Renting a scooter may seem like a scary prospect, but when you’re in countries in South East Asia such as Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam there is nothing more freeing or awesome than getting on the back of a bike and taking off down on the open road. We guarantee you will meet at least a few people exploring these countries independently on the back of a bike and the stories they will rack up are amazing – especially in Laos, one of the lesser visited South East Asian countries. So how do you do it? Where should you go? Here are some tips – including routes – on renting a scooter in Laos.
The Shop And Scooter
One of the best beginner scooters for travellers are Honda Waves. We’re not trying to sell you on Hondas specifically here, but the Wave is a great semi-automatic option that gives you enough power to get up hills but not so much power that you’re going to take off and struggle to control the bike. A standard rate for scooters is around seven to ten euros per day, depending on the location you’re in. More remote locales may be cheaper, while renting in cities may be more expensive. It’s common practice to leave your passport as collateral when renting a scooter, so be sure to take a photocopy of your passport information and Laotian visa page with you if you will be going on a multi-day trip as many guesthouses will need it for check in (although some don’t bother when you get out in the sticks).
Route One: Luang Prabang And The North
UNESCO World Heritage city Luang Prabang is a bustling, gorgeous city in the north of the country well worth a visit and basing yourself there. The north includes the villages of Muang Ngoi which is surrounded by karst limestone mountains and set along a river. Formerly a quiet farming village, in recent years it’s picking up steam and is now a popular backpacker hangout, but still quieter than its counterpart to the south of Luang Prabang – Vang Vieng. Other popular excursions from the city include the trip out to see Kuang Si falls, Tad Sae falls and if you’re feeling particularly brave and adventurous you can take a couple days to drive out to the Plain of Jars – literally a flat plain covered in rock jars, whose origin and purpose remains unknown.
Route Two: Bolaven Plateau Loop
A popular route in the very rustic Laotian south, this route starts and ends in the city of Paske where you can rent bikes easily. This route will take you through tiny rustic villages, tribal areas and truly off the beaten trail locales which are sometimes still comprised of tiny bamboo buildings and tables made of old tree trunks. While it sounds rustic and uncomfortable, in reality it’s one of the most endearing and enjoyable treks you can do in Laos, taking around five days to do in its entirety. Be sure to try the local coffee – grown here on the plateau. You won’t regret it.
So if you’re looking for the ultimate in adventure, consider taking a motorbike tour of Laos. With so many things to see off the beaten trail it’s a sure bet you will come back in awe of this beautiful and welcoming country.