable, with friendly staff.

As we are travelling away from the usual tourist haunts there is less choice so please be prepared for this in order to see places that are not frequently visited by tourists.

The overnight train is in air-conditioned second-class soft sleepers, bedding is provided. Berths are 'open plan' along the coach wall either side of the central aisle. At night, each pair of seats pulls together to form the bottom bunk, and an upper bunk folds out from the wall. An attendant will make up your bunk with a proper mattress, and will hook up the curtains which are provided for privacy. 

Please be advised that the accommodation listed in each location on the day to day itinerary are the standard accommodations used. However, there may be some departures where groups stay at similar hotels of the same standard and quality.

Single supplements are available (on request) and only available for 11 nights during the trip. Single supplements are not available on day 7 in Pak Beng or on Day 12 on the overnight train.

Please advise the sales team at the time of booking if you would like to request a single supplement.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from £360.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts and 1 dinner are included. 

The food on this trip is a real highlight. The national staple of Laos is sticky rice which is served with all meals and is often used as a scooping device to pick food up as meals are traditionally eaten with hands and not utensils. Typical dishes to accompany the rice are laap (or larb) which is a salad of any kind of minced meat; mok pa, which is fish steamed in a banana leaf; grilled chicken, pork or fish; and jaew, which are dips that might be made from roasted aubergine or tomatoes. Undertones of lemongrass, chilies and ginger are everywhere, imparting spicy and sour notes that bring heat and layers to dishes. Noodle dishes are common and the sweet offerings tend to focus around the abundance of fresh fruit available – be sure to seek out the mangosteen, the sweet segments are a local favourite and unlike any other fruit.

Western food is readily available almost everywhere. Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in SE Asia the availability of certain specialised products for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free or dairy-free, is minimal or non-existent and we strongly recommend you bring these items from home. You may find it beneficial to bring some 'cycling snacks' with you from home; high energy snack bars are not readily available locally. For snacks and drinks during the rides, a kitty is normally arranged (see Extra Expenses in the trip notes) and these snacks tend to be a combination of nuts, fruit and biscuits.

In the more remote areas the food is likely to be basic and the breakfasts will be simple.

Transportation

We use private coach/mini-buses, usually with air-conditioning. Roads in Laos are mostly quiet but progress is slow due to the mountainous terrain. There are some transfers throughout the trip to cover some ground but these are generally between 1-3 hours.

Vehicle Support: The coach and support vehicle will accompany the riders at nearly (90%) all times throughout the tour, allowing you substantial flexibility to cycle as much or as little as you like.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

For most of the year in Laos the weather will be hot and humid throughout with temperatures during the day between about 28ºC and 34ºC. It is a little cooler at nights and can be cold from November to March in the mountains with tempartures occassionally dropping as low as 10ºC. 

The region is mostly dry between October to April and the rainy season is from approx. May to September when it tends to come in short heavy bursts with bright sunshine in between. In Thailand you should expect year round temperatures from 23-32ºC. The rainy season will normally run from May to October when you should expect short sharp showers.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 15 days

The group flight from London is an overnight flight departing the day before Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London
We normally use the scheduled services of Thai Airways (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 14 days starting in Chiang Mai, ending in Bangkok

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Chiang Mai in the evening of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

As advice about luggage allowances for both hand and hold luggage is subject to change, we suggest you check the airline's website for the latest information prior to your departure. The usual, standard check-in baggage weight allowance is 20kg.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Free Transfers

Exodus offers FREE airport arrival and departure transfers on any flight for this trip, for both Land Only and Flight Inclusive clients. Unless specified otherwise, the transfer will be to the Exodus start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel, and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers may be shared with other Exodus customers on the same flight, or on a flight with similar arrival times. All those taking advantage of the free airport transfers must provide full flight details for both arrival and departure in advance. 

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Free transfers are only applicable if booked in advance directly through Exodus before a trip commences.

Location start:
Chiang Mai
Location end:
Bangkok

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Casual Clothes. As it is generally hot and humid, light cotton clothing is recommended for most of the trip. It can often be cold in the mountains in northern Laos between November and early March and you should bring a warm jacket and trousers if you are travelling at that time, for the evenings/early mornings. Please remember that you will be expected to cover your legs (to the ankle) and arms (to the elbow) during visits to some temples and palaces.
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket or poncho/umbrella
  • Cycling helmet (compulsory on this trip)
  • A first aid kit is carried on each trip, but you should bring your own first aid kit with diarrhoea treatment, painkillers, rehydration sachets, plasters and a blister treatment kit.
  • Insect repellent is also highly recommended. Repellent containing DEET is thought to be highly effective.
  • Refillable water bottle (1-2 litre capacity)
  • Strong sun cream and sun hat
  • A swimming costume
  • Favourite energy snacks

There will be plenty of opportunities to get laundry done locally at a very affordable price so fine to pack light.

We believe in reducing our negative environmental impacts wherever possible, this goes for when you need to spend a penny in the great outdoors! If no toilet facilities are available at some of the planned stops or during our ride, there may come a time when you need to go to the loo behind a tree/bush/rock. To avoid leaving toilet paper behind we recommend taking biodegradable dog poo/sandwich bags with you. Once you have done your business you can pop the used toilet roll in here and take it with you to dispose of when there are appropriate facilities available.

Water Included

Water Included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout so all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Optional Equipment

  • Long sleeved shirts and light trousers are good for helping to keep mosquitoes off during the evenings.

Equipment Hire

Local Bike Details: Specialized Pitch Comp mountain bikes with front suspension.

Discount for bringing your own bike: £150.

A quality local hire bike is now included in the overall price of our cycling holidays. At the time of booking we will take your height in order to reserve equipment. There may on occasions be insufficient bikes available in the correct size; we will endeavour to find suitable alternative equipment but this cannot be guaranteed. We will tell you before you book whether suitably sized bikes are available.

Conditions

1. The equipment remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, hire out or part possession with the equipment.

2. You must not misuse the equipment and must return it in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear excepted). The supplier is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the equipment during the period of hire.

3. You must ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use. In the event of the equipment being lost or stolen, you may be liable for the replacement value of the equipment

4. You must not use the equipment whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and should immediately notify the Supplier in the event of breakdown or loss.

Bringing Your Own Bike

If you prefer the familiarity of your own bike, you may of course bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount off the price of the holiday, as specified above. You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to our Sales team for individual airline fees. Any clients bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. If Exodus is confident that we have taken all reasonable care to ensure the safety of your bike, in the rare event of loss, damage or theft you will need to claim under your own insurance policy.

Extra Bike Bits

You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it is your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle/pedals at the end of the trip. We cannot guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.

Exodus Policy on Cycling Helmets

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for anyone taking part in any guided Exodus cycling holiday. Group members must bring their own helmets, as they are not available for hire, even if they are hiring a bike from Exodus.

For self-guided cycling holidays wearing a helmet is highly recommended. Customers who choose to ignore our advice do so entirely at their own risk and on the understanding that it may affect the validity of their travel insurance. It should also be noted that in some countries we travel to wearing a helmet is already a legal requirement.

Cycling of all kinds has its dangers and accidents can happen from time to time. Please ensure that you are properly prepared for the riding you are going to undertake.

Recommended Cycling Clothing

Padded cycling shorts (with loose 'over-shorts' where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof/windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this we recommend a large bum-bag or small close-fitting daysack.

Practical Information

Passport

Laos

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Thailand

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Laos

A visa can be obtained on arrival for most nationalities. The cost depends on nationality - it is currently US$35 for UK passport holders, and you will require 1 passport photo. For further information see the FCO website and look under 'Entry Requirements'. When you enter Laos, make sure you get an entry stamp in your passport. Not having a legitimate entry stamp could lead to arrest or a large fine.

Thailand

A visa for Thailand is not required for British nationals for stays of 30 days or less. If you are unsure of the requirements please check with your nearest Thai embassy.

For assistance with obtaining visas please call Travcour on 020 8543 1846 or visit their website: http://www.travcour.com/page/tour-packs/exodus.php

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Laos

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Thailand

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Laos's Timezone:
Asia/Vientiane +07 (GMT +07:00)
Thailand's Timezone:
Asia/Bangkok +07 (GMT +07:00)

Electricity

Laos's Electricity:

230 Volts. Plug types A,B,C,E & F; establishments can often take two round pin plugs and/or two flat parallel pin plugs.

Thailand's Electricity:

220 Volts. Plug types A, B, C and F. Establishments can often take two round pin plugs and/or two flat parallel pin plugs.

Money

Laos's Currency

The national currency of Laos is the Laotian Kip (LAK), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (October 2018) of approximately 10844 to the GBP, 8460 to the USD, 6442 to the CAD, 9634 to the EUR, 5991 to the AUD and 5526 to the NZD.

 

Thailand's Currency

The national currency of Thailand is the Thai Baht (THB), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (April 2019) of approximately 42 to the GBP, 32 to the USD, 24 to the CAD, 35 to the EUR, 22 to the AUD and 21 to the NZD.

 

ATM Availability

ATMs are now widespread in SE Asia's cities and are the easiest way of obtaining money. There is a minimum 150 baht fee for all ATM transactions in Thailand.

Credit card acceptance is now widespread in cities in SE Asia at restaurants and shops catering for tourists. If you would like to bring cash there will be ample opportunity for you to change this.

Sterling and US Dollars are both easily exchanged. As you will probably be carrying much of your money in cash, we strongly recommend using a money belt.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

You will need about £185-£250/US$240-320 for meals not included, which will allow you to eat well. Apart from the food, you should allow money to cover soft drinks (more if you like a beer) and souvenirs.
Most groups also find it useful to operate a snacks kitty system to buy snacks and drinks for the group on the cycling days. If the group would like the leader to arrange this, the suggested amount is around £20/US$25 per person depending on the group size.

Tipping

This is entirely at your own discretion but we suggest that you allow some funds for tips for the local guides and staff. In the countries visited, with the increase in tourism, tipping has become customary and the local staff will probably expect some gratuity.

The leader will suggest to the group that they donate a sum of £42/US$55 per person towards a kitty on arrival. This money is then used for tipping of local guides, hotel porters, drivers etc. It is used to ensure that the hassle is taken out of various activities for you. If you do not wish to contribute to a central pool for tips you are of course free to choose not to contribute.

If you feel that your leader and assistant leader/s have performed well over the course of your trip, you may want to show your appreciation of their services. The sum you choose to give is entirely personal, but as a guide, £2/US$3 per person per day would be a reasonable starting point.

The 'tipping kitty' explained above is separate from any tips for the tour leaders. Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.