I am travelling first in Northern Laos with some friends next month and we plan to make our way down to the southern end of the country from Vientiane over about a week before heading to Thailand.
We would be really keen to rent in Vientiane and ride motorbikes for this leg of the trip but of course we do not have time to then turn around and ride them back to where we rented them from.
I have read about a place named Jules Classic Rentals (http://www.bike-rental-laos.com/aboutus.htm) in Vientiane where you can rent a bigger bike and pay a fee (I have heard that fees are/were around $25 per day plus $40 for drop off) for a one-way style rental.
I would much to prefer to do the trip for a lot less money and on a Honda wave or dream or something that everybody has so breakdowns are not such an issue.
Has any one heard of such a place that would do cheaper one way rentals in Laos with the usual more common bikes?
#1 sacott has been a member since 13/6/2009. Posts: 15
Like you, I like the smaller bike. However, for the distances you apear to want to travel, I'd suggest a larger engine sized bike.
Also, I'd rethink the idea of "something that everybody has so breakdowns are not such an issue". In the north, I noticed far more Chinese and Korean bikes than Japanese (too expensive). Also, unless you are lucky and got a brand new bike, rented bikes are NOT usually in good repair.
I haven't actually traveled in Laos before, was basing that assumption on some time in Thailand.
Perhaps we will spend the money on the Jules bikes or just ride the bus.
Another option was to bus it down to Pakxe and then get bikes for a few days and explore the area down there.
#3 sacott has been a member since 13/6/2009. Posts: 15
I had a friend named suki and she did this trip and loved it. She was a big fan of waterfalls, canoeing and sea cucumbers. Sounds extremely appealing.
#4 eml924 has been a member since 16/4/2009. Posts: 6
Yes, bus & bike is an option. At least you won't get caught in the middle of nowhere without the accommodation you'd prefer: though, that might make for an interesting journey.
If you do go bus/bike if are planning to hire at Luang Prabang, it's expensive there. LP has a no bike hire policy (as well as a no truck in town policy). The benefit is that LP is a walking town. To get a bike there, one really has to order it from Vientiane and pick up at LP.
Maybe you could look at doing a bike loop:
Vientiane, Vang Vieng , Luang Prabang, OudomXai, (maybe up to Luang Nam Tha and Muang Sing, before returning to OudomXai) then across to Nong Khiaw, to Nm Noen (and up to Sam Neua and Vieng Xai and return to Nam Noen) across to Muang Kham to Phonsovan and either of 2 ways back to Vientiane.
Alternatively, do a loop from Luang Parabang to OudomXai (etc, as above) so from Phonsovan you'd detour to Vang Vieng before returning to Luang Prabang.
Over to you.
Frankly, I find the long seat of the Honda Wave (which my wife owns) and similar small bikes vey uncomfortable. More than a half hour in that seat and my skinny ass is rebelling. Also, I hate bikes without a clutch, and don't like riding them. I've biked up the Mekong on the Thai side, but on a Honda Phantom - and it was just big enough. For touring I honestly think larger bikes are the way go - something in the 750cc range. They're more robust and safer.