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Country: Laos
City: Champasak
Duration: 2 Day(s) - 0 Night(s)
Tour Category: Cycling

Package Itinerary

Destination: Vat Phou and Don Daeng

This bike ride combines the famous UNESCO heritage listed temple of Vat Phou, with more relaxing island cycling round Don Daeng the Mekong River island in front of Champasak. You can also experience Lao homestays or more comfortable accommodation. Using Champasak as a base, this 2-day trip could easily be extended if you wanted to spend longer at any of the destinations.


Distance, duration, average speed: 95km (or more), 6-7.5 hours, 15km/h
Elevation profile, road conditions: flat, main roads paved and sandy tracks on the island
Difficulty:  Easy to medium
Seasonality:  All year round 
Best time of the day:  Anytime, avoid the midday sun
Type of bicycle: City bike or mountain bike (recommended for the sandy tracks)
Characteristics:  2 days, round trip
Note: Green paradise travel will provide you good bicycles to do the tour, and give you the information as mentiond on paper to start the tour. This is a self-guided bicycle tour. If you want to do the tour with a tourgide be free to ask.


Journey from Pakse to Vat Phou
Head off early in the morning to the big Mekong Bridge (Japanese Bridge). Cross it and continue on this road for about 7km until you see a left turn to Champasak. Enjoy a flat and not a very busy road for the next 25km, crossing several small side rivers. Turn left into Champasak town and before the “boat-peer”, turn right. Continue for another 10km, crossing two wooden bridges and a right curve before arriving at the entrance to the magnificent Vat Phou. Park your bike here and enjoy some time exploring this UNESCO-heritage listed temple. From the top of Vat Phou, look down to the Mekong and the island on it: Don Daeng, your next destination.
Vat Phou to Don Daeng
Return to Champasak the same way (10km) and refresh yourself with lunch, drinks and perhaps a well-deserved massage at the beautiful Champasak Spa (best you make a reservation in advance). Then load up on snacks and fruit and head down to the river. Ask around for a boat to Don Daeng (it will cost about 60,000 Kip) and travel there with your bicycle and overnight pack. Accommodation is available either at the community guesthouse through a homestay, or if you prefer ‘flashpacking’ at the luxurious La Folie Lodge (1.5 km further south on the west bank). If you choose La Folie Lodge, call them in advance for a free boat transfer to and from the island.
Don Daeng back to Pakse via Ban Muang 
There are two clearly marked paths around this very peaceful island. Red arrows on pillars and fences (12km round trip), green arrows (6km one way, from Ban Moung Khom to Ban Dan in the east) or yellow arrows (7km one way from Ban Moung Khom to Ban Si Souk in the south). At least one of these island tracks is well worth doing either late afternoon, or very early morning before breakfast. Aim to see the Buddhist monks collecting food from people on the roadside at around 6am. At around noon, find a boat at the northern tip of Don Daeng for Ban Muang (costs about 75,000 Kip) on the east bank of the Mekong. Fortify yourself with coffee and food, then heading left from the village road, ride for 5km to the main road 13. There at road mark “km31”, turn left and ride 30km back to Pakse on undulating road. It is a busier road so be aware of bigger vehicles. There are plenty of small restaurants along the way to stop off at, so enjoy a more leisurely pace.
Alternative ideas around Champasak : If you prefer the countryside to Island-life, then you could skip Don Daeng and cycle instead of it down to the market place of Soukhouma. Therefore turn to the left just around 1 km before Vat Phou at Ban Than Khop. Pedal all the way for 27.5 km in direction south-west on the same paved road through lovely landscape to pass by the small place Ban Thalat, to reach Soukhouma. Sleep in a small guesthouse on the mainroad and return the other day using the same road to Champasak. Take public ferry to Ban Muang and return the short way to N13 and then to Pakse. 


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