Feb
3
2011

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Riding on the Rooftops of Indochina

by Tyler

If I only had one week to spend in Southeast Asia, it would be here, in the mountains of northern Laos on a motorcycle. If someone asked me a month ago what I thought about riding here, I wouldn't have had much to say beyond "sounds fun!" Now, I would probably rave for as long as they would listen about how fantastic it is, telling them to go, go and go! Right now.

Happy Tyler in a Helmet Motorcycling in Lao Knobby Tires (By Natasha) Tyler (By Natasha)

To say the routes in this region are great for motorcycling would be a criminal understatement. For me, the byways of northern Laos represent some of the most spectacular on-road riding anywhere on planet Earth. This place really is a motorcyclist's dream come true.

Smooth pavement with curve after curve after curve after curve. And all of it with mind numbing views of rolling mountains, bizarre limestone karsts, and bucolic river valleys.

Pete
Tyler Riding in Lao Our Motorcycle & Lao Mountain Views Lao Mountain View Curvy Mountain Road of Lao

More remote than California's PCH, more picturesque than Washington's Rattlesnake Pass, curvier than its North Cascades Loop, less crowded and hundreds of miles longer than Tennessee & North Carolina's Deals Gap, the entire area is stupefying in its splendor—like Montana's Going to the Sun Road, but… bigger.

Lao Mountain Views Lao Field Pete & Natasha on Motorcycle in Lao Village Pete & Natasha Riding in Lao

The mountains of northern Laos are non-stop, over-the-top, mind-blowing scenery, and they're covered in endless curves with huge elevation changes. As if all of that weren't enough, the roads are nearly devoid of traffic too! The only rides I've seen that come remotely close to rivaling this place are in Alaska.

Pete & Natasha Motorcycling Lao Tara the Motorcycle Photographer Pete & Natasha Riding into the Sunset Sixty Two Kilometers to Muang Kham

And all of that raving only scratches the surface; I haven't even mentioned the villages we've passed through, or the friendly people in them. Everywhere we go, we're generally given the warmest welcome a person could imagine having. It is so heartening to meet people who are just as excited to meet us as we are them!

Lao Kids Waving Hello Cute Lao Girls Tara Taking Pictures (By Natasha) Tyler Taking Pictures, Natasha Holding the Bike

The best part of it all is being able to see things that you just can't see while zipping through a country on a tourist bus.

You can stop when you like in any small village; and while some people stare in curiosity, and others welcome you and try and communicate the best they can, most people go on about their lives and you get a tiny glorious glimpse of everyday life in rural Laos.

Pete
Adorable Laughing Girl with Wonky Pigtail Cute Lao Girls Natasha & Cute Lao Girls Tara Showing Picture to Little Lao Girls (By Natasha)

Laos is rapidly becoming my favorite country of the trip. I wish that we had months to explore it and not weeks. Alas, this adventure must come to an end sometime. In any case, I feel so lucky to be here with Tara and our new friends—I've said it before and I'll say it again, how is this my life?!

Thank you for inviting us to join you, Natasha & Pete!


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