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Bicycle and motobike rentals in Luang Prabang

Posted by ellenagger on 23/8/2009 at 21:26

Is it possible yet to rent bicycles and motorbikes in Luang Prabang province if you are a foreigner? It became illegal to do so a couple of trips ago and I'm hoping it's changed.

#1 ellenagger has been a member since 8/11/2007. Posts: 13
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Posted by SBE on 23/8/2009 at 22:02

Illegal to rent even a bicycle? That's bummer ... I really enjoyed exploring nearby countryside on a bike when I was there... bit dusty when lorries went past on some of the unsealed roads mind you.

Oh dear. Was already wondering whether Laos would be too busy in December, now this!

#2 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,021
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Posted by seagypsy on 24/8/2009 at 00:07

Sabaidee Ellen, Alleson, and SBE,

Yes, no worries; it's possible to rent both in Luang Prabang since fall 2008 and ride around the cold river. Although technically illegal for motorbikes, there's so much demand that the authorities haven't been enforcing the motorbike ban for some time now and even travel agencies are advertising their rentals openly. Push bike restrictions were imposed only for a short time, then loosened very quickly so there's a good supply now. A few places have restocked with spanking new Trek mountainbikes but the single speed Thai-made LA bikes are still rented at U$1/day which is all you really need to tour the town unless you're riding down to Kuangsi or Tad Sae waterfalls or to Xieng Neun.

SBE--last December, the closure of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International and Don Muang for a week by the yellowjackets combined with the world recession did hurt tourism in Laos. This year has been great to visit SEA because of lower tourists numbers. But if you're arriving near new year's eve, then good idea to book a room in advance for at least a night or two. Room rates go up ~25% in early to mid-Dec.

Ellen & Alleson--all the clues are in my posts to you but I prefer to maintain some anonymity so if you've got it now, hold on, and email me and don't spill the beans. I'll email you later today, anyway.

#3 seagypsy has been a member since 5/2/2009. Posts: 136

Posted by ellenagger on 24/8/2009 at 00:32

Very good to know about the bikes and motorbikes. I love travelling by bicycle around there.

Talk to you later on!

Ellen

#4 ellenagger has been a member since 8/11/2007. Posts: 13
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Posted by Rufus on 24/8/2009 at 09:17

The post above is incorrect. It was definitely NOT legal since the "Fall of 2008". The Government has only just recently reviewed the law, as was printed in the Vientiane Times a few weeks ago. It is legal to rent a bike or motor cycle now, however.

Laos will be very busy in Dec as the SEA Games are being held in Vientiane. Expect restrictions on travel similar to those when the ASEAN conference was held here.

#5 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by seagypsy on 24/8/2009 at 10:20

You're really full of baloney, rufus. Yes, the article in the Vientiane Times appeared several weeks ago but bike and mortobike were being rented even before I returned to Luang Prabang last October 2008. Need I refer others on this forum how 3 others who spend more time in LP than you that your position was completely refuted. Still very delusional, aren't you!

#6 seagypsy has been a member since 5/2/2009. Posts: 136

Posted by Rufus on 24/8/2009 at 10:35

SG, the only comment I can make is that apparently you have difficulty understanding the printed word. Might I suggest a remedial reading class? I assume they have them in Berkley, if not I can probably find one here for you in Laos when you come here.

The fact that motorcycles were rented does not mean that it was legal to do so, as the officials in Luang Prabang clearly stated. In fact, those renting them were "counselled" by the local police. Please tell me what part of these sentences you do not understand and I will try to make it plainer for you.

#7 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by Rufus on 24/8/2009 at 11:02

Just to start you on the path of your reading class, you might like to look at the following from the Vientiane Times in August. In case you don't know, the Vientiane Times is the official English Language newspaper of the Laos PDR:

" Luang Prabang provincial authorities will lift a ban on bicycle and motorbike rentals for tourists in a move to facilitate tourism growth in the World Heritage listed town.

The authorities banned the rentals last year despite complaints by local residents that the ban would present a negative image of the town to tourists.

Luang Prabang Deputy Governor, Mr Khampheng Saysompheng said authorities were drafting a new rule for the management of bicycle and motorbike rental businesses.

Factors to be considered include who will be responsible if a tourist is injured or dies from an accident on a rented vehicle and where tourists should ride and not ride the bikes.

“In my opinion, we should encourage tourists to ride bicycles, not motorbikes, to avoid air pollution and maintain order in the town,” Mr Khampheng said.

“We will try to include the cost of renting a bicycle in room rates for guesthouses and hotels.”

A senior official from Luang Prabang Public Works and Transport Department, Mr Bounkhong Souksavath said the main reason authorities banned the rentals last year was because many accidents involving tourists were occurring.

Some visitors do not have experience riding motorbikes or do not understand the local road rules, causing confusion among other road users.

Moreover, rental businesses park their rental bikes on the edges of roads and on walkways. Another problem is the theft of rental bikes.

Since the beginning of this year, several enterprises have operated rental businesses despite the fact the ban is still in place.

“The owners of those businesses are violating the rules,” Mr Bounkhong said. "

#8 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by seagypsy on 24/8/2009 at 11:55

Rufus--You've got to take your own advice and take remedial reading of your own to my post #3:

"Yes, no worries; it's possible to rent both in Luang Prabang since fall 2008 and ride around the cold river. ALTOUGH TECHNICALLY ILLEGAL FOR MOTORBIKES, there's so much demand that the authorities haven't been enforcing the motorbike ban for some time now and even travel agencies are advertising their rentals openly. Push bike restrictions were imposed only for a short time, then loosened very quickly so there's a good supply now.

______________________________________________

Besides, what does your post have to do with answering the OP's Q? She wants to know if she can rent bikes and motorbikes and she's been to LP before and knows that for a while, it was difficult to do so.

Again, you're pettiness is boggling. You know full well what this is about. You got shot down on another forum by two who live in Luang Prabang and one who lives in Vientiane and visits LP regularly and still can't come to terms that you were flat wrong. Let it go old man. It's OK, it's not the only time you've boldly contradicted others and had to retract your wrong information. It'll be alright. The world will still be here tomorrow whether motorbikes are able to be rented in Luang Prabang or not.

#9 seagypsy has been a member since 5/2/2009. Posts: 136

Posted by Rufus on 24/8/2009 at 12:59

What a silly little man you are. Try to post accurate information in future.

#10 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by Rufus on 24/8/2009 at 13:18

The amusing thing about you is that you make comments about people, who claim to live there but in reality don't who spend more time in LP than me, without knowing anything about my travel predilections whatsoever. Still you are mildly amusing in a peculiar sort of way.

#11 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by somtam2000 on 24/8/2009 at 14:39 admin

ok, so, in summary:

Both bicycles and motorbikes are now, today, currently and at the moment available for rent -- legally -- in Luang Prabang.

That should just about answer the OPs question I think...

#12 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,577
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Posted by Rufus on 24/8/2009 at 15:03

Yes that's it Somtam.

#13 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by SBE on 24/8/2009 at 15:30

Thanks for the info seagypsy and Rufus. I'm glad there are pushbikes there again anyway! I was a little surprised to see air pollution is now a concern in LP. There was hardly any road traffic when I was there....I do hope it hasn't changed out of all recognition!

Also thanks for the heads up about the SEA Games in December Rufus.

#14 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,021
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Posted by MADMAC on 24/8/2009 at 18:02

"I was a little surprised to see air pollution is now a concern in LP. There was hardly any road traffic when I was there....I do hope it hasn't changed out of all recognition!"

Air pollution in Laung Prabang? Hard to believe. We have a LOT of traffic here in Muk, but not enough to generate meaningful pollution. There just aren't that many people living here. How many people live there anyway?

#15 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by BruceMoon on 24/8/2009 at 18:28

John (MAC) take it from me, air pollution exists well before your nose alerts you to fumes. Nitrous Oxides (NOx) are possibly the worst in this regard, but particulates are a close second. Both are carcinogens.

When visiting LP in April (last), I was really struck with how enjoyable the place was without motorcycles zooming around the streets. As a tourist, continuing to ban bikes in the heritage area would be a wise move. IMHO, allowing bikes elsewhere (ie outside the heritage area) would assist those that want to travel further afield.

Cheers

#16 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by ellenagger on 24/8/2009 at 19:37

I'm glad to see a clarification to my question. I hope in my future threads on this forum that people refrain from insulting each other. Just stick to the questions under discussion, please.

#17 ellenagger has been a member since 8/11/2007. Posts: 13
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Posted by somsai on 24/8/2009 at 20:15

I don't know Ellen, I like the part where they call each other "silly old man" and stuff.

Problem wasn't pollution but rather people not knowing the Lao rules of the road, and being a paticular pain in the neck as drivers. Dangerous, lots of accidents. Push bikes or motorized same difference. Probably all those big bike bikers he he.

Continue on all you silly old men.

#18 somsai has been a member since 1/3/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 568


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