Indochina Overland Tour
Laos – Cambodia – Thailand in 16 Days
Embark on an adventurous 16-day motorcycle tour through the heart of Southeast Asia. Experience the thrill of the open road as you wind through Northern Thailand, along the surging Mekong River to the charming city of Luang Prabang. Cross the rugged Laotian Karst mountains, and explore the stunning beauty of the 4000 islands. Marvel at the ancient ruins of the world-famous Angkor Wat temples, before ending your journey in the lively beach town of Pattaya. Get ready for an unforgettable journey filled with breathtaking scenery, fascinating cultural experiences, and endless thrills on twisting mountain roads!
Our Southeast Asia Overland motorcycle tour begins in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, the perfect starting point where modern Southeast Asia meets ancient culture in this old temple city. From Chiang Mai, we’ll head east to the mountains near Nan and cross the border into Laos. After navigating through remote mountain roads, we’ll come across the dreamy Mekong River, the lifeline of Southeast Asia, which we’ll cross and follow southward throughout our journey.
In this region lies the colonial city of Luang Prabang, with its charming night market and French charm that offers stunning views. Following the banks of the Mekong, we’ll discover the Plain of Jars at sunset. Here, an unknown Stone Age culture created massive stone jars. Endless winding roads lead us through the wild and remote Laotian Highlands with its isolated mountain communities in a unique landscape. We’ll cross the Bolaven Plateau with its countless waterfalls and subtropical jungle, reaching the 4000 Islands – the delta of the azure Mekong which reaches an unprecedented width here. Here, we’ll take a canoe on the vast river in search of the last Irrawaddy freshwater dolphins. Then, we’ll leave Laos and discover the world’s largest temple complex, Angkor Wat. At sunrise, we’ll take a hot air balloon for the best views of the massive complex and spend a full day exploring the sprawling temples by tuk-tuk. Our journey will end in the beautiful beach city of Pattaya on the Gulf of Thailand, known for its wide 3-kilometer beach and famous nightlife.
On this Southeast Asia adventure, you’ll not only discover many cultural and historical sights, but you’ll also ride through stunning landscapes, on winding mountain roads, and get to know the land and people up close, off the beaten path. A unique experience and brand new pilot tour in our program.
AT A GLANCE
AT A GLANCE
|17.02. – 03.03.2024
16.11. – 01.12.2024
|16 days / 15 nights / 13 riding days|
|15 nights in selected mid-range hotels, resorts and lodges|
Highlights – Indochina Overland
- Temples, Night Markets & Nightlife in the Metropolis of Chiang Mai – Explore the bustling city of Chiang Mai and discover its many temples, old town and night markets
- Winding Mountain Roads in the Hinterland of Phayao & Nan – Enjoy an exciting motorcycle ride through the winding roads of the hinterlands of Phayao and Nan
- Pure Bliss in the French Colonial Town of Luang Prabang on the Mekong – Experience the rich history and cultural heritage of Laos, situated on the banks of the majestic Mekong River
- Plain of Jars: Witness to the Stone Age – Marvel at the ancient and mysterious stone jars,, a testament to the ingenuity of our ancestors.
- Remote Trails & Hill Tribes in the Laotian Highlands – Embark on an adventure to the remote and rugged highlands of Laos
- Strolling Along the Mekong in the Riverside Town of Savannakhet
- Waterfalls, Elephants, Jungle & Coffee Culture on the Bolaven
- Wat Phou: Oldest Temple and Cradle of the Khmer Civilization – Discover the ancient and awe-inspiring temple of Wat Phou
- The 4000 Islands of the Mekong: Journey by Boat to See the Last Freshwater Dolphins
- Preah Vihear Cliff Temple: Panoramic Views Over Mighty Ruins with Breathtaking Views
- Experience Angkor Wat by Balloon and Tuk-Tuk: Discover the World’s Largest Temple Complex – Embark on an unforgettable adventure
- Pattaya – Relax on the sandy beaches or party the night away in this vibrant coastal town
95/5 The roads on this trip are well paved in addition to the potholes typical of the country. 5% of the routes can be in a worse condition, construction sites or short non-asphalt sections of slopes cannot be ruled out.
Most of the route is on good, paved roads. Two-lane roads alternate with narrow, single-lane mountain roads. Riders should be comfortable with hairpin bends and narrow, winding roads. Rough surfaces, potholes and the occasional unpaved road shouldn’t be a problem.
At least one place of interest per day.
With short breaks and photo stops, not counting breaks for lunch, which last about an hour. Average figures: 5-7 hours per day
Indochina Overland Tour – Itinerary
Day 1: Welcome to Chiang Mai!
Our team member will be waiting for you outside the customs/baggage hall at the airport to escort you to our hotel in the heart of the old town quarter. This magnificent city boasts a rich history, magnificent temples, and an array of cultural experiences that make it the perfect starting point for exploring Southeast Asia. Chiang Mai is also well-known for its lively night markets, where you can sample delicious street food and shop for unique souvenirs, as well as its thriving bar scene that offers a variety of nightlife options to suit all tastes. Join us in the late afternoon for a tour briefing and dinner with the tour crew. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure!
Day 2: Exploring Northern Thailand’s Beauty
Today we embark on a thrilling journey through the heart of northern Thailand. Our scenic route winds through breathtaking forested mountain landscapes, leading us to the impressive “The Giant” tree, the largest tree of North Thailand, where we make our first coffee break and soak in the natural splendor. Next, we visit Wat Phra Phutthabat Sutthawat, a serene temple perched atop a mountain that showcases white pagodas against a picturesque backdrop. The panoramic views from the summit make the effort worth it getting there.
Lunch at a local restaurant awaits us as we continue our journey through a fertile valley before reaching an awe-inspiring mountain range near Phayao, a charming provincial capital situated by Lake Phayao, the largest freshwater lake in the region.
Distance covered: approx. 260km
Day 3: Riding into the Heart of Rural Thailand & Laos
The day begins with a ride through sprawling rice fields and quaint villages. As we venture deeper, the road takes us through the majestic mountains, where we encounter the famous road nr. 1148, known among bikers as one of the most exciting rides in northern Thailand. From there, it’s a short ride to the Thai-Lao border. After completing the immigration and customs formalities at the border, we hit the road again and get used to riding on the right side of the road as is the case in Laos.
With breathtaking mountain ranges surrounding us, we make our way towards the majestic Mekong River. As we cross over a bridge, the small port town of Pak Beng comes into view, offering magnificent views of the river.
Distance covered: approx. 310 km
Day 4: Exploring the Pak Beng Market and the Scenic Mekong River
Kick off your morning with an optional visit to the bustling Pak Beng market. Meet the locals and learn about their unique culture as you browse the various goods being exchanged. Try some of the infamous fried rats and other local delicacies, if you dare! Enjoy a scenic breakfast on the hotel terrace, taking in the breathtaking views of the mighty Mekong River. After fueling up, we’ll hit the road again, backtracking through the mountains before heading southwest to Hongsa for a delicious lunch. Cruise down virtually empty roads, taking in the stunning mountain vistas and passing through picturesque minority villages. We’ll eventually reach the Mekong River again, where we’ll cross over on a local ferry and make our way to the historic royal capital of Luang Prabang.
Distance covered: approx. 220 km
Day 5: Discovering the Timeless Beauty of Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in South East Asia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Magical and charming, it has preserved its long-standing reputation as a stronghold of Lao culture. With its splendid natural scenery and deep-rooted French colonial influence, Luang Prabang is a feast for the senses. Today is all about exploring this gem of a city on foot. Marvel at the stunning views of the Mekong as you stroll through the streets, taking in the rich history and culture at every turn. The crown jewel of Luang Prabang, Vat Xieng Thong, is a must-visit. Overlooking the river, this temple is considered the most beautiful and represents the classic Laotian temple architecture.
Don’t miss the opportunity to climb the hill at Vat Phousi for a panoramic view of the city. We may also just want to browse through the many boutique shops and galleries, stop for a coffee or drink at one of the many bistros and indulge in the magical charm and timelessness of Luang Prabang. Dinner at an Italian Restaurant where, for a change, we can also enjoy a pizza.
Optional: If you can not hold your feet still, join us on an optional excursion to visit the Pak Ou Caves and the Tat Sae Waterfalls. These caves, located along the Mekong River, are home to thousands of Buddha statues and offer a unique glimpse into Buddhist cultural heritage. And the Tat Sae Waterfalls? Just picture a refreshing dip in crystal clear waters surrounded by lush greenery.
Distance covered: 0 – 100km, depending on your exploration choices
Day 6: Mystery in the Mountains: Plain of Jars
Our Southeast Asia Overland Tour is taking you on a scenic 6-hour journey through breathtaking mountain landscapes and into the heart of one of Laos’ greatest mysteries – the Plain of Jars. We’ll cruise through picturesque Hmong villages high up on the mountainside and descend into the Plain of Jars in Xieng Khouang province, an area that was heavily bombed during the Vietnam War and still bears the scars. At this UNESCO World Heritage site, you’ll visit Site 1 to see over 250 massive jars weighing between 600-1000 kgs, scattered about in over a dozen groupings with no clear explanation for their existence. Although theories abound (burial urns, wine fermenters, rice storage), the mystery remains unsolved. But, in the 1930s, French archaeologists discovered ashes, stone axes, bronze ornaments, and ceramics that may have been offerings to the dead. Join us on this exciting journey to unravel the secrets of the Plain of Jars.
Distance covered: approx. 280 km
Day 7: Discover the Heart of the Laotian Mountains
Our journey continues with a full day of exploring the breathtaking beauty of the Laotian hinterlands. We’ll set off early to embark on a challenging road trip through the winding roads of the mountains, passing through quaint villages and stunning scenery. Our destination, Lak Sao, is a border town with a unique blend of Laotian, Vietnamese, and various ethnic cultures. It’s a place that will leave you feeling as though you’ve stepped into a Wild West movie, with its small valley location, perched at an altitude of 500 meters. As the day comes to an end, the town comes alive with loud techno dance music, inviting locals and truck drivers to visit hidden backyard dance clubs. Luckily, our simple hotels offers a quiet nights sleep.
Distance covered: approx. 340 km
Day 8: Meeting the Mekong Again
Breakfast at the hotel. Today is another day of riding through rural Laos and fascinating landscapes as we move further south and head towards the Mekong River which forms the natural border between Laos and Thailand. Around midday we reach a waterlogged forest where we can visit some quite villages of the Hmong ethnic minority. On the way, we make an extended stop at a small river in to enjoy the scenery and our lunch. The ride in the afternoon once again brings us to the shores of the Mekong River as we approach Savannakhet, an important town in the South of Laos. Savannaketh is famous for its French colonial architecture, cultural diversity, and bustling night markets along its broad Mekong River front walkway.
Distance covered: approx. 280 km
Day 9: Discovering the Bolaven Plateau and its Natural Beauty
We leave the busy city of Savannakhet and ride further south and inland, towards the town of Salavan. The last stretch of our journey today leads us up onto the Bolaven Plateau which is nestled between the Annamite Mountain Range separating Laos and Vietnam in the East and the Mekong River separating Laos and Thailand in the West.
The Bolaven Pleateau played significant roles during the French colonialization as well as the Vietnam War but today is best known for its tea and coffee plantations. The plateau sees elevations of between 1000 – 1350 meters and boasts many rivers and beautiful waterfalls. The plateau is also home to many different ethnic minorities such as the Alak, Kaleum, Katu, Nge and Soy who still cultivate their own distinct tradition and culture. On arrival at our destination and if time permits, we can take the short walk to Tad Lo Waterfall which is not far from where we stay overnight.
Distance covered: approx. 280 km
Day 10: Journey to the Hillside Temple of Vat Phu
Starting the day with a visit to Wat Pa (Big Buddha Forest Temple), we take a scenic route through the Bolaven Plateau before reaching Paksong, known for its locally grown coffee. Our journey then continues to the center of Pakse and across the Mekong River to Champasak, the former capital of an ancient kingdom of Laos. Here, we visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Vat Phu Temple, a pre-Angkorian temple complex with notable Hindu and Khmer influences. This temple, located on a hillside overlooking the surrounding plains and the Mekong River, features stunning views, ritual ablutions, and intricate carvings of Hindu deities such as Vishnu and Shiva, as well as the Hindu god of time and death, Kala. With its rich history and sacred significance, the Vat Phu Temple is a must-see for any visitor to the area. Historians in fact say that the temple may have been the site of human sacrifices.
Distance covered: approx. 270 km
Day 11: Cruising Through the Mekong Paradise
We head towards the stunning “Si Phan Don,” which means Four Thousand Islands, as this part of the Mekong River boasts a stunning landscape of over 4,000 islands. We park our motorcycles and continue with an overnight bag on a small boat, taking in the breathtaking scenery of the blue Mekong and majestic hills. Our destination is one of the islands where we will spend the night, and we have time to explore the local area and its rich history.
The island, that can only be reached by boat, is home to a historic bridge and some rusting locomotives, remnants of a time when the French built a railway in 1897 to bypass the powerful rapids when transporting goods from Cambodia. We also have the opportunity to visit the famous Li Phi waterfalls, known for their power and beauty and documented in many TV shows. The falls are even more spectacular when you consider the brave local fishermen who risk their lives to catch fish in the rapids. And for those who love adventure and natural beauty, we will take a boat ride to catch a glimpse of the Irrawaddy fresh water dolphins in the afternoon. Although sightings are not guaranteed, the thrill of searching for these magnificent creatures adds to the excitement of the trip. The stunning beauty of the Mekong River and the chance to see these unique dolphins make for an unforgettable experience.
Distance covered: approx. 120 km
Day 12: Cambodia, Here We Come…
We start our day by taking a boat back to our motorcycles. From here, we continue towards the Cambodian border for just a few kilometers before we turn off a short way to visit the magnificent Khone Phapheng Waterfall, the largest cascade along the Mekong River. A fault line caused the cascade which is 6 km wide at this point and the astonishing force of the water has cut dramatic gorges through the brittle bedrock. As we leave the Khone Phapheng Waterfalls, it takes only another few minutes for us to reach the border. From the border we follow the Mekong River in a southern direction. We stay near the provincial town of Preah Vihear.
Distance covered: approx. 330 km
Day 13: Ride to the Heart of a Mighty Civilization: Angkor Wat
In the morning we witness the stunning beauty of the ancient Khmer temple of Preah Vihear. Perched atop a cliff that separates Thailand and Cambodia, the temple boasts breathtaking views of the Cambodian landscape. The road up to the temple is very steep but the views from the cliff top over the Cambodian land are breathtakingly beautiful. After our visit we continue to the town of Anlong Veng where Pol Pot and other leaders of the Khmer Rouge had houses and were hiding from justice for years. Before arriving in Siem Reap, we stop at the stunning Banteay Srei Temple, considered to be the gem of Classical Khmer Art. Get ready to be amazed by the intricate carvings and stunning architecture that make this temple a must-visit destination for any adventurer or history buff. Overnight at Siem Reap. Siem Reap is the nearest town to the incomparable Khmer temple complex of Angkor.
Distance covered: approx. 250 km
Day 14: The Largest Temple Complex in the World: Angkor Wat
Rise to new heights as we embark on an unforgettable tour of the largest temple complex in the world, Angkor Wat. We start the day with a breathtaking sunrise from a Helium Balloon, offering the best views of the ancient city. From the 9th to the 15th century, Angkor was home to a rich and sophisticated civilization, and now its massive stone monuments, grand causeways, and iconic towers are waiting for us to discover. Take a deep dive into the rich history of the city by exploring the South Gate, Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple, Royal Enclosure, and more.
After a break in the hotel for lunch, we experience the crown jewel of classical Khmer art, Angkor Wat, in the afternoon. Marvel at the size of this temple complex, spanning 81 hectares and comparable to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Admire its distinctive five towers and witness the magic of sunset as it falls upon this 12th-century masterpiece.
Day 15: Riding the Waves: The Beaches of Pattaya
Today is the final day of our Indochina motorcycle overland adventure, as we leave Cambodia and make our way to Pattaya, Thailand. After crossing the border, we’ll be back in familiar territory with left-hand traffic and all our bikes registered. We’ll journey through both major and minor roads, taking in the scenery and stopping for lunch at a local restaurant along the way.
Finally, we arrive at Pattaya Beach, where we’ll celebrate the end of our tour with a party, taking in the famous Pattaya nightlife. We’ll cap off our journey with a night of fun, reflecting on the memories we’ve made and the amazing sights we’ve seen.
Distance covered: approx. 430 km
Don’t Miss Out On a Wonderful Experience
Book your Tour Now – Indochina Overland Tour
Since our tours get filled up fast, please book our Indochina Motorcycle Tour now to avoid disappointment.
Our Next available tours are as follows:
17.02. – 03.03.
16.11. – 01.12.
- Motorcycle of your choice including petrol
- English-speaking tour guide on own motorcycle
- 15 nights in selected mid range hotels, resorts and lodges with breakfast
- Comfortable escort vehicle for luggage and pillion
- 12x lunch, 15x dinner, drinking water
- All fees and taxes when crossing international borders for motorcycle and rider
- Experienced motorcycle mechnic (and spare rider)
- Wear, tear and spare parts, lubricants, oil etc.
- All entrance fees to sights and places of interest during the tour, including Angkor Wat
- All excursions and sightseeing tours including transportation during the tour
- Motorcycle transportation from Pattaya back to Chiang Mai at the end oft he tour
- Assistance with visa application and formalities for crossing international land borders.
- Airport transfer service from Chiang Mai international airport tot he tour hotel and Pattaya to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport
- Partially comprehensive insurance (see Ts & Cs for details)
Not included Services
- Visa for Laos, Cambodia and Thailand Thailand is for many countries visa free. The cost for Laos and Cambodia is US$ 30/each and can be easily applied for at the border with our help.
- Alcoholic beverages
- Gratitude and tips for guide and the local team (optional but appreciated)
- Domestic and international flights
Questions & Answers
With the registration for the Thailand motorcycle tour we need a scanned copy of the passport of the participant with the personal details. A condition for participation in the tour is an internationally valid driving license for motorcycles over 500 cc.
The tour is guaranteed from a minimum number of 6 motorcyclists. The maximum size of the tour is limited to a total of no more than 14 motorcyclists (plus guide).
American Express, Visa and Master Card are widely used in Thailand. Cash is only accepted in baht (Thai currency). However, it is relatively easy to change euros or US dollars at a exchange point in the larger tourist areas in Thai Baht.
The motorcycles are covered by liability insurance according to Thai law, but not fully comprehensive insurance. The participant bears the risk of a maximum of USD (ask us)- in the event of total damage to the motorcycle (current value). He is not liable for technical failure or wear of the machine in the event of engine or gear damage.
Most European nationalities do not require a visa to visit Thailand and receive a visa-free stay of up to 30 days upon arrival in Thailand.
The participant has to pay a deposit of € 500 in cash before accepting the motorcycle. The deposit will be refunded after the accident-free journey when the motorcycle is returned. The deposit must also be paid if the participant has opted for limited comprehensive insurance.