Thursday, November 27, 2008

Figuring out figures

Highlight must surely be the wonderful, ever smiling kids who welcome you with a thousand Sabai-dees

Here are some figures that may be useful for anyone wanting to do this epic Luang Prabang to Vientiane bike trip:

Luang Prabang to Nong Kiau 140km (some climbs nearing Pakmong)
LP to Kiou Ka Cham 77km (35km hard climbing)
KKC to Muang Phu Khon 50km (moderate climbing with nice descents)
MPC to Bor Nam Oon 27km (incredible downhills - best scenery)
BNO to Kasi 20km (still going downhill)
Kasi to Vang Vien (58km easy ride)
VV to Thalat (110km easy but dusty ride)
Thalat to Vientiane via Route 10 (93km easy ride)

Total distance cycled plus a bit of side trips within the cities and countryside
630km (inclusive of 90km for Nong Kiau excursion)
Most days we set off at about 8 - 830am and finish the ride by 4 - 5pm, taking plenty of rest and photo stops. A comfortable target seems to be 50km in 4 hours ride time with some climbs, or for flats, 50km in 3 hours.
Dollars and Cents

Laos is not the cheapest place in Asia but its quite good value. We spend a daily average of US$25 for accommodation (US$130 for 15 nights, shared room), food, drinks, occassional massage, entrance fees + misc. We took 4 Air Asia flights from Singapore to Bangkok, Bangkok to Udon Thani, Vientiane to KL & KL to Singapore for a total of US$230 and our internal flight from Vientiane to Luang Prabang via Lao Air was US$81.
I spent a total of US$800 for 15 days all inclusive (plus some gifts for the wifey & a cheapo winter made in China jacket & pants as it was freezing up in the mountains ).
1 US$ = 8500 kips as at 20 Nov 2008

Flying bikes on Air Asia
Though they do have a "sports equipment" charge, their website does not mention bikes as such and we could get away with it. But we were slapped on for excess baggage, even if we were 1kg overweight! Thankfully, it didn't amount to much, a total of US$20 each for the total trip. All our panniers were brought in as cabin luggage without any issue.

Singapore - no surcharge
Bangkok - token surcharge of 3kg excess
Vientiane to LP on Lao Air - no surcharge, excellent care of our bikes
Vientiane to KL (Air Asia) - Full surcharge of 7kg and nearly got Sports Equipment charge. Thankfully, 30 mins of negotiation did the trick. It helped too that we had a lawyer in our midst.
KL to Singapore - Full surcharge
(Tony Fernandez, the CEO of AA was in our flight!)

Our precious bike boxes being loaded - no worries here! Pics by CW

Do check out my buddy Chris' witty, colourful and entertaining account of this trip here in CGOAB:

Update 2 Dec 08 - I just discovered that Laos was voted the top cycling destination in the world. No wonder we had such a great time!


Unknown said...

I was hoping to ask you if I could use one of your photos for an article I am writing for a not-for-profit online magazine. my email address is paul.mason(AT)

Menahem Zen said...

Dear folders,
Congratulations on your journey. I am so glad that i meet people who shares the same passion on bicycle trip. It is a pleasure to watch your journey.
Kudos to you