Laos Route 13....For beginners?

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by traceyusmg, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. traceyusmg

    traceyusmg New Member

    My daughter (17) and I want to ride from Vientiane to Luang Prabang along Rt 13. We are getting our motorcycle licenses in the US before our trip. Our riding experience will be limited. Is this ride too much for beginners? Is it a safe trip for 2 women?

    Thanks, Tracey
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  3. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    I have posted 7 trip reports about Laos and I am preparing one more, to be published in the next days. If you are interested, have a look to some of them, the easiest way is to see the URL list included in my latest post :

    I normally stay on trails appropriate for road bikes and, as I am traveling alone (my daughter lives far away), I avoid too much adventures. These are probably the type of rides that you are looking for. You will also find the itinerary that you are planing.

    Let me know if you need some other information. Cheers Jurgen

    PS - I would not be too concerned about safety for women along these itineraries. I think that usual precautions are enough and I never felt insecure in Thailand or Laos.
  4. KenYam

    KenYam Ol'Timer

    My advice would be gain as much riding experience as you can before you start travelling Lao as the road conditions and users will be a lot different than western drivers. You will need an open mind, have a flexible attitude regarding road rules and take nothing for granted.
    I believe Lao drivers are less predictable and have a lower standard of driving skills than Thais. How this relates to USA drivers depends on you haha.

    All types of animals own the road in Lao so be warned, they can be dangerous. Travel during daylight hours and use a conservative attitude planning your daily ride,
    allowing for early arrival of your next destination. Lao is a lot more conservative than Thai therefore one would think safer but you only need to met one idiot on the road don't you.

    Good Luck Ken F
  5. schackster

    schackster Ol'Timer

    We just completed a ride through Laos last week. We travelled from Houei Xai , Oudom Xai , Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng through to Vientiane.The roads are in an extremely bad state of disrepair. I dont recall finding a 1 km stretch of good sealed road. Expect rocks, gravel, dirt and crater sized potholes. The countless small villages along the way are riddled with cows, goats, chickens, ducks, pigs and small children so you will need to have your wits about you. On a bike you may as well be invisible because the other cars will just totally ignore you. There are so many tight blind corners which you need to approach with extreme caution. Although the distances between towns on the map appear to be relatively short i.e 160 kms to 200 kms , it can take 6 - 8 hours to cover these distances. In many cases the average speed will be 30 kph. No choice because in many places the roads are non existant. Dont expect too many road signs either.In most case they are small tombstone like signs by the road side which often are overgrown with weeds. We were lucky because the conditions were dry. If it was wet then we'd still probably be out there.

    I know you say that you are beginners but may I ask what riding experience you have ? Also at this stage do you have any idea what types of bikes you may be using ? It may be prudent to give some thought to perhaps arranging for an experienced guide to accompany you if its your first time in Laos.
  6. traceyusmg

    traceyusmg New Member

    Thanks to all;
    We plan to take a motorcycle safety / riding course in the states before the trip. At best we will have 20-30 hours riding time prior to the trip. We are looking to arrange through "remote Asia", probably riding the Honda FRT 223 "the tracker". They say they are the easiest bikes.

    We plan to take the trip slow, 3-4 hours per day. Probably never exceeding 30-40 mph.
    Is this a crazy under taking? I don't want to put us into a tough situation...but we really want the adventure.

    Any and all avice is welcome...
  7. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    I agree with the above posts.. Get a guide and may be do a bit of a ride out and around Luang Prabang or another locations.

    After 5 days to a week if you feel comfortable then take off on your own down to Phonsavan and Vientiane etc.. where ever you have planned.

    The safety training can't hurt.. But many of the things they will teach you not to do is what the Laos will be doing..

    A lot of the roads don't have crash barriers, potholed, gravel etc.. and you may come around the bend and find a truck in the middle of the road coming towards you. he will not move.

    Once I was coming around a bend, a truck was in the middle of the road and a bunch of goats on my right about to cross.. Luckily they moved back with the noise.. Lao drivers will over take in your lane and push you to the right side of the road.. another time we had a cow jump out of some bushes and run across in front of us.. 5 metres closer and it would have been one of us.

    Make sure you wear good safetly gear too as you may well come off if you are not experienced. (even if you are experienced :)
    Boots, body Armor, Gloves etc etc.

    Not to put you off.. but recommend a guide first to get some experience with the conditions etc then take off on your own.
    You will love it. Have a great trip.


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