There are plenty of adventures that are appealing to the two-wheeled adventurer, but Thailand and Laos don’t often make it to the top of the list. For some, it’s just enough of a mystery that distance is kept from the Asian nations and never explored. MotoQuest is known for handpicking its destinations that fit certain criteria, ensuring each adventure includes incredible riding and interesting culture to experience. The Thailand & Laos Golden Triangle Adventure checked all the boxes and then some, leading us to share with you why this trip just might get bumped to the top of the “next adventure” list.
Like any good motorcycle trip, our Thailand and Laos Golden Triangle Adventure builds in intensity. Leaving Chiang Mai, we take the first opportunity we can to get away from the main roads and take secondary scenic and winding roads. By design the first day is shorter to let riders get acquainted with their motorcycles, get acclimated to riding on the left and learning the Thai traffic patterns in general. Our first night is in Sukhothai, also a Unesco World Heritage site that houses a huge temple complex, which we explore on bicycles at sunset. Nice way to end the day.
Our next stop is Chiang Khan and our initial interaction with the Mekong River. We will see it throughout the trip including in Luang Prabang. Mountain roads give way to a meandering journey along the river before our stay in Chiang Khan where we enjoy a sunset cruise on the Mekong to get acquainted with this river that has controlled the area for centuries.
As we enter Laos through the capital of Vientiane we are greeted with sensational night markets and stunning architecture such as the Patuxai victory arch.
Riding north we start to see more of the iconic limestone karsts often associated with the region and pass by the massive Nam Ngum Reservoir.
We stay overnight in Vang Vieng on the Nam Song river.
We’ll finally reach Luang Prabang, the place where the Nam Khan and Mekong rivers come together. As a bit of quick history, Luang Prabang was once the capital of the Kingdom of Laos and has architecture influenced by the French when they colonized the city. It is home to over 60 temples in the region and is often called the “best preserved city in South East Asia.”Luang Prabang is a Unesco World Heritage city. We purposely included a free day on the itinerary since Luang Probang boasts an assortment of cultural activities to enjoy. It’s a city that founder Phil Freeman says invites you in and makes it really hard to leave.
Luang Prabang is a city to get lost in. Being very walkable, you can wander the streets and take in the smiling faces of the Laos people. In the morning you can take part in giving alms to the monks.
During the 2018 trip, some of the group took part in a hike up to a Kuang Si Falls. It was a long journey but well worth it for these views.
Even though the city is walkable, many of our guests opt to rent scooters as a way to get around. It makes you feel a little more like a local. And our group is obviously drawn to things on two wheels.
As the sun sets, you can roam the night market, but the whole city closes down at 10 p.m., making for a peaceful setting to end your day. It’s a city with endless possibilities and we’re sure you’ll feel like Phil does when he says…
“It’s one of those places that you’ll wish you had more than one day in and find yourself wanting to go back.”
If you thought the ride into Luang Prabang was beautiful and full of culture, it is exceeded with the continuing of the journey. You’ll encounter just as much adventure as you make your way back towards Thailand. Our stop to visit one of the Hill tribes near Mae Hong Son is always a popular one.
And what epic adventure would be complete without traveling ‘The Road With 1000 Curves.’ To be accurate, it’s actually 1864 curves, but who’s counting at that point. The Mae Hong Son Loop is the riding highlight of the trip as this stretch of road offers stunning views of the jungle and fields. We save this for last as it is the most dramatic and technical riding of the trip.