General Information for Cycling in Laos
Exchange rate 9,700 - 10,000 kip = $1.00
Used USD dollars to pay and asked for kip in
Visa - Automatic 30 days at border.
Roads - 98% sealed. The shoulder varies, but
the traffic is very low and drivers are polite and
accustomed to sharing the road with scooters,
pedestrians and bicycles. Some small parts
are unsealed on the ride from Luang Prabang to
Vientiane. Very easy to maneuver.
Best rides - Luang Prabang to the reservoir on
Hwy 13 and Muang Phin to Lao Bao, the border
with Vietnam on the newly sealed Hwy 9 West.
Drivers drive on right hand side of road.
Dogs on the road very mellow, some barking
but no chasing.
Locals - Very friendly. Call out, "Sabadee"
(hello) as we pedal by the villages
Food/water scattered evenly along the rides. If
you are not too picky you can count on some
sort of food and drink, when you hit a village.
Honesty - No problems with short-changing,
rip-off's or security. Of course we took all the
common sense precautions.
Bike security - Most guesthouses allowed the
bikes to be rolled into the room, except for one
hotel in Vientiane. If the bikes didn't fit in the
room the Lao always found a secure place
inside the hotel/guesthouse for us to lock our
bikes at night.
Accommodations - Quality varies, but the style
is very similar. Guest houses are mostly motel
style, concrete blocks with rooms on the ground
floor in a row. En suite bathrooms are available
with showers that are over the toilet or in the
middle of the bathroom, rarely in a separate
stall. Hot water is electric. Cold water option is
less expensive. Toilets can be squatter or
western (normal flush or bucket flushing). And
most rooms come with fan or a/c. Some rooms
have TV with HBO, BBC, CNN, but most of the
time if you have a TV it has Thai channels.
Budget - Including food and accommodations it
was hard for us to spend more than $15.00 per
day for both of us. This was outside the main
touristy cities such as Luang Prabang, Vang
Vieng, Vientiane, which we found more pricey.