Northern Laos Loop – 4. Journey Day 1 (Vientiane to Xayaboury)

Day 1 (Vientiane – Xayaboury)

Because there are no direct (and cheap) flights from Singapore to Laos, I took a Tigerairways flight to Udon Thani, a city in northeast Thailand. Udon Thani is located one hour by road to the friendship bridge, the Thailand-Laos border close to Vientiane. At the Laos side, Vientiane is about another hour by road. Many people have asked about the logistics of getting from Udon Thani to Vientiane. Here’s the gist of it:

  1. Mini bus (150Baht) direct from Udon Thani airport to Friendship Bridge. The bus can drop and wait for you at a photo shop if you need photos for visa application at the borders.
  2. Shuttle bus (15Baht) to cross the bridge. Currency exchange is available at the borders.
  3. TukTuk/Taxi (200Baht for the whole vehicle) from bridge to Vientiane. I shared a Tuktuk with four other travelers, so we ended paying 40Baht each.

My plane landed at Udon Thani airport just after 8am and I managed to clear the customs only at 910am.  After the transports described above, I reached PVO motorcycle rental at 12pm. At PVO, the Honda Baja 250 scrambler I had selected was cleaned, serviced and adjusted. After loading up my pack and attaching my Garmin GPS receiver, I was finally ready to start my motorcycle tour at 2pm.

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Northern Laos Loop – 3. Motorcycle

There are a few motorcycle rental shops in Vientiane. Douang Deuane Hotel, PVO and Lucky Motorcycle Rental (not sure if they are related to Lucky! Lucky! in Cambodia) are listed in the Lonely Planet Laos guide and PVO is recommended as the best place for 250cc bikes hire. A Honda Baja at PVO cost US$20 per day.

Another place that rents out scramblers is Green Discovery, a company that also conduct motorcycle tours. Depending on the number of days of hire, they charge between US$25 to US$28 per day for a Honda Baja. A useful service they provide is that they allow one to pick up or drop off the bike at any of their branch offices. The branch offices are located in Luang Namtha, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Khammouane and Champasak while the head office is in Vientiane. It cost between US$20 to US$40 for the service.

I ended up choosing PVO as they are cheaper than Green Discovery. However, I would seriously consider Green Discovery if I am not traveling in a loop. They would be a good choice for a Southern Laos ride from Vientiane to Pakse (near Champasak).

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