At Asia Senses Travel we’re adventurers at heart. Our journeys are all about discovering new places and cultures while creating unforgettable memories through physical activity and breathtaking scenery.
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Our cycling adventure “Cycling from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang” connects the two magical cities of Chiang Mai and Luang Prabang. The route takes in some of the most beautiful and dramatic scenery in South East Asia following dramatic mountains, mystical rivers and picturesque hill tribe villages. We begin our trip in Chiang Mai with a nice and easy ride along the peaceful Mae Ping River. Along the way, we cycle through rice fields, forests, waterfalls and soaring limestone cliffs and temple retreat. Cross the border into Laos, and watch the pace of life change before your very eyes. Share the road with barefoot local tribes people and their herds. We end our tour in Luang Prabang, travel by boat as well as bicycle to discover this charming this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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DAY 01: CHIANG MAI ARRIVAL
Welcome to CHIANG MAI, the charming city in Northern part of Thailand. Upon arrival Chiang Mai airport, you will be welcomed by our Asia Senses guide and driver and transferred to the hotel in for check in. After a short rest, head out for a test ride on busy streets in the beautiful city of Chiang Mai.
Begin our first ride with a journey along the banks of the Mae Ping River. Watch the local life along the river banks. Our first destination is the hustle and bustle of the Warorot Market, the most famous central market in Chiang Mai, known specifically for its local Thai snacks. Stroll through this authentic market where you find real local products, clothes, food etc.
After the visit, jump back on the bikes and take another 02 km ride to our next destination the landmark of Thapae Gate, one of the most famous landmarks in Chiang Mai and is part of the crumbling city wall which once acted as a fortress for the “Old City” of Chiang Mai. From here, ride to the Three Kings Monument which was constructed in memory of the alliance of three northern Thai-Lao kings who made a great contribution to the founding of Chiang Mai.
Then visit Wat Chedi Luang, the most beautiful temples in Chiang Mai. The pagoda was built sometime between 1385 and 1402, during the reign of King Saen Muang Ma, 7th ruler of the Mengrai dynasty. Continue to Wat Phra Singh, an important Buddhist monastery and temple on the west side of city to finish today’s ride. Enjoy dinner at a riverside restaurant before take a walk around the famous night market in Chiang Mai.
To start the second day, you will be transferred to Mae Rim Dist, outskirt of Chiang Mai. Upon arrival, start our today’s cycle towards Bua Tong Waterfall, a small and beautiful, multi-tiered waterfall made of limestone and mineral deposits. You can easily walk straight up this rushing waterfall and soak up the beauty of it.
Afterwards, continue north for another 2kms then turn right to ride 13 kms through a beautiful teak forest. Along the way, stop to visit caves, temples and other unique local attractions.
There is an optional stop at a small village for a short rest before taking the bicycles across Mae Kuang Dam by boat. Put our bikes on, sail across the dam which takes you around 20 minute crossing. Have lunch at a local restaurant overlooking Mae Kuang Dam before a transfer to Phayao. Arrive in PHAYAO, do a relaxing kayaking or embark on a boat ride over Phayao Lake to catch a beautiful sunset before dinner.
Overnight at hotel in Phayao.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Phuglong Luxury Hotel
DAY 03: PHAYAO – CHIANG KHAM
This day, bid farewell to the beautiful Phayao Lake for the ride towards Chiang Kham, home to many Tai Lue or Tai people, an ethnic group that originated from nearby southern China’s Yunnan province and spread over many northern Thai areas. They migrated to this region over 200 years ago. On the way, ride through countryside area which are dotted with rice paddies, lush forest and beautiful mountains.
Make a stop at a local restaurant for lunch with amazing views of mountains in Northern of Thailand. While cycling, you are welcomed by the friendly smiles of local children.
Arrive in CHIANG KHAM in the afternoon, then ride to Thai Lue Cultural Centre, take a journey through the traditions and cultures of the Thai Lue people. Then take a visit to Wat Nantaram, a beautiful Tai Yai (Shan-style) temple in Chiang Kham. This Burmese-style temple is entirely constructed of heavy teak wood, with fine fretwork and carvings at its windows, gables and veranda. A final stop will be made at the Baedang Bat Cave for sunset. Have dinner at a local restaurant.
Overnight in Chiang Kham.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Rico Resort Chiang Kham
DAY 04: CHIANG KHAM – NAN
Enjoy breakfast in the serene surroundings of the resort. Then say “goodbye” to Chiang Kham and take a ride to Nan, a town in the remote valley of the Nan River in the Northern River Valleys region of Northern Thailand, bordering Laos.
Our journey will pass through rubber tree plantations between high mountains to quiet and peaceful villages and feel how close to nature you are. Stop for lunch at a local restaurant to try out the most delicious dish of Northern Thailand cuisine in Phayao province. After lunch, jump back on the bikes and complete the rest of ride.
Arrive in NAN in the late afternoon, then pay a visit to the beautiful Wat Phumin which was built in 1602 A.D. Its unique design makes this temple become the most interesting temple in Nan. Dinner will be followed, then free to discover night market in Nan.
Begin our cycling tour by a journey around the beautiful city of Nan. Ride from the hotel through busy roads, watching the main landmarks of this city and some ancient wats still exhibiting architecture dating back to the Lanna era. Then cycle along bank of Nan River, catching a glimpse of locals who come here and do some morning exercises. Continue our ride towards Thailand – Laos border at Huay Kon. Say “goodbye” to our Thai team.
Do immigration process and cross the border to Laos side at Muang Ngeun where our Laotian guide is waiting. Have lunch at a local restaurant in Muang Ngeun.
After that, start our first ride in Laos to HONGSA where some spectacular rice fields await. It is well known for its wild elephants and the annual Elephant Festival which is often held in mid-February. Upon arrival in Hongsa, visit Wat Simoungkhoun and its astonishing collection of Buddha images, before check in to the guesthouse. Freshen up before a stroll through town’s market and have dinner in a local restaurant.
Overnight in Hongsa.
DAY 06: ELEPHANT CONSERVATION CENTER
This morning, cycle out towards the Sayaboury city. Sayaboury is a mountainous province with peaks of more than 1000 meters high. Today will be a challenging day, as we will ride through mountainous terrain. The road is curvy and twisting. For those who find the going gets tough, our support vehicle will be on hand to take the strain. Enjoy the beautiful scenes of forest and mountain along the way.
After the mountain road, the last 30 km of the ride is mostly flat until reaching the Nam Tien Lake. From here, embark on a 15-minute boat transfer to Elephant Conservation Center (ECC) in SAYABOURY. The ECC was created in 2011 by a team of experts, its program is set up around the wellbeing of the animal, the reproduction, vet care, and the schooling of mahouts. Beyond being an exciting tourist experience, the ECC is also known for its pioneering work in conservation and science.
The ECC staff will assist you with check in at the bungalow. After a short rest, you could walk around, spend some time getting to know the elephants, witness the mahouts are take care of elephants, go for a swim in the lake or pay a visit to the elephant museum ect. Enjoy beautiful surrounding views while having your dinner.
Overnight in Sayaboury.
Elephant Conservation Center
DAY 07: ELEPHANT CONSERVATION CENTER
After breakfast, meet up with the elephants in the forest. Here you and mahout will help the elephants with their bath. For those who would prefer to not take part, they can view the elephant bathing from a nearby platform. The Elephant bathing is a great moment of fun. After bathing, begin our Elephants trek with the guidance of professional mahouts. Head to the socialization area where the elephants can freely interact and enjoy living in a semi-natural environment. This rare opportunity offers some unique insight into the elephant’s natural life. Lunch is served at ECC.
In the afternoon, spend some time at the yard elephants. There is no better chance to learn about the elephants’ delicate diet and get a chance to feed them, under professional supervision. The mahouts will show you three different ways to get up and down from an elephant in the traditional way. Then take a visit to the nursery, observe staffs take care of baby elephants and the ill elephants. The rest of your time is free to relax on the lake shore, embark on a boat trip on the lake to watch the dusk over the islands, swim or simply enjoy a fresh drink.
Overnight in Sayaboury.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Elephant Conservation Center
DAY 08: SAYABOURY – LUANG PRABANG
This day, say goodbye to the elephants before departing for Luang Prabang, a historic UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its rambling old buildings, glistening temples and turquoise waterfalls. Enjoy your final breakfast at ECC and pack up for the ride to the northeast. In today’s journey, we will cross the mighty Mekong River, the road will still have a few sharp turns and small steep climbs but will be mainly downhill. Enjoy beautiful scenes along the way, meetup with friendly local.
Upon arrival in LUANG PRABANG, check into the hotel. The rest of day is free at leisure. In the evening, you could stroll through Luang Prabang’s bustling night market, which is open daily from dusk until about 10pm. Buying souvenirs, handicrafts and textiles for your family and friends. Discover the best of Laotian cuisine at restaurants which are located next to the night market.
Start our cycling tour with a visit to Wat Xieng Thong - one of the most important of Lao monasteries and remains a significant monument to the spirit of religion, royalty and traditional art. After that, we move to Wat Sene Souk Haram or literally "Temple of a 100,000 treasures" is one of the most beautiful temples in Luang Prabang, singular by its restored painting of a deep ochre colour, flamboyant and glittering with gold. Then continue tour to visit the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun (oldest temple in Luang Prabang) and the shrine of Wat Aham. Tasting the best dishes of Laos in restaurants which are suggested by our guide.
In the afternoon, we will visit the National Museum. It is the former Royal Palace which was built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family. The Museum hosts a range of interesting artifacts from the Royal period in Luang Prabang.
NOTE: National Museum closed on Mondays.
After that, continue tour to visit Wat Mai - one of Luang Prabang’s largest and most richly decorated temples. Both its interior and exterior are extensively adorned with black and red lacquer decoration and gold leaf. At the late afternoon, we will start climbing up 328 steps to the top of Mount Phousi, for panoramic views of the city, surrounding countryside and witness the memorable sunset, one of the most unforgettable sights on this tour.
In the early morning, wake up early to the sound of the temple gong and observe the Morning Alms-giving Ritual procession. You would get a better understanding of local people's piety towards their religion.
After breakfast, our driver will transfer us to a pier on Mekong River. Start a Mekong River Cruise trip on the mighty Mekong River to visit the famous & sacred Pak Ou Buddha Caves. These caves, overlooking the confluence of the Mekong & Ou Rivers from on high, have been home to many thousands of Buddha images that were placed here by local people since 16th century. Make a short stop along the way to visit a local village where they make a living from weaving on ancient wooden looms. After that, broad back Luang Prabang for lunch.
In afternoon, cycle to Kuang Si Waterfall, where you will enjoy beautiful natural scenery, have fun in waterfalls and relax. Ride back to the town for dinner. On the way back, stop to visit a Black Hmong village. You will see and chat with villagers who make handicraft as souvenirs and sell them for visitors.