Laos Cycle 2018
This is a unique biking challenge through the beautiful country of Laos. Explore the fantastic city of Luang Prabang, the country life of the Hmong and Khmu communities and immerse yourself in the scenic views along the Mekong River.
Join us for a challenge you’ll never forget and help us care for more people living with a terminal illness.
Day by day, here’s what you and your fellow cyclists will get up to on your adventure.
Cycle grading: Challenging
This is when your adventure begins, meeting the group at the airport and departing on an overnight flight to Laos.
On arrival into Wattay International airport we are transferred to our comfortable hotel where we can relax before we have a bike fitting in the afternoon and a city tour of the That Luang Stupa, Patouxay and National museum. We then meet our guides and enjoy a welcome dinner against the backdrop of a great sunset.
Nam Ngum Lake
After an early breakfast at our hotel our bikes will be waiting for us to start cycling through the bustling hectic roads of the capital, to the city outskirts. Once in the countryside we spend the rest of the day cycling through fascinating, varied landscape on mostly flat and tarmacked roads. We end the day continuing to our destination at the Nam Ngum lake which is the biggest reservoir in Laos. Tonight we stay in a quaint local guesthouse by the lake.
This day is one of our hardest cycling days with some challenging hills to climb. In the morning the road is largely along a valley floor, surrounded by families working in their rice paddies, but by the end of the day we will be high in the mountains following a ridge with stunning peaks all around. We arrive into Vang Vieng known as the gate to Northern Laos, a busy town loved by backpackers and surrounded by great scenery.
We continue north through low rolling hills, fields, charming villages and stunning views to the west over the mountains. After our first notable climb there's a great descent and to the level roads along the Nam Lik River Valley and the small town of Kasi. We are almost half way here, ringed with hills and rice-paddies, with some karst outcrops punctuating the green and it marks the start of our long ascent into mountainous terrain. We ride the old Royal Road, that eventually leads to the royal capital Luang Prabang, along hill-ridges with breath-taking views of mountains and jungle that stretch for miles. Our day ends at the small market town of Phou Khoun, formerly a French outpost.
After a good breakfast we start a shorter but demanding day through scenery of villages of thatched houses nestled among forests of bamboo, tropical hardwoods, and we may see waterfalls tumbling down the green slopes. With these beautiful surroundings to distract us, we tackle with determination the long, strenuous winding climbs with hair-pin bends which contour the mountain ridges! A lovely thrilling descent follows as we freewheel into Kiewkacham, a small friendly mountain village which provides us with a wonderful cultural experience.
For our last day of cycling we leave the village behind for another demanding climb to the summit, but our highest ridges are behind us! A long sweeping downhill stretch takes us through a landscape of lush forest and limestone mountains; the small Hmong villages that we pass seem even tinier in contrast. We descend to the Nam Khan River and follow this for a while as it meanders through idyllic countryside. Turning west, we pedal our last few kilometers towards Luang Prabang, the ancient capital of the Lao kingdom, a spectacular city and a fitting end to our challenge. A World Heritage Site since 1995, it is enclosed by rivers and mountains and feels very remote. Studded with monasteries and temples, golden spires and teak mansions, the city is a delight to explore. We check into our hotel and relax, enjoying our surroundings.
This morning for those that wish there is an optional city tour to visit the world heritage site of Luang Pabrang, the former capital city of Laos, visiting the Royal Palace and the famous Buddhist temples; the Wat Xieng thong, Wat Visoun and Wat Mai. We have the rest of the day free and this evening we have a celebratory meal to mark the end of this incredible challenge.
Today we fly back to Vientiane and take our onwards flight to the UK.
By taking on this once in a lifetime challenge for Marie Curie you will help us care for more people living with a terminal illness. And when you join us you, we’ll help you have a cycle you’ll never forget. You’ll get:
- training guides, hints and tips to get you ready for your big challenge
- lots of fundraising ideas in your welcome pack. If you’re keen to get started with your fundraising right away, check out our fundrasing ideas
- access to a local community fundraiser who’ll advise you and help you smash your target
- two Marie Curie representatives who’ll trek the entire way, join you on a training day and organise a reunion
- we’ll set up a Facebook group just for your trek, so you can chat with your fellow cyclists before the trip starts
- a 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoors to help with your gear buying.
Our challenges are designed to make sure you have a fantastic time, so you don’t have to think about the details, just enjoy. The cycle includes:
- return flights
- local transfers
- an experienced tour leader who’s fully trained and knows the route and sites
- a doctor in the unlikely event of injury or sickness
- all meals while on the event.
This challenge is organised through Action Challenge. With over 160 itineraries in some of the most unexplored places on the globe, Action Challenge specialises in rewarding outdoor challenge events and unforgettable adventures.
Frequently asked questions
Do I need to sign up online?
Signing up online is quick and easy to do and it saves us vital money to put towards supporting people living with a terminal illness. If you are not able to sign up right now, why not save this page to your favourites so you can sign up online later?
Who can take part?
People over the age of 18 who are looking for a challenge are able to take part. The group size will be approximately 30 with people of all ages and from all backgrounds. The majority will be on their own, but some will go with friends, partners or relatives.
The event will be tough and exhilarating, but it will be fantastically rewarding and is suitable for anyone with a bit of grit, determination and willingness to work as part of a team.
How fit do I have to be?
This is a challenging trip and you will need to train extremely hard to succeed. All our challenges are designed to suit people who are fit and have trained to take part - the fitter you are the more you will enjoy the adventure. We will cycle approximately 70-80 kilometres per day (7-8 hours).
Will I need specialist kit?
We will send you a recommended packing list in your welcome pack which will detail any specialist equipment you may need.
What is not included in the package?
- Registration fee
- Travel insurance
- Recommended vaccinations
- Tips and gratuities
- Personal spending money
- Cycling helmet
What food and drink will there be?
Bottled water is provided throughout the trip. All meals are provided on the challenge and will include lots of carbohydrates such as pasta and potatoes, along with cereals, bread, fresh fruit, vegetables and eggs, plus some meat. There will be vegetarian options at every meal. Feel free to bring a few of your favourite snacks too. Please let us know in advance of any special dietary requirements.
What about vaccinations?
As a guide diphtheria, hepatitis A and typhoid are advisable, and tetanus and polio vaccinations should be up to date. We recommend you seek professional medical advice from your GP. Further information can be found on the NHS travel website http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx
How will I be supported?
Beforehand: You will be sent a fundraising pack with great tips on how to meet your sponsorship target. We will be in touch regularly and will organise a briefing day where you’ll meet other trekkers and hear more about the challenge.
During the trip: Your group will be accompanied by a doctor and trek leader, as well as a Marie Curie representative. Local guides will escort the group along the route. Your luggage will be transported by vehicle to each camp.
Can I cover the cost of the trip myself?
We ask you to raise a minimum of £3,650. A minimum of £1,845* will go directly to Marie Curie, as well as anything you raise over the minimum sponsorship. If you would like to pay for the trip yourself please contact us on 0800 716 146 for further information.
*Based on minimum participant numbers
What will the weather be like?
November is one of the best times to visit Laos. It is the start of the dry season with an average of 5mm of rain per month. The temperature should be between 18- 28 degrees Celsius.
Passports and visas
Participants should have at least six months’ validity on their passports from the date of return to the UK. British passport holders will require a visa to enter Laos which should roughly be US$35. We will send you more information on this nearer the time.
Can I extend my stay?
Anyone wanting to stay on after the trek can arrange to do so through Action Challenge at an additional cost and subject to availability.
How can I help limit the environmental impact of travelling abroad for this trek?
Marie Curie is committed to responsible tourism. This challenge is organised by our tour operator, Action Challenge, which will provide guidelines on responsible tourism.
What are the deadlines for my sponsorship money?
We require the 80% minimum of £2,920 by 31/08/2018. The remainder of the sponsorship is due 4 weeks after you return from the event.
If you have any further questions please call the events team on 0800 716 146 or email email@example.com.