23 Days Tour to China (Tibet - Shangri-La) & Laos
If you like a motorcycle adventure outside the ordinary, this is a great opportunity for you! Besides the stunning scenery this tour offers an insight into local cultures, Historical Sites, National Parks, local cuisine and local traditional way of life.
The tour is in a wonderful riding experience on a big motorcycle on windy, straight and hilly roads - mostly paved and easy to handle. However there are also some stretches which are rather narrow and steep.
To join this tour you need to have good riding skills and should be able to handle your big motorcycle in different conditions. Please keep also in mind that we partly ride on an elevation of 4,000 meters and above. Weather conditions vary greatly, from tropical heat in Thailand and Laos to freezing temperatures in Tibet, bring WARM clothes.
AT A GLANCE
|START/FINISH:||Chiang Mai (Thailand)|
|NEAREST INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT:||Chiang Mai International Airport|
|DURATION:||23 days vacation, 21 days riding route|
|ROUTE:||Total distance: approximately 5,200 km (3,250 miles)|
|ROUTE:||Daily distance: 80 to 460 km (50 to 286 miles)|
|ACCOMMODATIONS:||Carefully selected quality hotels and resorts with leisure facilities|
|REST DAY||Shangri-La (Tibet) and Luang Prabang (Laos)|
|HIGH LIGHTS:||Golden Triangle, Red River Valley, Stone Forest at Kunming, Old Dali, Shangri-La, Tibet, Tiger Leap Gorge, Luang Prabang|
|DAY 1||Arrival in Chiang Mai (Thailand)|
|DAY 2||Chiang Mai – Golden Triangle (Thailand)|
|DAY 3||Golden Triangle – Luang Namtha (Thailand / Laos)|
|DAY 4||Luang Namtha – Mengla (Laos / China)|
|DAY 5||Mengla – Yuanjiang (China)|
|DAY 6||Yuanjiang – Jianshui (China)|
|DAY 7||Jianshui – Shadianzhen (China)|
|DAY 8||Shadianzhen – Kunming (Half Day Riding) (China)|
|DAY 9||Kunming – Shaxi (China)|
|DAY 10||Shaxi – Cizhong (Tibet)|
|DAY 11||Cizhong – Shangri-La (Tibet)|
|DAY 12||Shangri-La (Rest day) (Tibet)|
|DAY 13||Shangri-La – Lijiang (Tibet / China)|
|DAY 14||Lijiang – Dali (Half Day Riding) (China)|
|DAY 15||Dali – Shuangjiang (China)|
|DAY 16||Shuangjiang – Jinghong (China)|
|DAY 17||Jinghong – Oudomxay (China / Laos)|
|DAY 18||Oudomxay – Luang Prabang (Laos)|
|DAY 19||Luang Prabang (Rest Day) (Laos)|
|DAY 20||Luang Prabang – Pakbeng (Laos)|
|DAY 21||Pakbeng – Nan (Laos / Thailand)|
|DAY 22||Nan – Chiang Mai (Thailand)|
|DAY 23||Departure from Chiang Mai (Thailand)|
DAY BY DAY
Day 1 / Arrival in Chiang Mai (-/-/D)
Check into the hotel. Late afternoon meet your fellow travelers at the welcome dinner and tour itinerary presentation, motorcycle handover, basic group riding rules and get familiar with the local riding environment.
Day 2 / Chiang Mai – Golden Triangle (Thailand) (B/L/D)
In the morning we leave Chiang Mai in northeastern direction. On the way to Mae Sai we will stop at the Mae Kachan Hot Spring, the highest hot spring in Thailand. We will pass Chiang Rai and make a stop to visit the Wat Rong Khun, the “White Temple” which today is recognized as one of the main attractions in Thailand. Then we cruise towards the mighty Mekong River to the legendary Golden Triangle where the three borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet. We will enjoy the sunset over the Mekong River and a dinner with river view. Overnight at the Golden Triangle. (Distance: 270 km / 168 miles).
Day 3 / Golden Triangle – Luang Namtha (Thailand / Laos) (B/L/D)
We follow the Mekong river to Chiang Khong – the gateway to Laos and China and we cross the Mekong over the new Friendship Bridge. After completing the immigration process we continue the remaining 200 km in Laos to the laid back town of Luang Namtha. Overnight in Luang Namtha. (Distance: 250 km / 155 miles).
Day 4 / Luang Namtha – Mengla (Laos / China) (B/L/D)
After breakfast we will ride the last part through Laos before crossing into China. We enter China at Boten, a purpose-built ‘Casino Town’ to serve the Chinese fondness for gambling. We leave Laos and reach the Chinese immigration building where our Chinese guide is already waiting for us. After completing the immigration process we continue 45 km to Mengla, where we get our vehicles inspected, receive our driver’s license and temporary Chinese vehicle registration documents at the police station - quite an experience. Overnight in Mengla where we get your first impression of China. (Distance: 120 km / 75 miles).
Day 5 / Mengla – Yuanjiang (China) (B/L/D)
Today we ride through tea area. Did you know that tea is the second-most consumed liquid in the world after water and a good portion of it is grown right here? Nearly the entire route today is lined with tea estates growing on the mountain slopes. This is the region where, many thousands of years ago, tea was first consumed and cultivated. It is by far Yunnan’s most important commodity and it was the driver of the ancient commerce to the furthest flung empires across Asia and all the way into Europe. Tea transformed Yunnan into one of the ancient world’s most important places and it became a major crossroad and transportation hub. In China, the finest tea comes from this area. Overnight in Yuanjiang. (Distance: 440 km / 273 miles).
Day 6 / Yuanjiang – Jianshui (China) (B/L/D)
Another great ride is in store as we head east on the northern side of the Vietnam border. Today we have some of the best riding of the entire tour and an exceptional day in the saddle. In the morning we will ride on a wonderful road which is running down the Red River Valley. Then we cruise uphill into the Honghe-Hani Rice Terraces. A large variety of ethnic minorities populate this area who over the centuries built massive rice terraces that continue forever; to the tops of steep mountain ridges, on down their opposite sides, across valley after valley. Thousands of square kilometers are covered by these rice terraces and a fantastic road snakes through it all. This is the road we will ride. It is impossible not to screech to a stop every few minutes to take another photo. We lodge in Jianshui, a well-preserved ancient city. The giant city gate, Chao Yang Lou, is a popular meeting place for musicians and groups dancing every evening. The city’s Old Quarter streets are paved in stone and lined with a wide variety of traditional shops and businesses. (Distance: 305 km / 190 miles).
Day 7 / Jianshui – Shadianzhen (Stone forest) (China) (B/L/D)
Our first of four UNESCO World Heritage Sites is on tap today. The Stone Forest in Shilin is one of the natural wonders on this planet. Bizarre limestone formations spring up vertically out of the ground, covering a 350 km² area. Interspersed among the pillars are numerous lakes, adding even more atmosphere to this other-worldly landscape. Many of the spires look like petrified trees, thus the name. We will visit the Stone Forest in the afternoon and overnight in the area. (Distance: 310 km / 193 miles).
Day 8 / Shadianzhen (Stone forest) - Kunming (China) (B/L/D)
The capital city of the Yunnan Province is our target for today. It is China’s 16th largest city with over 6 million inhabitants, but it’s also one of China’s cleanest and most pleasant one. It is nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” because of its year-round balmy weather. Several things should not be missed in Kunming: the Green Lake Park, the Flower and Bird Street, and the central city walking espla nade. We should have time to visit them all since we have a short. Kunming is famous throughout China for its ‘Crossing Bridge’ noodle soup. Overnight in Kumning. (Distance: 80 km / 50 miles).
Day 9 / Kunming – Shaxi (China) (B/L/D)
The ride today is the longest of the tour and has a fair share on highways. We pass the tip of the Erhai Lake and continue northwest towards the Burmese border to Shaxi. Shaxi’s Sideng Market Square has been placed by UNESCO on their World Monument Watch List of the 100 most endangered cultural sites of the World. This is a magic place; the best adjective to describe the square is “wow!” Shaxi is a wonderful old town along the ancient tea route with plenty of old houses, handicraft and teashops to explore. Overnight in Shaxi. (Distance: 460 km / 286 miles).
Day 10 / Shaxi – Cizhong (Tibet / China) (B/L/D)
Today we spend the whole day on rural roads towards Tibet. The great pleasure comes from simply observing the people go through their daily, time-honored routines as we cruse along on our motorcycles across a landscape as pretty as a painting. In the afternoon we enter our second UNESCO World Heritage region called the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas. Here, three of Asia’s great rivers, the Salween, the Mekong, and the Yangtze, come tumbling down from their headwaters deep inside the Himalayas. They run in parallel gorges eroded deep into the earth’s mantle. Only thirty kilometers as the bird flies separate the three incredibly massive gorges at their narrowest point. We spend the next few days riding into and out of and along each river gorge in sequence. Motorcycle riding just does not get any more exhilarating than this. We will spend a night in the quiet Tibetan village of Cizhong. The locals here live in small farming communities in traditional homes and are inextricably wedded to their lands, growing rice, corn, and other basic food crops exactly as their ancestors did for hundreds of generations. (Distance: 290 km / 180 miles).
Day 11 / Cizhong – Shangri-La (Tibet / China) (B/L/D)
We ride to Deqen, hard on the Tibetan-Chinese border. Deqen sits at 3,400 meters and is surrounded by snow-capped, glaciated mountains. The scenery in this town, wherever one looks, is stunning. North we ride up the raw Mekong River gorge through an otherworldly landscape of raging wild rivers, near vertical cliffs, and towering, snow topped peaks that soar to over 5000 meters. We ride to the town of Feilaisi and enjoy the great view of Kawakarpo, the highest unclimbed mountain in the world at 6,740 meters. We continue riding over the highest pass of this tour, the White Horse Pass at 4,292 meters to Shangri-La. The whole day the landscape and scenery is simply stunning. Overnight in Shangri-La. (Distance: 220 km / 137 miles).
Day 12 / Shangri-La – (Rest day) (Tibet / China) (B/-/-)
This “version” of Shangri-La, altitude 3,200 meter, has become synonymous with any earthly paradise, and particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia – a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world. The original Tibetan population previously refers to this place by its traditional name Gyalthang or Gyaitang, meaning "Royal plains". This rest day should be devoted to visit the Gandan Sumtseling Monastery. An afternoon walk through the old quarters having an authentic glimpse into the cobbled lanes will easily fill up the remainder of the day. At night always something is going on in the Old Quarter’s town square lined with antique stores and shops of all kinds. For dinner, why not try a traditional Tibetian hot pot with Yak meat! Overnight in Shangri-La.
Day 13 / Shangri-La – Lijiang (Tibet /China) (B/L/D)
We head east over the last pass at 3,600 meters then slowly start to decent down from the Tibetan plateau. We will ride on one of the most memorable road of all. Again we ride endless cures, passing through Tibetan villages and towards the end through the Tiger Leaping Gorge. This fantastic road follows a contour line along the third-deepest gorge in the world. The Tiger Leaping Gorge is formed by the fierce and young (at this point) Yangtze River, which slices a path through towering, snow-clad mountains. Lunch today is at a simple family-run guesthouse and farm that serves good local food. Lijiang, our destination for tonight. It is the third UNESCO World Heritage Site which we will visit and the most popular destination in China, even surpassing Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in Beijing. A real party atmosphere permeates Lijiang and it is a great place to meet and mix with the locals and tourists. Overnight in Lijiang. (Distance: 280 km / 174 miles).
Day 14 / Lijiang – Dali (Half Day Riding) (China) (B/L/D)
Lijiang’s charming Old Town is a maze of cobbled streets, canals, and stone bridges that date from the Ming Dynasty. You are free to explore this ancient city at your leisure. Lijiang is a ‘shop till you drop’ type of place and all sorts of interesting items are for sale. We check out at 12:00 and follow our way southwards over the modern version of the Ancient Tea-Horse Road to Dali. For a long time Dali has been a cross road for trade and culture. Until today, this walled city is well preserved with many shops, restaurants and bars. In the evening there is time to stroll around the streets and explore the town. We lodge in the Old Quarter tonight. Overnight in Dali. (Distance: 165 km / 103 miles).
Day 15 / Dali – Shuangjiang (China) (B/L/D)
In the morning we discover the nearby Three Pagodas of Shong Sheng Temple.The elegant, balanced and stately style is unique in China’s ancient Buddhist architectures, which makes it a must-see of our tour. Once back on the road we drive our way through the formidable mountains that form the border between Burma and China and which also hem in the western side of the Mekong River valley. We are so close to Burma that most of the highway signs have Burmese writing on them alongside the Mandarin. This is yet another great highway we will ride during the whole day. An added bonus is that there is hardly any traffic. Nearly six hours of motorcycle bliss. We overnight in a small town called Shuangjiang. (Distance: 385 km / 239 miles).
Day 16 / Shuangjiang - Jinghong (China) (B/L/D)
Leaving Shuangjiang we continue on bended roads, passing villages, tobacco and tea plantations. The roads are good and there is not much traffic. There are plenty of places to stop for a photo on our way. We can enjoy another pleasant riding day. In the afternoon we reach Jinghong, a major shipping port on the Mekong River. Jinghong is the capital city of the Sipsongpanna region of Yunnan. Historically Sipsongpanna was once one of the major Kingdoms in this part of S.E. Asia. Many Thai minorities still live in and around Jinghong, and the housing and clothing styles are decidedly Thai. Enjoy a Hamburger at the Mekong Café, take a stroll down to the huge night market by the Mekong. We overnight in Jinghong. (Distance: 350 km / 217 miles).
Day 17 / Jinghong – Oudomxay (China / Laos) (B/L/D)
Our riding adventure in China and Tibet is drawing to a close. We ride the final 175 km south to the border. At Mohan we say good-bye to our Chinese guide and cross into Laos were our Lao guide is waiting for us. Normally exiting China and entering Laos is smooth. After a local lunch we ride rural and winding roads in Laos towards our final destination of the day, Oudomxay. Overnight in Oudomxay. (Distance: 275 km / 171 miles).
Day 18 / Oudomxay – Luang Prabang (Laos) (B/L/D)
Another incredible day: Fresh air in the morning and spectacular views. We will ride on the brand new road over the mountain to Pak Mong. There are plenty of scenic spots on the way. After Pak Mong the road widens and we rather quickly cover the remaining 110 km to Luang Prabang, the destination of the day. This beautiful town, with its gleaming temple roofs, fading French architecture and stunning mountain backdrop, is our fourth and last UNESCO World Heritage Site. It also has been claimed to be ‘the best preserved city in South East Asia’. The evening we enjoy once again by the Mekong River. Overnight in Luang Prabang. (Distance: 200 km / 124 miles).
Day 19 / Luang Prabang (Rest Day) (Laos) (B/-/-)
This day is at your own disposal. In the morning you will have the option to rise early to view the procession of monks on their daily outing collecting alms, a practice that dates back centuries. It is done early, as the monks cannot eat anything after midday. By giving food to a monk you ‘het bon’ or make merit, which should augur well for your next life. After breakfast, for the ones who want we can visit the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfalls, 29 km south of town. It’s possible to swim in the lagoon, so bring your swimming gear. Around noon, once back from the waterfalls you can visit the major temples, including the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong, which nestles at the meeting of the Mekong and the Nam Khan Rivers. Another great optional activity is to sample a traditional Lao massage and herbal sauna. At sunset, challenge yourself and walk the +300 steps up to mount Phousi and enjoy the stunning panoramic view of Luang Prabang. Enjoy and have fun! We stay overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 20 / Luang Prabang – Pakbeng (Laos) (B/L/D)
With newly “charged batteries” our journey takes us south towards Xayaboury, an easy and nice ride. In Xayaboury we take the road 4A towards Hongsa. The road is scenic and narrow; it winds its way through valley after valley, over mountains and through village after village. There is hardly any traffic and we are enjoying every minute. Our final destination for the day is Pakbeng, a colorful village situated at the junction of the Mekong River and the smaller Beng River, hence the town’s name ‘Pak’ meaning ‘mouth’ in Lao. The scenery is stunning, the pace is slow and it's the perfect way to relax and enjoy the slower pace of Laos. We stay overnight in Pakbeng. (Distance: 280 km / 174 miles).
Day 21 / Pakbeng – Nan (Laos / Thailand) (B/L/D)
We will leave Pakbeng and ride the remaining 60 km in Laos to the Thai border at Huai Kon. At the border we say good-bye to our Laotian guide. Once finalizing the border formalities we are suddenly driving on the left side of the road again and heading towards Bo Kluea. Without any doubt the road to Bo Kluea and Nan offers some of the most scenic riding in all of Thailand through villages and valleys. The tiny village of Bo Kluea is located in a scenic valley close to the Lao border - remote and picturesque. Leaving Bo Kluea behind us, we are back on curvy roads, riding the mountains southwest towards Nan. Most of the day we are following the mountain range forming the border between Thailand and Laos. Overnight in Nan. (Distance: 220 km / 137 miles).
Day 22 / Nan – Chiang Mai (Thailand) (B/L/D)
After breakfast we drive from Nan in a western direction. During the last day of our motorcycle adventure we cruise once again hilly roads via Phayao to Chiang Mai. In Phayao we enjoy lunch by the lake before we arrive back in Chiang Mai in the afternoon, in time to get ready for our farewell dinner. We end the day together with our new friends, sharing good riding memories and looking at some of the pictures from our adventures of the last three weeks. We will overnight in Chiang Mai. (Distance: 300 km / 186 miles).
Day 23 / Departure Chiang Mai (Thailand) (B/-/-)
Transfer to Chiang Mai International Airport.
|Vehicle||Single Rider||Pillion||Single Room|
|BMW||(sharing room)||(sharing room)||Suppl.|
All prices are in USD
- A deposit of USD 1,000,- per rider and USD 1,500,- per rider and pillion is payable upon booking. Rest payment is due latest 60 days before departure
- The above prices are based for a group of 5 riders. If you come with less than 5 riders please contact us for a price offer
- The price for a single rider in a sharing room requires another single rider booking with the same request. If there is no other request for room sharing we will have to charge you the single room supplement
- Prices include 7% VAT
- The tour starts and ends at Bike Tour Asia Service Center ( Service Center Gmaps)
Due to the lengths of your International flight and the time difference you may have to leave your country a day earlier, subsequently you will arrive one day later back home. Please book your flights accordingly!
Route itinerary and destination may be subject to change in case of force majeure, weather conditions, road conditions and any other significant circumstances.
We are pleased to assist you with the booking of additional nights in Chiang Mai or any other services in connection with the tour! Please let us know.
The first and last days mentioned in the itinerary are the arrival and departure days for the tour's start and end points. Depending on the country you start in, you may have to leave a day early, subsequently; you will arrive one day later back home. Book your flights accordingly!
Route itinerary and destination may be subject to change in case of force majeure, weather conditions, road conditions and any other significant circumstances.
We are pleased to assist you with the booking of additional nights in Chiang Mai or any other services in connection with the tour! Please let us know.WHAT IS INCLUDED / NOT INCLUDED
Included in the tour price
- Transfers in Chiang Mai
- 22 overnights at carefully selected quality hotels and resorts (leisure facilities when available)
- Breakfast every day
- 19 lunches
- 20 dinners
- Water, soft drinks and coffee / tea in connection with the meals
- Late model of a BMW GS Motorcycle as per your choice with unlimited mileage
- Fuel during the whole tour
- Third Party liability insurance and a motorcycle damage coverage (details see under “Insurance”)
- Road captain on motorcycle leading the group
- Tour guide in support van in all countries, Thailand, Laos and China / Tibet
- Support van for luggage transportation (1 piece per person), drinks and space for a few guests on entire tour upon prior request
- Entrance fee to National Parks and Historical Sites
- All licenses and permits in Laos and China
- Police escort in Laos according to legal requirement
- Tour information package including riding and safety tips, details about the hotels, the route and the sights
- Bike Tour Asia T-shirt
- All services not mentioned as included
- All personal expenses
- Alcoholic beverages
- On the rest days, no lunch or dinner included
- Visa to Laos (USD 30-35,- depending on the nationality), visa on arrival, please note that we are entering Laos twice, meaning you will have to buy twice a visa
- Visa to China (USD 60 – 240,- depending on the nationality. Visa has to be applied PRIOR to the trip at a Chinese Embassy or Consulate General. We will provide you with invitation letter
- Optional motorcycle loss/damage waiver (please see details under "Insurance")
MOTORCYCLE DAMAGE & LOSS COVERAGE / WAIVER / TRAVEL ACCIDENT INSURANCE
A security deposit according to the below list is to be presented through electronic blocking of funds on your credit card (Mastercard/Visa) or in cash upon hand-over of the motorcycle. The full amount will be electronically unblocked on your credit card or cash refunded after the tour (if no damage or loss of the motorcycle occurred). For more details, please see Terms & Conditions.
|All in USD||Security deposit||Daily waiver premium / outside Thailand|
- Included for riding in Thailand is a motorcycle damage & loss coverage with a maximum deductible amount up to the level of the security deposit (according the motorcycle type) and no daily waiver premium applicable.
- For riding outside of Thailand Bike Tour Asia offers an optional daily damage & loss waiver for the motorcycle, based on the above listed daily waiver premiums, which will limit the maximum deductible amount up to the level of the security deposit in case of damage or loss to the motorcycle while riding outside Thailand. Without purchasing the optional waiver, your security deposit amount must be equal to the full value of the motorcycle.
- A Travel Accident Insurance is included for BTA Guided Tours only and as shown below.
Travel Accident Insurance, by AXA Insurance Company, is included in all BTA Guided Tour prices.
Limit of Liability: (All in USD)
|Loss of Life, Sight, Dismemberment, Total Permanent Disability||30,000|
|Accidental Medical Expenses||15,000|
Underlying coverage is in Thai Baht’s and converted into USD using exchange rate 1 USD = 32 Baht
|31 August - 22 September 2019 (motorcycles available)|
This tour is also open for your own private group. Please choose your desired dates - all year round and come with your friends, club or company (subject to motorcycle availability).