Laos – Nature in its purest form

It already begins with the journey to Vientiane, the capital of this very special developing country. Immediately after you arrive, you feel at home and every expected pressure, every hustle and bustle of a capital city is cancelled. The Laotians, like the Cambodians, are perfect hosts. Everything is organized somehow, every evening all rubbish is removed from the streets. Laos is known for its varied and good cuisine, for relaxed people and for breathtaking nature. As in the neighbouring country Cambodia, you are almost never begged. Everybody tries to help and everybody is friendly. The accommodations are handpicked by us and always special. A country that we consider ideal to be travelled and experienced at a relatively slow pace.

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The Route

Laos is simply brilliant for all the demands we make on a fundriding tour. This is true for the mountains in the north of Laos. Already during our test tour in September 2018 we came back enthusiastically. Together with our local guides, we had worked out a tour to show the fundriders all facets of this impressive country.

The tour starts in the beautiful and tranquil capital Vientiane. This is the meeting point on Saturday, Feb 22, 2020. After we have gathered our first experiences as development aid workers in the tour project, which is still to be selected together, we will start.

Followed by a service vehicle, which besides our luggage also chauffeurs the accompanying doctor, the way leads us straight out of the city and up into the mountains. Details can be found in the description of the day. During the first Real-Tour in Feb 2019, all Fundriders without exception were enthusiastic and completely speechless. The tour is different every day. It doesn’t only give us deep insights into the untouched nature, but also brings us into direct contact with the different ethnic groups that live in the widely ramified mountains on the border to China.

The roads are good throughout and the traffic on most stages, very weak. Our route takes us up to an altitude of about 1,600 m, where we cross the mountains to the east. In the east we go down again into the lowlands. Each stage is different and the participants are surprised every day by another natural spectacle or another really impressive scenery.

The track can also be mastered by less experienced riders. We are equipped with a total of three guides, so that we have the luxury of forming two or three groups in order to do justice to the driving level. Everyone should have fun and enjoy without pressure, the more experienced and the beginner.

Also this trip is far away from rolling case tourism, not able to be booked elsewhere and presumably “the tour of your life”.

Description of the day

Saturday: Departure from anywhere to Bangkok (BKK) and from there to Vientiane (VTE); don’t worry we will advise you on flights

Sunday, Vientiane: As always and everywhere the Fundriders meet on Saturday. So everyone has the freedom to travel to and look at the target area in peace beforehand, or simply on the day you arrive.

Today’s meeting place is in Vientiane, the beautiful capital of Laos. Having arrrived at the airport simply take a taxi or TukTuk to “Villa Lao”. A few minutes later you are there. Arrive, take a shower, acclimatize and explore Vientiane on your own.

In the evening all Fundriders arrive and we sit together for the first common discussion.

  1. Overnight stay: Vientiane Villa Lao

Monday, we become mobile – active project day 30 km: The first morning in Laos. After an extensive breakfast the scooter is handed over. Everyone, who has problems with the handing of the scooter, is taught by us sensitively and understandingly. After a thorough check of the scooters, we then drive together into the project for which all fundriders have spoken in advance. The participants will be familiarized with the project and divided into groups. Each group is responsible for the planning and implementation of its own subproject. Of course we are always there to help you with words and deeds and guide you through the first steps as development workers. Every fundrider has already gained experience in fundraising in the run-up to the trip. But now it is about the use of funds, the direct and immediate deployment on site. An important and very positive experience that everyone will take with them on the tour.

The huge Mekong River is only 1 minute away from Villa Lao. Here or anywhere else in the city, countless stalls and restaurants invite you to dine outdoors. The temperatures at this time of year are simply fantastic.

2. Overnight stay: Vientiane Villa Lao

Tuesday, Vientiane – Muang Fuang 196 km: Here we go. Today the first stage is scheduled. We will take road no. 10 to the river “Nam Ngum”, where we will have lunch on a boat. On the way we will stop at a salt factory. This visit should be more than interesting for everyone. The salt is boiled out of salt water for hours. Countless wood stoves over a hundred years old heat the salt water in large pans, a crazy spectacle and simply unbelievable.

Our destination today is Muang Fuang, where we will spend the night in a private wooden house by a river. At the nearby market we shop for dinner before our arrival. Here you can buy almost all edible vegetables, fruit and animals. From rats to the normal fish, from the finest chilli to bananas.

The arrival in our Homestay is a highlight for every Fundrider. Over a small footbridge, which consists of four planks, we first have to cross a small river to reach the idyllic really beautiful wooden house, where everyone gets their own and special room. Right next to it flows the Nam Ngum, a fast flowing river against whose current one could not swim at all. Therefore you have to catch an inflated tire, go upstream and let the current float you back to the house. But be careful not to miss the stop …

Our guides can not only drive, they are also excellent cooks. We let ourselves be pampered and end the evening at sunset on our terrace.

3. Overnight stay: Muang Fuang

Wednesday, Muang Fuang – Vang Vieng 121 Km: After a great evening together in Muang Fuang we all slept fantastically. After a sensational breakfast from Thonkhoon and the second guide we set off for a 25 km short trip to the surrounding area. The participation is absolutely voluntary. The trip starts with an adventurous short crossing over the river with max. ten scooters on the small ferry. The rest is over a gravel road to a nearby school. Anyone who has brought pens or other school material from home can distribute it to the grateful children here. The return trip through a great landscape is also a highlight and everybody who got up the hour earlier will be rewarded with it.

At noon, there are sandwiches for refreshments for the afternoon tour. We continue 121 km in the direction of Vang Vieng. The road is partly developed, partly gravel, sand or mud. The very varied tour is rounded off by a sensational panorama and makes all Fundriders enthusiastic.

4. Overnight stay: Vang Vieng

Thursday, Vang Vieng- Kasi (Hot Springs) 89 km: So, enough of the tourists, off into the mountains. In front of us lie 90 km uphill. We will divide into 3 small groups. Therefore we are faster and will surely overtake the more slowly driving vehicles. With every turn of the road the landscape becomes more beautiful. Some Chinese trucks fight their way up the mountain. The road is in relatively good condition. We climb higher and higher up to about 1.000 meters, the view is breathtaking. It is the most beautiful and varied part of the tour so far. Dusty and sweaty but with a grin on our face we will reach our night quarters “Hot Springs”. A beautiful place with terraced basins fed by a hot spring. There is nothing more beautiful after such a tour than rinsing the dust from the skin in 40°C warm water. Tonight, we will spend the night in small huts and tents after a barbecue.

5. Overnight stay: Kasi (Hot Springs)

Friday, Hot Springs – Phonsavanh 160 km: Off to the north. From Kasi it’s another 25 km uphill. At an altitude of about 1.300 meters we turn right and cross the mountains from west to east.

Today’s destination is Phonsavanh. With a breathtaking view of ancient but inhabited limestone villages we will only make slow progress. The view is simply too good to rush. Lunch is served at the Nam Jak restaurant. After a small rest we still have about 70 km in front of our chest. Arrival in Phonsavan in the late afternoon.

Having arrived here we will drive on a mountain parallel to the city. At the top is our Homestay. It belongs to a nice Frenchman who made his dream come true here. The individual bungalows all offer a unique view of the city below. The restaurant offers everything you could wish for. Of course, everyone is also free to go down to the city for dinner.

6. Overnight stay: Phonsavanh

Saturday, Phonsavan – Muang Mo 177 Km: After a fantastic breakfast with a great view of the valley of Phonsavan we head towards Muang Mo. After refueling the scooters we visit a so called Jarfield on a nearby hill. According to legend, the man-high stone jugs were used to burn whisky to keep the soldiers happy after a won battle with whisky. In the north of Laos, where we are, many bombs were dropped during the Secret War. It is believed that there are still up to 80 million dud bombs in Laos today. The defused bombs are used by the population as ashtrays, garden fences and decoration. After this short tourist throw-in, we first have to overcome some meters of altitude on gravel and dusty ground. Passing roads with up to 12 % gradient or incline demand the highest concentration from the drivers and the material. The last 50 km are flat and easy to master.

7. Overnight stay: Muang Mo

Sunday, Muang Mo – Viengthon 168 km: This morning we have breakfast in a nearby restaurant. Our guide Thongkhoon cooks scrambled eggs in a wok over a fireplace in the backyard.

Well strengthened we will drive over a very demanding route. Partly in 1st gear we crawl up a steep, bumpy gravel road and on the other side of the mountain down again. Finally on a tarred road we head towards Tasi. These wonderful serpentines are the reward for the shaking in the morning. In Tasi there is a simple noodle soup for lunch. Another 100 km separated us from today’s destination Viengthon. On the road we meet few other vehicles, but cows, dogs, pigs and many water buffalos. Unlike in Cambodia, however, the animals here do not just run onto the road unexpectedly, but sometimes they just lie in the middle of it. Today we drive in two groups, so that the faster ones can accelerate a bit without the weaker ones feeling under pressure. On the way we visit a mountain village, the houses here are only single-storey and without windows to keep the temperature constant. About 16:00 o’clock, still relaxed before the twilight, which begins about 18 o’clock, we are in Viengthon and let the evening end relaxed.

8. Overnight stay: Viengthon

Monday, Viengthon – Kong Lor (Cave) 115 km: Good morning in Viengthon! First refuel and get ready for the trip to Kong Lor Cave. The first part of the route runs over well paved roads first over the Namkading and later over the Nam Ngouang River. Here we make a short stop to see the small but special boats. They were cut open airplane tanks made of metal. Necessity is the mother of invention.

In the further course of the route the roads get worse and the villages visibly poorer. Here there are no more bricked houses, but huts made of wood, partly decayed but nevertheless inhabited.

Everywhere children wave, they love to high-five us during the trip. You can see how far away we are from the mainstream – fantastic.  On a wide Red Road we prepare our lunch and enjoy sandwiches under amazement of the passing locals.

The last part of the drive gets a bit bumpier until we arrive at the end of a valley in our accommodation, the Spring River Resort. A small paradise directly at a river in the middle of a rocky landscape. This paradise is led by a Swiss couple.

9. Overnight stay: Kong Lor (Cave)

Tuesday, a day in paradise 0 km: Here you simply have to stay a whole day. Blue lagoons and a cave that takes over an hour to cross by boat. In addition, this unbelievable peace and serenity of the Swiss owners, an idyll that has no equal. The huts are spread on stilts amidst huge green leaves and are only connected by a footbridge. A dream.

10. Overnight stay: Kong Lor (Cave)

Wednesday, Kong Lor – Paksan 174 km: Back to reality – the road. We want to collect kilometers and with it donations, so let’s go in the direction of Paksan. The route today is beautiful in the first half. We drive through wide fields along a rock formation and cross the last small mountain range in some serpentines. But in the course of the route it gets unspectacular, especially after the impressions of the last 8 days.

After 174 km we reach Paksan. Paksan lies directly on the shore of the impressive Mekong River. Sitting here in the evening and looking over to Thailand on the other side is an impressive feeling. Maybe enjoy a nice massage and then off to bed, tomorrow it will be exercise again.

12. Übernachtung: Paksan

Thursday, Paksan – Vientiane 189 km: On Thursday morning we leave Paksan and take the expressway from east to west towards Vientiane. After 50 km we turn again to take the last highlight of the tour with us. First road, then Red Road and at the end a motocross mogul track lead us to a beaten track. As it should be for a reasonable off-road section, here we drive at trail speed. Having arrived below and after another 400m on foot we arrive at a wonderful waterfall. The way is worth it! Climbing we reach the refreshing wet and enjoy the cooling down. In the meantime Thongkhoon and the second guide prepare our lunch.

Again the way back is dry. In the afternoon sun and in the after-work traffic we bustle through the streets of Vientiane with the entire troop to our already well-known hotel, the Villa Lao.

Approx. 1,600 km through Laos are now behind us. A fantastic country with a fantastic landscape and unbelievably nice people – we are all in love with the country and its people – guaranteed.

12. Overnight stay: Vientiane

Friday, Vientiane: individual departure

Stops of the Tour

  • A: Vientiane
  • B: Muang Fuang
  • C: Kasi
  • D: Phonsavan
  • E: Thathom
  • F: Viengthong
  • G: Kong Lor Cave
  • H: Paksan
  • I: Vientiane

The cost sharing amounts to € 1.990,-

contained therein:

  • Information/advice regarding flight options to the meeting point in Vientiane/Laos
  • 12 nights in hotels, guesthouses or special locations (Single room surcharge € 200,-)
  • 11 days use of a 125 ccm large wheel scooter
  • Mechanics and E-parts for the rental scooters in case of defect
  • all the fuel
  • active cooperation whether physical or mental in our tour project
  • Water and fruit during the tour
  • Service vehicle for the transport of luggage, etc.
  • Mechanic for repairs on the road
  • Medical care during the entire tour
  • 2 local tour guides
  • 2 German tour guides
  • Entrance fees, ferry ticket
  • Cleaning the vehicles after the tour
  • In the event of a fall / illness / cancellation of the tour, free return transport to the starting point in Vientiane.

not included therein:

  • Flight to/from Bangkok (from approx. € 450,-), flight Bangkok – Vientiane – Bangkok (from approx. € 70,-)
  • Damage caused by falls
  • Food costs over water, fruits during the tour

Additional options:

Of course anybody can add or store additional vacation time.

Donation goal

The purpose of the donation will be announced as soon as the group is complete.

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