Motorbiking in Laos: The Thakhek Loop-de-Loop

Intrepid traveller, Becky bravely set off on a solo motorbike trip on the Thakhek Loop in Laos. After meeting fellow travellers along the way, her adventure was far from lonely.

With a lot more rural areas than its neighbours, Laos is the place for some old-fashioned adventure. Motorbike enthusiasts should definitely look into doing the ‘Thakhek Loop’. This is a loop of (sometimes questionable) roads that takes three/four days to ride, travelling through Phou Hi Poun and Nakai-Nam Theun National Conservation Areas.

This is not a putter for the motorbike newbie! Some parts of the road are still under construction so it takes a bit of bike agility to make it through. But if you’re willing to give it a go, I highly recommend it.

Day one

Starting in Thakhek, take the route anti-clockwise, starting your journey in ‘cave alley’. Dozens of caves wait along this road – all of various spectacular-ness.

There are some with Buddhas, some with neon lights, some with water and others with not a lot. Pick two and don’t get too distracted – you’ll want to enjoy the sundown with a cold beer in Thalang.

Beautiful scenery greets as you approach this tiny little village; the road weaves through thousands of tiny islands with tree stalks poking their heads above the water. Just before the bridge there are a few guesthouses.

I stayed at the Sabaydee Guesthouse and had a blast! You get a little cottage and they cook a great dinner for whoever’s there. With so few options, all of the loopers tend to end up in the same place. We played a bunch of games which was great fun; it’s a good place to pick up some travel buddies if, like me, you started the trip on your tod.

Day two

Day two probably has the longest journey. But the spectacularly clear waters of the swimming hole at Cool Spring makes it all worthwhile; it’s the icing on the adventure cake! The water is so clear that the rocks at the bottom don’t look more than a few inches below the surface despite being a few metres down. I’ll admit that I did let someone jump in first just in case… #survivalofthecautious

Some choose to extend the trip to four days by staying in Na Hin to, but I continued on to Kong Lo cave arriving in the early evening.

Day three

The last day is slightly less scenic, but there is a good quality road back to Thakhek. Don’t be fooled by the lack of potholes! While you’re furiously looking out for them, it’s easy to miss the giant bugs – oblivious to the impending collision. A friend of mine learnt the hard way; his elbows (and motorbike damage deposit…) tell you all you need to know!

Overall, this is a great little adventure in the heart of Southeast Asia. If you have the pluck I highly recommend it as a convenient side trip, perhaps on your way down to the beautiful 4,000 Islands?

Contact our travel experts to plan your own Thahek Loop-de-Loop trip in Laos.

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