Discover Five Exotic Countries And Cultures In One Trip Of A Lifetime – 19 Days Of Blissful Experience
Motorcycle Tour China (Tibet)

The best part of this memorable trip is that I would be riding my way through 5 of the most beautiful countries in Southeast Asia. The tour starts in the picturesque Chiang Mai city of Thailand, located on 800 North of Bangkok. The journey would take us through some of the most unknown and rarely explored routes across Laos, Thailand, Tibet via Shangri-La, Yunan Province of China and parts of Burma. It gives the riders an opportunity to explore the nature at its purest, enjoy local culture and traditions carefully and ride through some of the best routes.

However, before taking on this 19-day journey across five countries in Southeast Asia, the riders need to take care of their visas well in advance. Thailand and Laos provide visa on arrival, but getting the visa approved beforehand for Myanmar and China is essential. The trip consists of 19 days including the start and end day, and the actual on-road days are 17. The trip in total would cover the 4,800 km or 3,000 miles. Some of the most notable highlights of the tour include Luang Prabang, Golden Triangle, Tibet, Lijiang, Shangri-La and Old Dali. The beauty of the routes you cross, whether it is the high valleys in Laos or the serenity of Tibet, would surely mesmerize you and keep you enthralled for the lifetime whenever you think about it.


Day 1 Chiang Mai, Arrival

My journey started from Bangkok where I took a flight to Chiang Mai from where the actual tour would start. I arrived at Chiang Mai and headed straight to my hotel. It’s a vibrant city and has a lot to offer to its tourist, especially if you love to shop and eat authentic Thai food. I strolled around the market area and checked out its busy nightlife before calling it a day, as I was to start my bike tour early the next day. Needed to store my energy for the journey I am here for. I was excited and was hardly able to contain it. After dinner, I checked my luggage and did some last minute packing before retiring to bed.

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Day 2 Chiang Mai – Mae Sai

Facts:

Distance – 242 Kms.

Time To Complete – 6 Hours.

Road Conditions – Smooth and well-built highway. The route has some winding roads initially, which are actually fun.

Difficulty – Easy.

Personal Experience

After checking out from the hotel, I immediately started my ride to reach Mae Sai. On the way, I experienced the great Mae Kachan hot spring, which is known for being the highest hot spring in the country. Mae Sae is the northernmost tip of Thailand, and when you reach here, you can choose to cross the Burma border here to explore and enjoy Tachilek in Myanmar. Many attractions can be enjoyed on the Myanmar side, so missing out on it is not an option. It does have visa on arrival, so no worries there. After exploring the Myanmar side, I crossed back to Thailand by evening and slept at the local hotel here.

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Day 3 Mae Sai – Luang Namtha (Laos)

Facts:

Distance – 253 Kms.

Time To Complete – 7 Hours.

Road Conditions – Smooth with a picturesque view of the Mekong River.

Difficulty – Easy.

Personal Experience

Today, I head to the Golden Triangle, which is the place where the three countries, namely Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar would meet on the scenic Mekong River. I drove along the Mekong River until I reached Chiang Khong, which opens into Laos and China. Once I was there, I crossed into Laos by driving on the famous Friendship Bridge that’s newly built here to cross the Mekong River. After the immigration process and crossing the bridge, I headed straight to Luang Namtha. My hotel in Luang Namtha was near the famous night market here, and I did check it out a bit before calling it a day. For shoppers, it was a shopper’s paradise. I did purchase a few items but didn’t want to inflate my luggage much, so had to let go of my shopping temptations.

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Day 4 Luang Namtha – Jing Hong (China)

Facts:

Distance – 236 Kms.

Time To Complete – 5 Hours.

Road Conditions – Smooth and hassle-free.

Difficulty – Easy.

Personal Experience

I started from Luang Namtha a bit early as it can get a bit crowded and trafficky later on, which is a usual case in China and Laos. We entered China a bit too early at Boten, which is a city built around gambling as its main attraction. The entire town is almost dedicated to gambling, which is basically to showcase the love for gambling the Chinese people have. After the immigration process was over, I headed towards Mengla, which is where I got the number plate for the bike and the temporary driving license. I must add that it was quite an experience. I had my dinner later by the Mekong River, visited the night market here and experienced China for the first time here. It’s amazing and unique, and I simply couldn’t get enough.

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Day 5 Jing Hong – Shuangjiang

Facts:

Distance – 327 Kms.

Time To Complete – 7 Hours.

Road Conditions – Smooth ride with scenic routes.

Difficulty – Easy and fun.

Personal Experience

Today is mostly dedicated to riding to reach Shuangjiang Town in China. I crossed the mighty Mekong River a few times during this trip. The entire trail was very scenic, and I was getting used to the raw beauty of the region here. I ride till Menghai, where I checked out the lush green tea plantations here. After clicking a few unusual clicks here, I headed to the Shuangjiang Lahu Minority Town, where I would be staying overnight too.

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Day 6 Shuangjiang – Dali (China)

Facts:

Distance – 386 Kms.

Time To Complete – 7 to 8 hours.

Road Conditions – Smooth.

Difficulty – Easy.

Personal Experience

Today, I head to Dali old city, via the famous Lin Cang and Weishan Countries. On my way, I visited the famous town of Weishan, which comes around 1.5 hours before Dali. Weishan is not that touristic and would help you witness the old traditions, heritage, and culture of China carefully. It is one of the hidden gems of Yunan province and must be visited on tour. Dali has been the city known for trading and culture for ages, and till date, this walled city has been able to maintain its local traditions and old world charm. There are many shops, bars, restaurants, hotels, and more here. Just strolling around on the street itself is so much fun.

Motorcycle Tour China (Tibet)


Day 7 Dali – Lijiang (China)

Facts:

Distance – 196 Kms.

Time To Complete – 4 hours.

Road Conditions – Smooth tarmac roads.

Difficulty – Easy.

Personal Experience

The highlight of the day was visiting Three Pagodas of Shong Sheng Temple. I checked out early to visit the temple, and after visiting the temple headed straight to Kung Fu Temple crossing the beautiful Cangshan Mountain range. Hundreds of monks continue to stay, pray and practice the traditional martial arts practice of Kung Fu at the Temple. The roads on tour here present the beautiful view because of the Dali Valley and scenic Erhai Lake. After checking out the temple, I head to the Lijiang old town, which is also the UNESCO world heritage site, through the old roads. It is a must experience for every rider. The overall views and feel here would take you back ages.

Motorcycle Tour China (Tibet)


Day 8 Lijiang (China) – Rest Day

The old town of Lijiang in China still has many artifacts that showcase the reign of Ming dynasties, such as its cobbled streets, stone bridges, and canals. I visited the old town early in the morning as it is the time where there would be fewer tourists. Since the entire day is for leisure, I made sure that I explore all that I can. There are many interesting things on sale here as well, and if you love to shop, you would certainly fall in love with the market here. Inspired by what many locals had to say, I rode to places like Yuhu and Baisha as well, which is a short ride from Lijiang. There is also a Lijiang show that I enjoyed it here. Another famous temple that is well worth a visit when here is Dongba Temple.

Motorcycle Tour China (Tibet)


Day 9 Lijiang – Tiger Leaping Gorge – Shangri-La (China)

Facts:

Distance – 262 Kms

Time To Complete – 6 Hours.

Road Conditions –Fantastic way for riders.

Difficulty – Easy.

Personal Experience

After breakfast, I leave my hotel at Lijiang. Riding for a little while helps me reach a small mountain range that I cross to reach Yangtze River, which is the third-longest river in the world. Cross the river, and you would enter Tiger Leaping Gorge. Here, I took a small break near the attraction platform to enjoy the beauty of the river and the surrounding and take a few mesmerizing pictures. After taking a few pictures, I leave for Tiger Leaping Gorge, which is the highlight of today’s tour and known as the biker’s paradise route. The incredible runs alongside the Yangtze River and the gorge are the third largest across the globe. I have lunch at a local restaurant near the gorge. After breakfast, I leave the canyon and ride on the Silk Road to reach the famous Tibetan town of Shangri-La. As we move closer, you will see differences in the minorities’ settlement you come across on the way. The Silk Road is one of the most famous roads that has been the route of commercial trade for centuries. It just helped me look back in time and imagine how things were possible back in the day without technology, fast cars or transport.

Motorcycle Tour China (Tibet)


Day 10 Shangri-La – Degen – Cizhong (Tibet)

Facts:

Distance – 306 Kms.

Time To Complete – 6 Hours.

Road Conditions – Mountainous road with stunning views. Well-maintained road.

Difficulty – Moderate.

Personal Experience

When in Shangri-La, visit the Sonzanlin Tibetan Monastery is a must. It is a monastery that houses over 600 monks and practices Tibetan Buddhism, which is a bit different from what is practiced in Thailand and Myanmar. After visiting the monastery, I take the G214 to ride north towards the town of Degen. It is around 70 kilometers from the Tibetan border. While on the way to Degen, I crossed the high pass known as White Horse located at the altitude of 4,300 meters. A little north of the town of Degen lays the city of Feilai Si, which offers some of the most spectacular views, especially when on the Mount Kawa Karpo. It is a holy mountain as per local scriptures and is highly revered by the people here. It is also the third highest peaks in Eastern Himalayas, and taking stunning pictures of this snow-clad mountain is something I am going to cherish for a long time to come. After taking some of the most amazing photos ever, I ride along the Lancang Jiang towards Cizhong Village, where I plan to spend the night.

Motorcycle Tour China (Tibet)


Day 11 Cizhong – Weixi – Shaxi (Tibet/China)

Facts:

Distance – 432 Kms.

Time To Complete – 8 Hours.

Road Conditions – Smooth and hassle-free.

Difficulty – Easy.

Personal Experience

I left Cizhong after breakfast and rode towards the south. During the journey, I noticed the quick loss in altitude, and soon I reached the shores of the mighty Mekong River, which we follow till we reach Weixi. It is the valley known as the three river valley because the three of the greatest rivers of Asia meet here. These three rivers are Yangtze, Mekong, and Nujiang. After halting for a while at Weixi for lunch, I head straight to Shaxi village. It is known as the town that has continued to retain its history, traditions, culture, and architecture and is situated on the famous Ancient road, Tea-Horse Road. The Sideng Market Square in Shaxi has been listed by UNESCO on their watch list as 100 most endangered cultural sites. There are many old houses here that are worth photographing, and the market here offers a unique cultural experience. I loved strolling around here and immersed myself in the tradition and culture that is unique to this town.

Motorcycle Tour China (Tibet)


Day 12 Shaxi – Lincang (China)

Facts:

Distance – 420 Kms.

Time To Complete – 7 to 8 Hours.

Road Conditions – Smooth highway with scenic views.

Difficulty – Easy.

Personal Experience

After spending the night at Shaxi, I leave early in the morning after breakfast to ride towards Erhai Lake. It is a beautiful ride with some spectacular and breathtaking views. After crossing the lake, I turn southward to reach Lincang. Most of the day goes in riding as it is quite a long drive. I take a halt at several places to take some pictures and for lunch. After reaching Lincang, I was too tired and headed straight to the hotel and retired for the day.

Motorcycle Tour China (Tibet)


Day 13 Lincang – Mengla (China)

Facts:

Distance – 529 Kms.

Time To Complete – 9-10 hours.

Road Conditions – One of the most beautiful highways in China. Excellent roads.

Difficulty – Easy.

Personal Experience

It is again just a riding day, but with some of the breathtaking scenery as usual. After reaching the highway crossing Ning’er, I entered and rode through the Xiaomengyang nature reserve, which was quite an experience. It is one of the most beautiful roads in China and is worth a visit. Riding on it is an unforgettable experience. I reach Mengla around dinner time, so had dinner as soon as I arrived at a local restaurant. After dinner, I had some fun at the local Karaoke club here, which also marked my last night in China for this tour.

Motorcycle Tour China (Tibet)


Day 14 Mengla – Boten – Oudomxay – Nong Khiew (China/Laos)

Facts:

Distance – 255 Kms.

Time To Complete – 6 Hours.

Road Conditions – Excellent roads.

Difficulty – Easy.

Personal Experience

After breakfast in Mengla, I headed towards the border and headed back into Laos. Here I rode along the beautiful road to reach Oudomxay. From there, I headed towards Nong Kiau. Here the roads are newly constructed and are in excellent conditions, making riding here one of the best experiences ever, especially due to it being the Laos Highest Mountains and presents some of the most picturesque views all around. I stayed at a hotel in Nong Khiew, offering the beautiful view of the two Elephant Mountains, and is easily regarded as one of the most beautiful spots in the entire South East Asia.

Motorcycle Tour China (Tibet)


Day 15 Nong Khiew – Luang Prabang (Laos)

Facts:

Distance – 141 Kms.

Time To Complete – 3-4 Hours.

Road Conditions – Smooth and hassle-free.

Difficulty – Easy.

Personal Experience

After having breakfast, I rode towards Luang Prabang, which literally means “Royal Buddha Image.” I plan to stay overnight at Luang Prabang, which was earlier the capital of the Kingdom. It is also known by its ancient name of Chiang Thong. Until 1975, when the communists took over the country, it was the capital of the state and the seat of the government. The old town center situated in Luang Prabang is given the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is well-known for its many temples and monasteries and is home to thousands of monks who have settled here. One of the top spots here is the steep hill where Wat Pousi temple is situated. It is worth visiting here. For dinner at Mekong River, lifting the bike on the long tail boat may be required. I stayed overnight at a hotel overlooking Mekong River in Luang Prabang.

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Day 16 Boat Transfer – Mekong, Luang Prabang – Pak Beng (Laos) – Rest Day

Facts:

Distance – 250 Kms.

Time To Complete – 6-8 Hours.

Road Conditions – Sailing upstream on the boat with the bike on board.

Difficulty – Once in a lifetime experience.

Personal Experience

After breakfast, I board on the long tail boat with my bike which takes us upstream to Pak Beng. It takes around 6 to 8 hours depending upon the flow, the speed of the vessel and the passengers on board. The lunch is served on the vessel itself. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I stayed overnight at a hotel in Pak Beng. The view from the hotel was mind-blowing, and it made for a scenic view of the Mekong River.

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Day 17 Pa Beng – Hongsa – Phayao (Laos/Thailand)

Facts:

Distance – 295 Kms.

Time To Complete – Around 6 hours.

Road Conditions – Smooth and fun to ride on.

Difficulty – Easy.

Personal Experience

After breakfast, I drove and entered back to Thailand. Here, I took the R1148, which is one of the top 10 routes for the bikers in the world going towards Phayao Lake. It is one of the biggest lakes in the country and presents serene and calm views that are worth capturing in images, which I did in plenty. I booked myself a hotel near the lake, which was comfortable and affordable. As it was the last day of the trip, indulging a bit in partying is well-deserved.

Motorcycle Tours Laos


Day 18 Phayao – Chiang Mai (Thailand)

Facts:

Distance – 153 Kms.

Time To Complete – 4 Hours.

Road Conditions – Smooth Mountain roads.

Difficulty – Easy.

Personal Experience

Riding on the beautiful and well-built R120 is an enjoyable experience always. The roads get a bit windy and mountainous in between, presenting scenic views of the mountain. I visit Tharntong Waterfall that comes on the way and also the famous Mae Kachan hot spring. I stopped by in a local market for a bit of shopping, snacking and refreshment. After that, I continued riding towards Chiang Mai.

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Day 19 Chiang Mai, Departure

In Chiang Mai, I relax at the beautiful hotel and take an extended well deserving break. It was great to recollect my entire trip while swimming in the pool here. As my flight was next day, I strolled in the famous markets here and partied in one of the many nightclubs here. The nightlife here is bustling with energy, and I enjoyed every bit of it. The people are warm and friendly, and starting from drinks to Thai food, everything is reasonable and won’t hurt the pocket much. Next day I board my flight back to Bangkok and bid adieu to this beautiful trip and unforgettable experience.

Without a doubt, it has been one of the most exotic biking tours ever as I got to experience the traditions, culture, and beauty of five countries in one trip. It is an experience that would stay with me for a long time. As much as you try to differentiate, these countries have some of the most striking similarities and contrasting differences. The culture of Buddhism is experienced best through this tour, and I was blessed to have visited some of the most revered Buddhist temples in this journey and interact with some of the most distinguished Buddhist Monks. It certainly is a way of life and has some of the most life-changing teachings.

The beauty I experienced in this tour is speechless. Starting from friendly local people to stunning views everywhere I went, it is one of the most beautiful routes in the South East Asia and is worth a ride for sure, especially if you are a biker. The roads are well-built, and even the village roads are well-developed. Whether you love to shop, enjoy visiting temples, simply ride the beautiful routes, immerse yourself in local culture and traditions or experience a new demography first-hand, rest assured that this tour through 5 of the most beautiful countries in Asia is going to provide you with the experience that is unforgettable and incomparable.

Motorcycle Tours Laos

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