Lima sites and Secret War Trails

Information About Our Tours

All tours inlcude:

Motorcycles

Guide/ mechanic

Fuel

Meals/ soft drinks

Accommodation

Itinerary & Key Points

Whilst the Vietnam war was ongoing, next door in Laos, there was a secret war going on. Undisclosed to the rest of the world, the US was bombing Laos day and night. In the north, the ground war against the NVA was led by General Van Pao from his mountain fortress, Long Tieng, with his SGU units. Backed by the CIA, Long Tieng (sometimes Long Cheng or Long Tien)) was truly the most secret place on earth. After the war, it remained off-limits for nearly 50 years. Now it’s open to the public along with its secrets

There were many places of significance, such as Long Tieng and Lima sites 36 & 85, all we will visit. The tour starts and ends in Luang Prabang. During that loop, we take in some of the best-known War sites in Laos, along with many cities, places of interest, and natural beauty. Mostly off-road trails, with some tarmac sections. Accommodation will vary from Hotels, Homestay and guest houses. Tour Code LAT01

Start Point

Luang Prabang

Finish Point

Luang Prabang

Distance

1,200 km

Level

Experienced

Vehicles

Honda CRF 250L

Terrain

70% off road

Day 1: Luang Prabang to Muang Song. 160 Kilometers  5-6 Hrs riding. We start our tour by leaving Luang Prabang and heading west to Phonxai district, from there we will pick up the dirt. There are some steep mountain climbs on this route, with spectacular views, not much in the way of people or villages, a challenging route to get you fired up. Muang song is home to Lima site 11, and the famous T28 pilot Lee Lu.

Day 2: Muang Song to Long Tieng. 140 Kilometers 4-5 Hrs riding. A pleasant ride into Long Tieng Via some rather remote trails and some old Lima sites in the mountains. We will also Pass through Xam Thong LS20 the home to USAID during the war. Then onto Skyline ridge before descending into Long Tieng via the old trail, now there is also a new bypass road , which cut’s skyline ridge in 2. On arrival we can kick back and enjoy the history.

Day 3: Long Tieng Tour. Set in a valley surrounded by limestone karsts, you’ll see how Long Tieng got the nickname “the most secret place on Earth”. It was the country’s second biggest city until the mid-1970s with its airport then the busiest in the world. Once at the center of a guerilla-led clandestine war on communism, it was backed by the CIA. From the past to the present though, we will spend the whole day exploring the site. During that exploration you will visit not only Skyline ridge, Vang Pao’s house, and the Kings Palace, but also the air strip and buildings still standing from the historic days of the Secret War. It’s a very different place now.

Day 4: Long Tieng to Phonsavan. 120 Kilometers 4-5 Hrs riding. After a breakfast, we will leave Long Tieng and ride the short distance to Phonsavan. We will pass through some beautiful countryside, more Lima sites on route to see, this was the main route into this area during the war. On arrival we’ll visit not only the Plain of Jars and the 1000 step mountain for some spectacular views of Xiang Khoung. A walk around Phonsavan in the evening will reveal much war scarp on display.

Day 5: Phonsavan to Muang Kham. 120 Kilometers 4-5 Hrs riding. A relatively short day as we take a loop around Xiang Khoung.  We explore some sites of interest such as Tham Piu Cave scene of a tragic bombing, along with the crater fields and Jar site 54. There are some interesting trails linking these sites together, which will make for an interesting days ride. Overnighting in a local homestay.

Day 6: Muang Kham to Xam Neua. 230 Kilometers 6-7 Hrs riding. An early start as we head North to Xam Neua which is quite a ride. It will take us most of the day to get to our eventual destination of Xam Neua. There’s a lot to see along the route though, including the Hintung Archeological site. Apart from seeing the site, you will be continuously treated to spectacular, natural views in some really remote locations.

Day 7: Xam Neua (Vienxai Underground Cave Complex) 60 Kilometers. A late start today as we will visit the caves. The complex used by the Phatet Lao is not only ingenious, it’s also very sophisticated. Caves were split into living areas connected by tunnels to larger communal areas, military barracks, and government quarters. There were also school and hospital caves, as well as a theatre used for weddings and film screenings. You will see all this and more in a very interesting day of recounting local history. The tour takes a few hours to complete, plus the view point. Afternoon can be spent relaxing, recharging.

Day 8: Xam Neua to Muang Hiam (Veingtong). 193Kilometers  6-7 Hrs riding. We head into the Hills for another full day and ride to Lima Site 85. LS 85 was upgraded in 1967 to one with an all-weather night bombing facility (Tacan). The North Vietnamese retaliated and attacked the site in March, 1968. In a ferocious one-day battle, they destroyed it. Fifty years later, we take the steep climb to that mountain top and are rewarded with breathtaking views. We leave the site and head for Muang Hiam (Veingtong). Once there, we enjoy the Hot Springs and stay overnight in a local guest house.

Day 9: Muang Hiam to Luang Prabang. 225 Kilometers 6-7 Hrs riding. A beautiful ride back on the mountain ridges as the trails follow the Nam Xeng River into Pakseng district. The final part of the ride on tarmac, after the long ride you will be rewarded with a comfortable Hotel, along with some Laos hospitality in our home town, of Luang Prabang.

Day 10: Luang Prabang Loop. 130 Kilometers 3-4 Hrs riding. We will spend our time in Luang Prabang sightseeing. We will Visit Pak Ou caves, home to many during the war. We will then return and take a tour of the UXO Museum, following which we go to Kuang Si Waterfalls. Returning from the Falls to your hotel. Tour& Services Ends.

 

 

Tour Dates 2024

Any dates that suit you.

DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION

Luang Prabang / International Airport or Train Station

DEPARTURE TIMES

The tour will start at 8.30 am. Please be informed, that you should arrive at least one day before the tour starts in Luang Prabang. We recommend two days before the tour starts to acclimate and avoid jet lag.

RETURN TIMES

The tour will finish at about 4/5 pm back in Luang Prabang, so if you would like to fly back the same day to Vientiane or other destinations, you can catch easily any flight from Luang Prabang after 6 pm.

RIDING GEAR

We recommend bringing your gear to be the most comfortable. But we also offer some helmets, jackets, gloves, and knee guards. Please be informed, that we do not offer boots and trousers due to hygiene reasons..

Lao Adv Tours Reserves the rights to change routes and planning due to road problems. Weather conditions can change very quickly. All rights reserved.

WHAT IS INCLUDED

Guide/ Mechanic (first-aid trained) English Speaking

Bikes: Honda CRF 250L (CRF 300L subject to availability)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner are included. All our stops are in areas where food is available in local cafes and restaurants. There is often a wide choice of national cuisines to choose from. 

Drinks: Water is included, alcohol and not included.

Fuel: Fuel for your motorcycle or truck is included for the whole journey.

Accommodation; Rooms are included and based on single room occupancy. Local guest houses & Hotels will be used. 

Helmets.

All tolls/bridge/ferry fees.

Entry to sites on tour itineraries.

 

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED

All other riding gear (boot and armour rental available).

Visa: Available on arrival, please check with your embassy for costings.

Flights

Tips and gratuities

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