|Type of tour:||Guided|
|Distance:||57 Miles/day average|
|Dates:||Nov 1*, Dec 20*, 2014. Feb 15*; Apr 12; Jul 19; Nov 1; Dec 6, 20, 2015 (minimum 2 participants) *guaranteed to depart|
|Start city:||Chiang Rai, Thailand|
|End city:||Chiang Mai, Thailand|
This is a scenic and awe-inspiring ride that throws in some challenging climbs that are guaranteed to get you out of your saddle! Thailand's spectacular, winding roads that provide tough-but-rewarding climbs and thrilling descents are a road-rider's dream.
Thailand's north offers cyclists variety from forested mountains that provide shade on twisting roads to smooth flat tarmac along the Mekong River. Along with the sun shining, the Thai smiles greeting you and the delicious food, does road riding get much better than this?
On this 516-mile/830-kilometer ride you’ll cycle on paved roads in good condition through farming villages, pass Buddhist temples and waving children as you absorb the slower pace of life of the relaxed and friendly locals.
Our cycling starts in the former Lanna Kingdom of Chiang Rai and after a loop through some of the best scenery of northern Thailand finishes in the adventure capital of Chiang Mai.
In between we ride up and over mountain ranges, on the banks of the Mekong River where it forms the border with Laos, taking in an ever-changing landscape that varies from fertile fields to spectacular limestone karsts jutting up vertically. Our overnights are varied from resorts with pools to rustic bungalows, but all will be more than comfortable as we know you'll need a good rest after a long day in the saddle.
Varied riding, spectacular mountain scenery, statuesque peaks and the warm and hospitable Thai culture will be among the many highlights of this road bicycle tour.
The minimum age for this tour is 18.
A note about weather: Northern Thailand has a tropical climate with fairly high humidity. There are three seasons: from March to June it is hot and dry, with temperatures between 27C (80 F) and 35 C (95 F) , with night temperatures in the 20s (68 F). The rainy season is from July to October, but temperatures are slightly lower, because of the effect of the rain. During this time it will not rain continuously, but in sharp bursts, and the sun can come out quickly. The cooler season is from October to February, with average temperatures between 20 (68 F) and 30 (86 F).
Learn more about guided tours.
Day 1: Chiang Rai (19 miles/30km)
We meet in the afternoon for a warm up ride where we can also make sure the bikes fit. Our nice and easy ride through the outskirts of the city will also get us accustomed to riding in Thailand on the left side of the road. We'll cycle through rice paddy fields and follow the Mae Lao River to the interesting Wat Rong Khun, White Temple. Created by a local artist, this temple stands out for its distinctive style. After a visit we'll head back to the hotel so we can refresh before an outing to the night bazaar and dinner. Dinner included.
Overnight in Chiang Rai.
Day 2: Chiang Rai – Mae Salak (76 miles/123 km)
Today we will be heading up to the hills of Wawee, but we'll have a nice fast flat stretch of 25 miles/40 km to warm up our legs before the real work begins. The first climb is through a variety of fields from sugar cane to maize, small farming villages and endless mountain views, enough to distract you from the effort of ascending 2625 ft in 9 miles (800 m in 15 kms)!
We stop for a scenic rest stop with panoramic views before a fast 6 miles/10 km descent. The remainder of ride will be undulating on quiet roads in good condition. We end at Mae Salak, a small town that has an excellent resort complete with pool. The rooms have a splendid view over the river and are situated next to a Lahu village and the local children will come to the resort and perform traditional music and dance. We'll have ascended just over 6,560 ft (2000 m) in 76 miles/123 km, a respectable first day! Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.
OVernight in Mae Salak.
Day 3: Mae Salak – Chiang Saen (56 miles/90 km)
We have a gentle start to the day as we won't be pushing the pedals very hard until mile 9/kilometer 15. Then it's time to climb, but we only gain about 1148 ft over 6 miles (350 m over 10 km), for which we are rewarded with a short downhill and another climb.
During our cycle we'll pass hilltribe farmers working their fields, be greeted by children and possibly see a water buffalo or two. Our true reward will be the long, gentle descent all the way to the town of Chaing Saen on the banks of the Mekong River. This town dates back to the 7th century, however it was around 1328 that the city walls, which are still standing, were built. Our hotel is directly on the river and overlooks Laos on the other side. Our total vertical climb today is 2625 ft/800 m. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.
Overnight in Chiang Saen.
Day 4: Chiang Saen - Chiang Khong (47 miles/76 km)
Today is a semi rest day as we'll have a fast flat ride in the morning and leave the afternoon free for you to relax. Our ride today is along the Mekong River, which also forms the border with Laos, on a quiet, smooth road. We arrive in the border town of Chiang Khong in time for lunch, and then the afternoon is free for you to sit on your balcony overlooking the river, explore the local market or take a wander through the bicycle museum. Dinner is on your own tonight. Breakfast and lunch included.
Over night in Chiang Khong.
Day 5: Chiang Khong - Phu Chi Fa (50 miles/80 km)
We ride out of Chiang Khong and head south to Pu Chi Fah for a stunning viewpoint. We warm up for 25 miles/40 km on a leisurely level route and then it's time go up, up, up. We'll rest after the first ascent of almost 2953 ft/900 m up to a plateau. Here we'll have a few undulations before our last steep push to the summit at 5249 ft/1600 m. Our total ascent for the day will be over 6562 ft/2000 m, but we'll finish atop an amazing cliff formation like no other in the region. Tonight you'll enjoy fresh cool air in your cozy bungalow. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.
Overnight in Phu Chi Fa.
Day 6: Phu Chi Fa - Phayao (83 miles/134 km)
What goes up must come down. We start with an exhilarating descent down the mountain and then the ride flattens out as we cycle through a wide and fertile valley. We pass many small towns and villages and see locals going about their daily business as they herd their cattle or till their fields. We end our ride at Phayao Lake, an artificial lake that is now home to more than 22 species of fish. The town is very laid-back and after checking into our lodge we'll head to a lakeside restaurant for a feast. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.
Overnight in Phayao.
Day 7: Phayao - Viang Papao (45 miles/72 km)
This morning is free to soak up the atmosphere of this quaint town. After lunch we'll get on our bikes and cross into the next valley by crossing a mountain range. We'll top out just under 3281 ft/1000 m after a climb of 1640 ft/500 m or so and have views back into the valley we left and the one we are cycling down into. As the light turns golden we'll ride through the foothills of the forested mountains to our bungalows. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.
Overnight in Viang Papao.
Day 8: Viang Papao - Chiang Mai (65 miles/105 km)
Today's ride has a refreshing end in a waterfall, but before we get there we have our work cut out for us! We'll be cycling up to 4593 ft/1400 m, and though the climbs will be tough, they won't be unrelenting. The road winds up through a lush forest and you'll hear birds seemingly encouraging you on. After a break at the top a freewheel of 20 km awaits! Our scenic ride continues through rice fields and orchards filled with exotic fruits. We arrive at Bua Thong Waterfall where we can have a dip in the crystal clear water, but watch out for the freshwater crabs! We then have a transfer of one hour to Chiang Mai and our centrally located hotel. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.
Overnight in Chiang Mai.
Day 9: Samoeng Loop (75 miles/120 km)
Our loop will take us around Doi Suthep, the mountain that overlooks the old city. We have a very short transfer out of Chiang Mai to beautiful Huey Tung Tao lake to avoid traffic. We start pedaling on quiet country roads up through the narrow valley of the Mae Sa river, past orchid farms and other flower fields before we stop for lunch at the village of Samoeng. As we come around the mountain we have one tough rise, but once over the top it's downhill to the fertile foothills south of Chiang Mai. We head back towards the city following the Ping river, stopping for a last break at the ruins of Wiang Khum Kham, the site of a buried city which was the first settled area in the Chiang Mai region. Back to the hotel to clean up and prepare for our farewell dinner. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.
Overnight in Chiang Mai.
Day 10: Departure
Today is yours to relax and rest after nine days of great riding. We can help with arrangements if you’d like to extend your stay in Thailand or organize transfers to the airport for onward flights. Breakfast included.
Nov 1*, Dec 20*, 2014. Feb 15*; Apr 12; Jul 19; Nov 1; Dec 6, 20, 2015 (minimum 2 participants) *guaranteed to depart
|Please note that the deposit for this tour is $500 per person.|
We recommend that you tuck away a few extra dollars, perhaps US$20 a day for incidentals.
These are sample hotels and may vary based on availability. Websites listed where available.
Day 1: Laluna Resort, Chiang Rai
Day 2: Huai Khum Resort, Mae Salak
Day 3: Siam Triangle, Chiang Saen
Day 4: Chiang Khong Teak Garden Hotel, Chiang Khong
Day 5: Rairompothong Resort, Phu Chi Fa
Day 6: Huen Jumjai, Phayao
Day 7: Rabiang Doi Bungalows, Viang Papao
Days 8 and 9: Aruntara Hotel, Chiang Mai
Bikes available for rent on this tour (must be reserved in advance at the time of booking):
The bikes will have FLAT pedals. We can provide strap-style toe cages if requested, but you might like to consider bringing SPD clip pedals if you use them, and please make sure to bring your shoes and cleats.
If you plan to bring your own seat, please ensure that it has a universal seat post.
Helmet rental is not available on this tour. We recommend that you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene purposes. Wearing a helmet is strongly recommended on all our biking adventures and if you choose not to wear one you will be asked to sign a liability waiver.
*You may bring your own bike if you wish. If you do, please make sure it is a mountain bike, preferably with front suspension, and that it is in good mechanical order.
This tour is 100% on road and we have designed the route with road bikers in mind. We start in Chiang Rai with a warm up ride to get used to your bikes, then the riding begins in earnest. We will be alternating between hilly and flat days, but we always start off with a gentle ride before we start climbing. The total distance is 830 kilometres in nine riding days on smooth tarmac roads.
Some of the distances are quite long and there are significant ascents, and a few steep sections, on some days, but there are also a few flat days to let your legs recover. The trip is fully supported and your guide’s expert knowledge of the area and terrain means that you always know what is coming up in terms of distance and difficulty. This makes a tremendous difference, as does the constant supply of cold drinks, ice and fresh fruit.
This is a tour for cyclists possessing a moderate to high level of physical fitness. Fitness will be a huge asset on those long days and on the undulating hills. The tour is fully supported and the bus is always close at hand for those that find the riding too difficult. We ride between 18-83 miles/ 30-134 km a day. We have built in some easy half day rides, but the daily ascents range from 800 to 2,000 m. The roads are 100% tarmac and in good condition.
This tour is more challenging and should be for cyclists in above average physical condition.
The minimum age for this tour is 18.
Nearest airport: Chiang Rai, Thailand
Nearest airport: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Northern Thailand has a tropical climate with fairly high humidity. There are three seasons: from March to June it is hot and dry, with temperatures between 27C (80 F) and 35 C (95 F) , with night temperatures in the 20s (68 F). The rainy season is from July to October, but temperatures are slightly lower, because of the effect of the rain. During this time it will not rain continuously, but in sharp bursts, and the sun can come out quickly. The cooler season is from October to February, with average temperatures between 20 (68 F) and 30 (86 F).
Weatherspark.com offers information on average weather conditions at most destinations throughout the globe. Type a destination in the search box, and select "Averages," and you'll find a range of information such as average high and low temperatures, precipitation, cloudy days, humidity and wind speed/direction.
Of course, if your tour is coming up in the next week, you can also select "Forecast" to get the most current information on upcoming conditions.
All nationalities require a passport for entry into Thailand. Please ensure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from date of entry. If staying less than 30 days then a visa in advance is not required by European, North American, Australian and many other nationalities. You will need to show proof of an onward flight out of Thailand to be eligible for the visa on arrival. This is strictly enforced.
We recommend that you visit a travel medical doctor and ask about the following vaccinations: typhoid, polio, tetanus and hepatitis A. A certificate for Yellow Fever is required when arriving from an infected area within six days.
Meals are included as per the itinerary where B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner. Most meals are local and feature noodles, rice, curries and soups. Any special dietary requirements can also be catered for as well. Please let us know at the time of booking.
Keeping you completely hydrated is a job we take very seriously. Cold water, some energy-restoring drinks while you are riding are included in the tour price while riding. Soft drinks and other beverages during meals are not included. Beer is freely available everywhere, but is NOT included in the price.
The Thai currency is the baht. ATMs, which are abundant, are the easiest ways to get Thai baht. Have a supply of US dollars in cash on hand, just in case your card doesn’t work. Banks or the more rare private moneychangers offer the best foreign-exchange rates. Credit cards are accepted in big cities and resort hotels but you’ll need baht for family-run guesthouses or restaurants.
We recommend that you tuck away a few extra dollars, perhaps US$20, for incidentals.
SpiceRoads endeavors to offer high-quality, educational, and adventure-filled itineraries that highlight and focus on the diversity of landscapes found in Asia and its people. As a specialized "niche" bicycle tour operator since 2000, we provide the most authentic, unique and exciting adventures in Asia.
The SpiceRoads family began back in the mid 1990s, when Hamish Keith was creating, operating and leading ground breaking cycle tours throughout Thailand and in emerging destinations such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar for well known companies such as Exodus Travels and World Expeditions and his own company the Wild Planet.
In 2000 Hamish decided to concentrate on what he loved doing the most and he established SpiceRoads as a specialist cycle tour operator in the region he knew best - Southeast Asia. The “niche” was to promote bicycle group tours directly to clients all around the world via the internet. Hamish set the standard for all subsequent SpiceRoads tours by offering a high quality tour - from customer service, to bicycles, to well researched routes to the guides we use – at a good value.
In 2002, when Hamish left to pursue other opportunities in the travel industry, Struan Robertson came on board, and with his skills in management, IT and of course cycling, the company has grown to encompass other Asian countries. During the years of growth what hasn't changed is the spirit of SpiceRoads, which is to offer professional, international standard cycle tours and services to independent travellers and cycle enthusiast looking to discover Asia by bicycle.
Our well-planned eye-opening cycling tours provide an active immersion into local cultures, languages, scenery and, of course, the most delicious of foods. By combining legendary service and rare opportunities for cultural experiences, our travel philosophy continues to excite, enthuse, and positively impact every guest. Take a look at our guestbook if you don't believe us!
SpiceRoads' staff and all of our professionally licensed multi-lingual tour guides are passionate about creating the best possible experiences, with fun, creativity, and total dedication to satisfaction.
We're always peddling towards making your tour perfect so you can See Asia by Bicycle!
(Involuntary) On the rare occasions when we, SpiceRoads, must cancel a trip, all payments received to date will be 100% refunded, which constitutes full settlement. There will be absolutely no deductions.
(Voluntary) If you, the client, must cancel your reservation, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the following formula:
For all tours (except short Thailand tours 4 days or less, see below):
Number of days prior to trip start
Cancellation fee per person
50% of tour price
70% of tour price
**Administration fees include bank fees and exchange rate losses.
Exceptions to this policy cannot be made for any reason, including weather or personal emergencies. Please note:
We strongly advise that clients have full personal travel insurance that covers for the refund of monies paid in case either party cancels the tour for any reason.
We regret that we cannot be held responsible for incidental/consequential costs or expenses you may incur as a result of any changes or cancellations. No compensation is payable for minor changes.
Any damages/injuries incurred that are attributable to your own actions, acts of some other party unconnected with the contract services or where the damage/injury results from events/circumstances which our outside our control and could not be reasonably foreseen.
For damages where SpiceRoads is responsible, our liability is strictly limited to twice the total price of the tour. In booking a tour with SpiceRoads you, the client, are agreeing to these terms and you accept this limit on our liability. This limit allows us to keep the prices of our tours as low as possible.
You must be in possession of a valid passport and all the visas and permits required for your tour. This includes any medical certificates that are required. The client accepts full responsibility for obtaining any and all such documentation. Every client is encouraged to contact the consulate/embassy for the countries they are traveling in respectively to receive the latest and most current information about their immigration / transit policies.
SpiceRoads does not accept responsibility if your documentation is not in order. Information provided by the company about these matters and other related items (clothing, baggage, climate etc.) is given in good faith but without responsibility on the part of the company.
For all tours (except short Thailand tours 4 days or less, see below):
SpiceRoads insists that all clients must take out good travel insurance before joining one of our tours. There are inherent risks involved in cycling and mountain biking and we will not be liable for your medical expenses or evacuation in case of an accident.
This insurance must include adequate coverage for any personal accident, medical expenses, injury, death and repatriation. Insurance should also provide coverage for cancellations or curtailment of the holiday. Clients should also ensure that there are no exclusion clauses limiting protection for any dangerous or unusual activities that might be included in their tour.
If you join the tour without adequate insurance you may be disallowed from continuing on the tour without the right of refund. Clients are solely responsible for arranging their own insurance and they should ensure that they are covered for the full duration of their tour. Your tour leader will ask for copies of your insurance before allowing you to join the tour. This protects both you and us.
In case of an accident, please consult with your tour leader or contact our reservation staff at +66(0) 89 895 5680 (24 hour hot line).
Upon signing up for a tour you must agree to accept the authority of the tour leader who is the representative of the company. The tour leader should be regarded as the same as a “ship’s captain” or an airline’s “Pilot.”
At all times the authority of your tour leader will be final when concerning matters likely to endanger your own health or safety or in regard to behavior or ill health that is causing or is likely to cause danger, distress or disturbance to the group and the well-being of the tour. Failure to abide by the authority of the tour leader could result in legal proceedings and the immediate termination of your participation in the tour without recourse.
In such circumstances we reserve the right to terminate all travel arrangements without liability on the part of the company. You must always comply with the local law, customs and drug regulations of the country/ies you are visiting. Failure to do so may lead to you being ordered to leave the tour without recourse to any refund or any legal claim against the company. In the case of ill health the company and its operators can make those arrangements that it sees fit and recover all monies paid from the client. The person who signs the booking form (which incorporates these conditions) warrants that he/she does so, with full authority on behalf of all those whose names appear thereon, and confirms thereby that all such persons accept and are fully aware of these conditions.
No refund will be given for non-utilized services, however if we are able to obtain a refund ourselves for these services we will endeavor to pass these on to the client less reasonable administration charges.
SpiceRoads pledges never to increase the tour price except under exceptional circumstances for those that have previously book the tour. Circumstances of this policy include: government action or legislation that directs the company to increase prices, exceptional and unfavorable changes in exchange rates that exceed a 20% fluctuation or currency devaluation.
Clients will be notified of any price increase at least 4 weeks before departure.
We will not accept any liability for any delay in your outward or inward flight/s, whether the cancellation or delay is caused by the weather, airline rescheduling, industrial action or mechanical failure. We will give no refunds or compensation for lost time and services from the itinerary.
Should you have a complaint while on tour, you must notify your guide, or the local operator, at the earliest opportunity, so that they can do what they can to immediately rectify it. Failure to do so will result in the limiting of a client's ability to claim compensation. If the problem is not brought to our attention we have no opportunity to rectify it. Any complaints should be sent to us in writing, or by email, not more than 28 days after the tour ends.
Complaints related to booking, inquires, billing, sales or operations should be directed to the Sales and Marketing Manager and/or the General Manager.
If there is anything else you need to know or want to hear in order to put your mind at rest, please do not hesitate to contact us.
SpiceRoads is not liable for any bodily injury or property damage as a result of (but not limited to): physical exertion for which a guest is not prepared; forces of nature; travel by plane, train, auto, boat or other conveyance, or by bicycle, horseback, foot or other form of active or adventure travel; consumption of alcoholic beverages; civil unrest; terrorism; breakdown of equipment; high altitude; lack of or limited access to medical attention in remote locations; and the adequacy of medical attention once provided.
SpiceRoads is also not liable for: expenses (e.g., meals, transportation or hotel costs) that are not specified as included in the trip cost but may be required to get to or from a trip start or end point.
SpiceRoads reserves the right to make route and hotel modifications as necessary to improve the trip quality or to accommodate the comfort and well-being of guests. Guests grant SpiceRoads express permission to take photographs or make film records of its trips for promotional and commercial use, as well as approve such use by third parties with whom SpiceRoads may engage in joint marketing, without financial remuneration.
To view our liability release form click here. You will be asked to sign this form before you start your tour.