Total Beginner Planning - Laos, Advice Needed


New Member
Sep 15, 2017
Hey, total amateur here 21 years old. I learned to ride in Northern Thailand and have a combined total of maybe 30 hours of riding experience although I'm a long time bike rider. I've ridden in some traffic, mud and dirt and bumpy roads on a Yamaha Fino and loved every minute of it.

I want to ride in Laos, no specific area really just coast around the whole country. I don't have a dedicated GPS aside from my phone but I'd purchase a road map for sure. I speak some Northern Thai language so I'm sure that will help along the way when I'm lost or broken down. Also note worthy I don't have an IDP but have a Canadian license but from what I've heard the police are quite lax and I'm comfortable with bribe culture from dealing with police in Thailand

How viable is this? I don't really have an route ideas or plans I love just getting lost and finding my own way. Is this stupid? I love breaking down and getting into crazy situations, hell even running out of gas could make a boring afternoon a fun adventure - although I'm sure I'll fill the tank up. What do I need to know as a beginner here? I'm planning to get a 30 day visa, buy a bike ($400?) for a Honda Win or a step through and then maybe extend the visa to 60 days (how exactly?) then hit the road and explore.

Is it worth leaving Laos to say VN or Cambodia (potential bike transport issues?) or is there plenty to do if I just wander around and stop in the odd town for a couple days and get lost.

Appreciate any info or tips, thanks so much.


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
Basically you can divide the country into the North of Vientiane & the South of Vientiane.

R13 runs the length of the country from North to South (or vice versa).

You could take R13North from Vientiane & come back via Xayaboury & Pak Lai to Vientiane, or end up in Phonsavan (the Plain of Jars) & head south to Pakxan.

If you want to start in the south, Pakxe, you should be able to pick up a Honda Win there & then work your way North, after the 4000 Islands & the Bolaven plateau.