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Laos forum

Motorbike from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng

Posted by philip81 on 10/10/2016 at 09:13

Hi all,

I've looked long and hard to find some answers to the following questions but so far unsuccesful. I hope someone(s) here can address one or more of our concerns.

We (my girlfriend and I) will be traveling through Laos for a couple of weeks soon, and as part of this we want to do a motorbike ride from LPB to Vang Vieng , and back.
Now I noticed everyone seems to drive Route 13 over Phou Khoun (this route), which we're planning to take for the drive back from Vang Vieng to LPB. For driving to Vang Vieng however, we're considering taking Route 4 out of LPB (this one here). Now I know that Route 4 is supposed to be pretty good, but at some point we have to leave it to cross over to Kasi (this stretch of road) and I can't seem to find any reliable info on that.

My questions (numbered for your convenience):
1 - Any ideas on the road conditions between Route 4 and Kasi?
2 - Has anyone driven either Route 4 or 13 with a light bike such as Honda Wave? If yes, how was your experience in doing so? Were you riding solo or with two people on the bike?
3 - For both Route 4 and 13, how frequent are towns/villages along the way for refreshments or more importantly mending a punctured tire?
4 - Any advice on renting a heavier bike in LPB? The only place I know (and have rented from before) is KPTD and although I like them they ask 70USD per day for a 250CC Honda.

Thanks in advance for your help. If anyone has any other cool tips, ideas or advice, always happy to hear.

#1 philip81 has been a member since 10/10/2016. Posts: 2

Posted by SoManyMiles on 11/10/2016 at 01:12 TF writer

Hi philip81
I'm currently on the road (am about to board a plane). I can answer a few of your questions in a day or so.


#2 SoManyMiles has been a member since 7/2/2014. Posts: 147

Posted by philip81 on 11/10/2016 at 03:00

That's great, thanks, looking forward to hearing from you!

#3 philip81 has been a member since 10/10/2016. Posts: 2

Posted by SoManyMiles on 12/10/2016 at 00:24 TF writer

Hi philip81

As you mention, there are two ways from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng: Route 13 and what everyone calls "the new road". To answer you questions, Route 13 has all the infrastructure. There are frequent villages, rest stops, petrol stations, mechanics. The new road should only take 3.5-4 hrs by motorbike, saving 1.5 hours. However, buses and transport trucks generally do not use the new road as there is one super steep stretch and there are no large restaurants/rest stops catering to big groups.

A light bike could manage (solo, not pillion) but it really wouldn't be much fun on either route.

KPTD is the rental company I recommend. There are two off-road motorcycle tour companies in Luang Prabang, you can inquire with them about rental prices, I doubt it would be cheaper though.

And just an FYI, the US Embassy still has an advisory out for both routes.

Hope this helps.

#4 SoManyMiles has been a member since 7/2/2014. Posts: 147

Posted by exacto on 12/10/2016 at 04:17


As SoManyMiles says, the US Embassy Vientiane just renewed their travel warning for several stretches of road in Laos. I wasn't sure if these routes were included in the warning or not, but SoManyMiles confirms, so I would think long and hard about if this is worth the risk or not. In many cases, foreign embassies will err on the side of caution in issuing these notices, but in this case, it seems like there is a bit more substance to the warning. Cheers.

#5 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,840

Posted by serendipity on 12/10/2016 at 21:04

You can see the stretch of road from Kasi up to near Luang Prabang on this map http://hobomaps.com/Hwy13LowMapLaos.html . The part near Kasi is actually Highway 4C and then it merges into Hwy. 4 for the last part up to Hwy. 13 near LP. I've been on both roads recently and Hwy 4C is rather new and paved but had some landslide problems and muddy dirt sections. As SoManyMiles said above Hwy 4C doesn't have many bike repair places and some slopes are very steep. I wouldn't worry too much about danger from bandits etc as none of the recent troubles in that area have involved tourists or bikers (mostly directed at Chinese buses or Chinese workers.) In short I'd recommend not cycling Hwy 4C but staying on Hwy 13 as it s/b safe enough with plenty of repair shops along the way.

#6 serendipity has been a member since 5/11/2014. Posts: 4

Posted by Kohinko on 4/12/2016 at 09:36

Philip did you take the routes? How long did you ride?

#7 Kohinko has been a member since 4/12/2016. Posts: 1

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