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Cycling, Southern Laos Islands to Siem Reap - 12 Days / 11 Nights
Cycling, Southern Laos Islands to Siem Reap - 12 Days / 11 Nights

Cycling, Southern Laos Islands to Siem Reap - 12 Days / 11 Nights

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Pakse - Champassak - Phou Asa - Don Khong - 4000 Islands Cycling - Don Det - Stung Treng - Kratie - Kampong Cham - Kampong Thom - Siem Reap

Starting at one of Asia’s natural wonders then concluding at Angkor – one of mankind’s greatest achievements – this adventure takes in a range of wonders. These include the 4000 Islands, a group of islands in the mighty Mekong, Kratie, a town famous for its potential for spotting Irrawaddy dolphins and Angkor itself. 

Day 1 - Pakse Arrival - Champassak (D)

lao-_pakse_town_view_-_day_1-185Upon arrival into Pakse, meet your guide at the airport and start cycling through Pakse town a towards the UNESCO Heritage site of Wat Phou.

The terrain is flat and road is not very frequented so a great way to start a cycling route in Laos!

Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Wat Phou is a spectacular pre-Angkorian temple that sits amidst the rice fields and waterways of southern Laos. The temple was constructed in three levels: the bottom level is focused on the baray (water reservoir) and promenade, the second level features quadrangular pavilions and galleries of carvings, and the top level is the sanctuary itself.  The temple was built by the rulers of the Khmer empire before the construction of Angkor Wat. The temple served as the most important economic and political center of the region and still is one of the Lao people’s most revered temples.

Cycle back towards Champassak, along the mighty Mekong, and check into your hotel.

Welcome Dinner and Overnight at The River Resort.

Distance and journey time:

Cycling distance up to: 58km

Difficulty: Easy

Day 2 - Champassak - Phou Asa (B,L,D)

Today’s cycle will start with a transfer by boat to the other side of the Mekong. Ride down the famous route 13, the only road in Laos that runs through the whole country. When arriving at Pathoumphon town, take a left to get closer to the River and discover a charming lesser visited Pre- Angkor temple called Um Tomo; a well – kept pearl as most of the ruins are in good condition and is immersed in a thick tropical forest.

Continue towards The protected area of Xe Pian Wetlands, a unique bio-diversity site in Laos and one of the most famous for bird-watching.

Check into your charming bungalow at the Kingfisher Eco Lodge and indulge in the scenery before lunch.

This afternoon, we’ll walk up to an ancient monastery overlooking the Xe Pian Wetlands to experience firsthand the tranquility of this beautiful but threatened environment. Once known as the land of a million elephants, Laos is still home to more animals than people—some 1,200 wildlife species, in fact. Laos has Asia’s lowest population density, and traditional village life remains refreshingly simple.

We overnight at the atmospheric eco-lodge in harmony with our natural surroundings.

Overnight Kingfisher Eco-lodge.

Distance and journey time:

Transfer by boat: 25 mins

Cycling distance up to 34km

Difficulty: Medium

Day 3 - Phou Asa - Don Khong (B,L)

Wake up early this morning and meet your guide for a unique bird watching safari through the Wetlands. The activity will start at 6am and finish by 9-9.30am.

This requires observation and listening to the many different birds inhabiting the canopy and lower sections of the forest. If we are lucky, we will see monkeys passing by as well!

After breakfast at the Eco lodge, join your guide for the longest day of cycling during your time in Laos.  Today, we will be riding on mainly flat terrain, always along the Mekong. For the next 2 days, we will be exploring the area known locally as Sipandon (‘4000 Islands’). In this beautiful area the Mekong River reaches 14 kilometers wide and thousands of small islands dot the waterway. 

Lunch will be at a local restaurant on the way.

Cross over to the biggest island in the area, Don Khong with a newly built bridge before riding through charming rice fields and authentic Laos countryside feel. The islanders lifestyle in the Islands of Laos are much more laid back and most make a living through agriculture and fishing. If time allows, enjoy your hotel pool while admiring the sunset.

Dinner tonight is at leisure. There are several restaurants nearby your hotel – and they all sell fresh fish!

Overnight at Pon Arena.

Distance and journey time

Cycling distance up to 98.5km

Difficulty: Medium

Day 4 - 4000 Islands Cycling - Don Det (B,L,D)

4000_islands_898_-_day_4-185After yesterday’s long cycling strip from the Xe Pian Wetlands, today’s cycling will be based on continuous Island hoping, by boat and with bridges at times.

In the morning, cycle around Don Khong before heading off to visit Don Det and Don Khone, two peaceful islands where plantations and simple villages are almost all you will find.

For lunch today, either enjoy a simple local lunch on the way at a local stall or take away a picnic box from your previous hotel.

The islands played an important role during the French Colonial rule as they linked Laos to Cambodia and Southern Vietnam. To overpass the waterfalls, a railway and bridge were built, the perfect place to take your time and soak in the view.

Next stop will be the impressive Lippi falls, which are wedged between Done Khone Island and the Cambodian border. Their original name, Tad Somphamit, means “trap spirit” and the locals revere these falls as they believe they act as a trap for bad spirits. 

In the late afternoon you will return to Don Det to check into your resort. A meal will be prepared for you and your guide as a farewell dinner at the resort.

Overnight at Little Eden.

Distance and journey time

Cycling distance up to 55km

Difficulty: Medium

Day 5 - Don Det - Stung Treng (B,L,D)

This morning, say goodbye to the 4000 Islands and take the boat out to Ban Nakansan before getting back on the saddle towards to Cambodian border.

Before we continue head to the border crossing, we will stop by the famous Khone Pha Pheng waterfalls; they are the largest in southeast Asia and the main reason that the Mekong is not fully navigable into China. In the late 19th century French colonialists made repeated attempts to navigate the falls but their efforts failed. This difficulty led to the construction of the Don Det – Don Khone narrow gauge railway.

Upon arrival at the Laos-Cambodia border, your local guide will help you with Immigration procedures before leaving with your new local Cambodian guide on the other side.

Estimated arrival time at border-10am.

Our guide will meet us before lunch this morning, just before we cross the border. We’ll begin heading south toward our destination, Stung Treng.  As we cycle the Mekong will drop slowly away and the countryside will open up. It’s peaceful in this area of the world, in spite of recent events.

The landmark to look for today is a bridge spanning the Sekong River. As we cross, we can see the confluence of this river and the Mekong, not far away. Idle boats bob down the current and a few fishermen cast their nets as the sun begins to set.

Overnight at Stung Treng.

Distance and journey time:

Cycling distance up to: 77 km

Difficulty: Medium

Day 6 - Stung Treng - Kratie (Cycling) (B,L,D)

mountainbike_in_kratie_-_day_6-185An early rise this morning and a local breakfast before we start heading due south. We’ll cycle from the hotel this morning, following the Mekong River on the right hand side. After twenty or so kilometers turn up and away from the river on a tarmac road, and link up with National Road 7. We transfer the next hour and a half, then strike out on the old highway. Keep an eye out for some of the local livestock such as cows and wayward chickens!

Before arriving at Kratie, we’ll take a short stop and hop on a boat in hopes of seeing the star attraction today, the Irrawady dolphins.

After our visit to the dolphins we can continue to cycle the remaining distance of about 14km or we can transfer the rest of the way by bus.

Overnight at Kratie.

Distance and journey time:

Transfer along National Road 7: 1.5 hours

Boat: 1hour

Cycling distance up to: 80Kms

Difficulty: Medium

Day 7 - Kratie - Kampong Cham (Cycling) (B,L,D)

Today is a series of river crossings and temple visits. We’ll start from Kratie and ride a few kilometers down to our first ferry. Once we disembark we’ll head for Chhlong on a road dotted with simple, rural villages. We cross at Chhlong and begin to see something you might not expect in Cambodia: Mosques. The villages on this side of the river are primarily Muslim minority peoples and quite rare in Cambodia, which is a staunchly Buddhist country.

For lunch we’ll climb a small hill with a good view of the surrounding countryside before continuing on. We’ll have the option to transfer directly to Kampong Cham as well, if the distance is too much.

Overnight at Kampong Cham.

Distance and journey time:

Transfer from Stung Treng to hotel: 30mins

Cycling distance up to: 72Kms

Difficulty: Medium

Day 8 - Kampong Cham - Kampong Thom (Cycling) (B,L,D)

Today our goal is something very special Sambor Prey Kuk via Kampong Thmor. Recent archaeological studies have shown that these ruins, about 160 km from Angkor Wat, are part of an ancient capital city of the Chenla Empire built in the 6th and 7th century. Not much remains now but a ruined series of temples that were nearly swallowed whole by the jungle.

On the way we’ll pass some more recent history. The 6th January Dam is a site built by the Khmer Rouge in 1978. To get past we’ll need to step off our bikes and walk about 500m.

As we ride on we’ll see Cambodian people going about their daily lives. In this area, most people make their living on farms. Some villagers even continue using water buffalo to tend to their fields.

Overnight at Kampong Thom.

Distance and journey time:

Transfer from Kampong Cham to Start Point 1.5 hours

Cycling distance up to: 65Kms

Difficulty: Medium

Day 9 - Kampong Thom - Siem Reap (Cycling) (B,L,D)

cam-_angkor_ruins_-_day_9-185Today we avoid to some of the poorer roads in Siem Reap province by transferring to Kampong Kdei. Not far from the national road is an ancient Khmer bridge that spans and even more ancient river. Even at 800 years old, this structure still stands and up until recently, was part of the main highway. Now it still hosts local motor traffic.

Continue to transfer another 31Km to Domdek village where the team and the bike are ready for you to start your 66km challenge on back road after through the historic highway connecting the province of Kampong Thom and Angkor Wat. We stop and have lunch in local restaurant.

After lunch we continue our challenge to celebrate as we reach the finished line, located a short distance from the Western Gate of Angkor Wat in the open field and watch the sun set over the sugar palm trees.

Note: This program will allow you to enjoy the cycling challenge but when in the temple area we will not have time to stop and check out the temples, just cycling through. Tonight, enjoy a celebratory Khmer dinner at Viroth’s, a stylish and comfortable restaurant set in a quiet garden.

Overnight at Siem Reap,

Distance and journey time:

Transfer from Hotel to Domdek: 2hours

Cycling distance up to: 66 Kms

Difficulty: Medium

Day 10 - Siem Reap - Angkor Complex (Cycling) (B,L,D)

This morning we start our bike ride to the entrance of Angkor Wat and head to Ta Prohm, famous from the film Tomb Raider, and deliberately left by French conservationists in the same condition as it was discovered; overgrown by strangler fig and silk-cotton trees, giving the temple a mystical and romantic appeal. We continue to Angkor Thom, Bayon temple and the Terrace of the Elephants.

We enjoy lunch at the Angkor Café before we explore the biggest religious Hindu edifice in the world - Angkor Wat. Considered the masterpiece of Khmer architecture, this Vishnuite temple is the King’s funerary temple, which is why the temple is orientated to the West. Inside the temple the walls are covered by carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign.

After these magnificent temples we cycle back to Siem Reap.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Distance and journey time:

Cycling distance up to: 25Kms

Difficulty: Easy

Day 11 - Siem Reap - Bantey Srey - Kbal Spean (Cycling) (B,L,D)

Today we’ll wake early and head to the outskirts of Siem Reap where we’ll begin our cycling for today. We’ll begin by meandering through rice fields and quiet dirt paths before coming to a tarmac road. From here will cycle to the village of Pradak, which sits in the middle of the ancient (and dry) East Baray, and old Angkorian reservoir. We’ll continue on down quieter roads until we reach Banteay Samre. From here we’ll continue onward around Phnom Bok and into the deep countryside.

Our main destination for today is Kbal Spean, one of the earliest Hindu pilgrimage sites in Cambodia. A moderate 3 km trek up the hill through dense jungle will reward you with excellent views over the plains and the Kulen hills. At the top, be surprised about the “River of 1000 Lingas” with its amazing Hindu stone carvings of Hindu gods, animals and symbols in the river bed.

Continue to the pretty temple of Banteay Srei, the so-called “Citadel of the Women” remains the best preserved temples in Cambodia. It displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art as this small temple is noted for its truly remarkable fine bas-reliefs. Banteay Srei is unique in that it is constructed of pink sandstone, which is seen nowhere else in Angkor.

After our visit we return to Siem Reap by vehicle or we can cycle back. After time to refresh we meet for our farewell dinner.

Overnight at Siem Reap,

Distance and journey time:

Transfer from Banteay Srei to hotel: 45 mins

Cycling distance up to: 50Kms

Difficulty: Easy

Day 12 - Siem Reap - Departure (B)

Enjoy the day at leisure. Transfer to the airport for your individual departure flight.


“An itinerary may at times be altered by our guides due to local conditions, the skill of participants and other unexpected circumstances. Our priority is always the experience and safety of our clients.”

Tour Duration: 12 Days / 11 Nights
Tour Operates: Year Round / On Demand
Tour Price: Available Upon Request

Rates vary frequently. Please contact us to get the best possible price based upon your travel period and specific touring needs.

Our services include:

  • Luggage transfer
  • Vehicles: (varies based on local conditions and vehicle sizes available). Private air-conditioned vehicle for transfer and back up as itinerary.
  • Bike, helmet, 1 biking water bottle per person
  • Plenty of water provided throughout the day when cycling
  • Local fruits, snacks and bottled drinking water (5 litre/1 biker/1 day) in cycling days.
  • Boat trips as indicated in itinerary.
  • Ferry fees and other river crossings
  • 1 Exo Adventure Certified English Speaking Guide
  • 1 assistant guide for for 8-15 pax, 2 assistant guides for 16+ cyclists
  • 1 first aid kit per guide
  • Each guide will have a full set of travel bike tools
  • Main support vehicle will have spare parts
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Sightseeing tickets where mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Accommodation as listed above.
  • Flight reconfirmations
  • A/C Support Vehicles for Transfer (varies based on local conditions and vehicle sizes available)

Our services don’t include:

  • Visa arrangements
  • International and domestic flights
  • Meals other than mentioned above
  • Soft drinks, or beverages beyond water – we can add this into costs at agents request
  • Beverage and alcoholic drinks at mealtimes
  • Tips for Guides, driver, boat crew & hotels ‘porters.
  • Energy drinks or powders, performance bars, or performance gels (Gatorade, Powerbars, Gu, Isostar, etc)
  • Personal Travel Insurance
  • Personal expenditure (laundry, telephone etc.)
  • Credit card/bank transfer fees
  • Any other services not clearly mentioned in the itinerary and in the inclusive portion
  • Other language speaking guides

Important Notes:

  • We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance (covering emergency medical evacuation) for trips to Laos and Cambodia.
  • Prices are valid 30 days from date of offer. Past this date price and conditions may be readjusted.
  • The cost of air tickets is subject to change without prior notice by the airlines.
  • Reservations during peak times (Christmas, New Year, National Holidays) may be subject to supplementary charges.
  • Rooms at hotels are available only from 1400 on arrival day till 1200 on departure date. A supplement will be added if early check-in or late check-out is desired.
  • Please note that all the above services & tours have yet to be booked, they are proposed for your information only and we will not make any reservations before we receive your confirmation to do so.
  • If one or some proposed service(s) is (are) not available at the moment of booking, we will try to find other possibilities/options or other similar service(s) in order to avoid changes to the program.
  • This trip can be done by Road Bike as well, but clients need provide their own bikes.

Creating Unique Touring Experiences

All the touring itineraries on this website have been carefully crafted by our in-country management teams and represent a series of experiences we can certainly recommend. However, we understand that every travel experience should be as unique and individual as each traveler. Our consultants are waiting to hear from you so that we can tailor or custom design a Multi Countries Adventure Tour to your individual specifications.

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Philippe Groult

Exo Foundation