Image from Boats and Rice
Laos lies in the centre of Indochina, sandwiched between Vietnam to the East and Thailand to the West. The country also shares borders with Myanmar, Cambodia and China, and is the only land-locked country in Southeast Asia. With a total area of 236,800 square kilometres, around 70% of Laos' terrain is mountainous.
The Mekong River winds its way along Laos Western border with Thailand, shaping the lifestyles of the Laos people who live on its banks. Plain regions are distributed along the Mekong River. The Vientiane Plain, the largest, is situated on the lower reaches of the Nam Ngum River. The Savannakhet Plain is situated on the lower reaches of the Sebangfai River and Sebanghieng River, while the Champasack Plain on the Mekong River stretches out to the Thai and Cambodian borders. Blessed with rich and fertile soil, these plains represent one quarter of the total area known as the granaries of the country.
The fertile plains provide a good environment in which to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables, which adorn food markets and stalls throughout the country. Laos affection for fresh vegetables means they find their way into almost every meal.
The way of life in Laos is described as similar to neighbouring Thailand, only even more chilled-out and relaxed. Buddhist ideals dominate everyday life; with respect and hospitality an inherent part of Lao social etiquette.
The stunning natural beauty of the mist-shrouded mountain peaks and jungle-clad valleys, combined with the fascinating Buddhist culture means Laos will be an enchanting place to slowly pedal our way through.
Our time in Laos
On our bikes picked up in China, we pedalled from Hanoi, entering from Vietnam at the Nam Phao border, from there we headed to Lak Sao, Na Hin, Ban Lao, Paksan, Ban Na and ended up in Vientiane.
Once we reached Vientiane we took a short loop to Vang Vieng and back, and then headed over to the Thai border crossing, finishing our Laos cycling at another hot and mountainous 400mi.
Laos Blog Post
To find out how we get on pedalling through the plains and mountains of Laos check our blog post for Cycling in Laos. We were in Laos around April time 2012.
Useful backpacker info and forum on Laos: www.travelfisg.org/country/laos
These guys have cycled around SE Asia, and have some really useful route notes on their site.
We’ve based our route through Laos on their detailed info:
Laos National Tourism Administration page: www.tourismlaos.org
Laos Cycling Photos | Vientiane - Vang Vieng Loop by bicycle...
Written by Hattie Parke