24 Days Thailand-Laos-China Motorbike Tour to Discover Shangri-La

If you like motorcycle adventure, this is a great opportunity for you to begin this Thailand-Laos-China Motorbike Tour. You will also have a chance to enjoy a stunning scenery as well as an insight into local cultures, historical sites, national parks, local cuisine, and local traditional way of life in three different countries. 


  • Ride your motorbike through Thailand, Laos and China, three different countries, and feel different scenery and culture.
  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Stone Forest, Lijiang Old Town, Luang Prabang of Laos.
  • Challenge yourself during the long-distance riding through countless mountains, rivers and valleys.
  • Lose yourselves in Shangri-La, an earthly paradise with Snow Mountain, Buddhist monastery, forest park, and hospitable Tibetan people.

Brief Itinerary

  • Day 1: Chiang Mai Arrival
  • Day 2: Chiang Mai-Golden Triangle
  • Day 3: Golden Triangle-Luang Namtha
  • Day 4: Luang Namtha-Mengla
  • Day 5: Mengla-Yuanjiang
  • Day 6: Yuanjiang-Jianshui
  • Day 7: Jianshui-Stone Forest
  • Day 8: Shilin-Kunming
  • Day 9: Kunming-Dali
  • Day 10: Dali-Shaxi
  • Day 11: Shaxi-Cizhong
  • Day 12: Cizhong-Shangri-La
  • Day 13: Shangri-La
  • Day 14: Shangri-La-Lijiang
  • Day 15: Lijiang-Dali
  • Day 16: Dali-Shuangjiang
  • Day 17: Shuangjiang-Jinghong
  • Day 18: Jinghong-Oudomxay
  • Day 19: Oudomxay-Luang Prabang
  • Day 20: Luang Prabang
  • Day 21: Luang Prabang-Pakbeng
  • Day 22: Pakbeng-Nan
  • Day 23: Nan-Chiang Mai
  • Day 24: Chiang Mai Departure

Google Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Chiang Mai

Sightseeing and Activities: Arrive in Chiang Mai
Accommodation: Chiang Mai
Meals: Lunch

Upon arrival, you will check in the hotel. In the late afternoon, meet your fellow travelers at the welcome dinner and have a understanding of tour itinerary, motorcycle handover, basic group riding rules, and get familiar with the local riding environment.

Day 2 Chiang Mai-Golden Triangle (270 kilometers)

Sightseeing and Activities: Mae Kachan Hot Spring, White Temple
Accommodation: Golden Triangle
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

In the morning, you leave Chiang Mai towards the northeastern direction. On the way to Mae Sai, you will stop at the Mae Kachan Hot Spring, the highest hot spring in Thailand. You will pass Chiang Rai and make a stop to visit the Wat Rong Khun, the “White Temple” which is recognized as one of the main attractions in Thailand.

Then, you cruise towards the mighty Mekong River to the legendary Golden Triangle where the three borders of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos meet. You will enjoy the sunset over the Mekong River and a dinner with a river view. You will overnight at the Golden Triangle.

Day 3 Golden Triangle-Luang Namtha (250 kilometers)

Sightseeing and Activities:  Chiang Khong
Accommodation: Luang Namtha
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Follow the Mekong river to Chiang Khong, the gateway to Laos and China, and you cross the Mekong over the new Friendship Bridge. After completing the immigration process, you continue the remaining 200 kilometers in Laos to the laid-back town of Luang Namtha. You will overnight in Luang Namtha.

Day 4 Luang Namtha-Mengla (120 kilometers)

Sightseeing and Activities: Boten
Accommodation: Mengla
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

After breakfast, you will ride the last part through Laos before crossing into China. You will enter China at Boten, a purpose-built ‘Casino Town’ to serve the fondness for gambling. Leave Laos and reach the Chinese immigration building where your Chinese guide is already waiting for you.

After completing the immigration process, you continue 45 kilometers to Mengla, where you get your vehicles inspected, receive your driver’s license and temporary Chinese vehicle registration documents at the police station which will be quite an experience. You will overnight in Mengla where you will get your first impression of China.

Day 5 Mengla-Yuanjiang (440 kilometers)

Sightseeing and Activities:  Yuanjiang
Accommodation: Yuanjiang
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Today, you will ride through a tea area. Did you know that tea is the second-most consumed liquid in the world after water and a good portion of it is grown right here? Nearly the entire route today is lined with tea estates growing on the mountain slopes.

This is the region where tea was first consumed and cultivated many thousands of years ago. In China, the finest tea comes from this area. You will overnight in Yuanjiang

Day 6 Yuanjiang-Jianshui (305 kilometers)

Sightseeing and Activities: Red River, Honghe Hani Rice Terraces.
Accommodation: Jianshui
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces, Honghe

Another great ride is in store as you head east on the northern side of the Vietnam border. Today, you have some of the best riding of the entire tour and an exceptional day in the saddle. In the morning, you will ride on a wonderful road which is running down the Red River Valley. Then, you cruise uphill into the Honghe Hani Rice Terraces.

A large variety of ethnic minorities populate this area over the centuries, they built massive rice terraces that continue forever. Ride to the tops of steep mountain ridges, on down their opposite sides, across valley after valley. Thousands of square kilometers are covered by these rice terraces and a fantastic road snakes through it all. This is the road you will ride.

It is impossible not to screech to a stop every few minutes to take another photo. You will lodge in Jianshui, a well-preserved ancient town. 

Day 7 Jianshui-Stone Forest(310 kilometers)

Sightseeing and Activities: Stone Forest
Accommodation: Shilin
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Four UNESCO World Heritage Sites is on tap today. The Stone Forest in Shilin is one of the natural wonders on this planet. Bizarre limestone formations spring up vertically out of the ground, covering a 350 kilometer square area. Interspersed among the pillars are numerous lakes, adding even more atmosphere to this other-worldly landscape. Many of the spires look like petrified trees, thus the name. You will visit the Stone Forest in the afternoon and overnight in the area.

Day 8 Shilin-Kunming (80 kilometers)

Sightseeing and Activities: Green Lake Park, Flower and Bird Market
Accommodation: Kunming
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

The capital city of the Yunnan Province is your target for today. It is China’s 16th largest city with over six million inhabitants, It is also known as the “City of Eternal Spring” because of its year-round temperate weather.

Several things should not be missed in Kunming like the Green Lake Park, the Flower and Bird Market, and the central city walking esplanade. You will overnight in Kunming.

Day 9 Kunming-Dali

Sightseeing and Activities: Dali Old Town, Erhai Lake
Accommodation: Dali
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Ride from Kunming to Dali. You’d better pay a visit to Erhai Lake and Dali Old Town. Overnight in Dali.

Day 10 Dali-Shaxi

Sightseeing and Activities: Sideng Market Square, Shaxi Old Town
Accommodation: Shaxi 
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

You pass the tip of the Erhai Lake and continue northwest towards the Burmese border to Shaxi. Shaxi’s Sideng Market Square has been placed by UNESCO on their World Monument Watch List of the 100 most endangered cultural sites of the World. Shaxi is a wonderful old town along the ancient tea route with plenty of old houses, handicraft, and tea shops to explore. You will overnight in Shaxi.

Day 11 Shaxi-Cizhong (290 kilometers)

Sightseeing and Activities: the Three Parallel Rivers, Cizhong Village, 
Accommodation: Cizhong
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Three Parallel Rivers Travel along Degong Road

Today, you spend the whole day on rural roads towards Tibet. The great pleasure comes from simply observing the people go through their daily, time-honored routines as you cruise along on our motorcycles across a landscape as pretty as a painting. In the afternoon, you enter your second UNESCO World Heritage region called the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas.

Here, three of Asia’s great rivers, the Salween, the Mekong, and the Yangtze, come tumbling down from their headwaters deep inside the Himalayas. They run in parallel gorges eroded deep into the earth’s mantle. Only thirty kilometers as the bird flies separate the three incredibly massive gorges at their narrowest point. You spend the next few days riding into and out of and along each river gorge in sequence.

You will spend a night in the quiet Tibetan village of Cizhong Village. The locals here live in small farming communities in traditional houses and are inextricably wedded to their lands, growing rice, corn, and other basic food crops exactly as their ancestors did for hundreds of generations.

Day 12 Cizhong-Shangri-La (220 kilometers)

Sightseeing and Activities: Deqin, Feilaisi, Kawakarpo
Accommodation: Shangri-la
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

This day, You will ride to Deqin, hard on the Tibetan-Chinese border. Deqin sits at 3,400 meters and is surrounded by snow-capped, glaciated mountains. The scenery in this county, wherever you look, is stunning. North you ride up the raw Mekong River gorge through an otherworldly landscape of raging wild rivers, near vertical cliffs, and towering, snow topped peaks that soar to over 5000 meters.

Then ride to Feilaisi and enjoy the great view of Kawakarpo, the one of the highest unclimbed mountains in the world. Continue riding over the highest pass of this tour, the White Horse Pass at 4,292 meters to Shangri-La. The landscape and scenery of the day are simply stunning. You will overnight in Shangri-La.

Day 13 Shangri-La

Sightseeing and Activities:  Gandan Sumtseling Monastery
Accommodation: Shangri-la
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Shangri-La, 3,200 meters above sea level, has become synonymous with any earthly paradise, and particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia, a permanently happy land, isolating from the outside world. This day, you will  visit the Gandan Sumtseling Monastery.

An afternoon walk through the old quarters having an authentic glimpse into the cobbled lanes will easily fill up the remainder of the day. At night, there is always something going on in the Old Quarter’s town square lined with antique stores and shops of all kinds. For dinner, why not try a traditional Tibetian hot pot with Yak meat?

You will overnight in Shangri-La.

Day 14 Shangri-La-Lijiang (280 kilometers)

Sightseeing and Activities: Tibetan villages, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Lijiang
Accommodation: Lijiang
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

You head east over the last pass at 3,600 meters then slowly start to decent down from the Tibetan plateau. You will ride on one of the most memorable road of all. Again, you will ride endless curves, passing through Tibetan villages and towards the end through the Tiger Leaping Gorge. This fantastic road follows a contour line along the third-deepest gorge in the world.

Lijiang is your destination for tonight. It is the third UNESCO World Heritage Site which you will visit and the most popular destination in China, even surpassing Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in Beijing. A real party atmosphere permeates Lijiang and it is a great place to meet and mix with the locals and tourists. You will overnight in Lijiang.

Day 15 Lijiang-Dali(165 kilometers)

Sightseeing and Activities: Lijiang Old Town, Dali Old Town
Accommodation: Dali
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Dali Ancient Town

Lijiang Old Town is a maze of cobbled streets, canals, and stone bridges that dated back to Ming Dynasty. You are free to explore this ancient city at your leisure. Lijiang is a ‘shop till you drop’ type of place and all sorts of interesting items are for sale. You check out at 12:00 p.m. and follow your way southwards over the modern version of the Ancient Tea-Horse Road to Dali.

For a long time, Dali has been a cross road for trade and culture. Until today, this walled town is well preserved with many shops, restaurants, and bars. In the evening there is time to stroll around the streets and explore the town. You lodge in the Old Town tonight in Dali.

Day 16 Dali-Shuangjiang (385 kilometers)

Sightseeing and Activities: Three Pagodas of Shong Sheng, 
Accommodation: Shuangjiang
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Reflection Park of Three Pagodas in Dali City

In the morning, you discover the nearby Three Pagodas of Shong Sheng Temple. The elegant, balanced, and stately style is unique in China’s ancient Buddhist architectures, which makes it a must-see of your tour. Once back on the road, you ride your way through the formidable mountains that form the border between Burma and China and which also hem in the western side of the Mekong River valley.

You are so close to Burma that most of the highway signs have Burmese writing on them alongside the Mandarin. This is yet another great highway you will ride during the whole day. An added bonus is that there is hardly any traffic. Nearly 6 hours of motorcycle bliss. You will overnight in a small county called Shuangjiang.

Day 17 Shuangjiang-Jinghong (350 kilometers)

Sightseeing and Activities: Motorbike Riding, villages, tobacco and tea plantations
Accommodation: Jinghong
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Leave Shuangjiang, you will continue bended roads, passing villages, tobacco and tea plantations. The roads are good and there is not much traffic. There are plenty of places to stop for a photo on your way. You can enjoy another pleasant riding day. In the afternoon, you reach Jinghong, a major shipping port on the Mekong River. Jinghong is the capital city of the Xishuangbanna in Yunnan. You will overnight in Jinghong.

Day 18 Jinghong-Oudomxay (275 kilometers)

Sightseeing and Activities: Motorbike Riding, Oudomxay
Accommodation: Oudomxay
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Your riding adventure in China and Tibet is drawing to a close this day. You will ride the final 175 kilometers south to the border. At Mohan, you say good-bye to your Chinese guide and cross into Laos where your Lao guide is waiting for you. Normally, exiting China and entering Laos is smooth. After a local lunch, you will ride rural and winding roads in Laos towards your final destination of the day, Oudomxay, where you will overnight.

Day 19 Oudomxay-Luang Prabang (200 kilometers)

Sightseeing and Activities: Pak Mong, Motorbike Riding
Accommodation: Luang Prabang
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Fresh air in the morning and spectacular views. You will ride on the brand new road over the mountain to Pak Mong. There are plenty of scenic spots on the way. After Pak Mong, the road widens and you rather quickly cover the remaining 110 kilometers to Luang Prabang, the destination of the day.

This beautiful town, with its gleaming temple roofs, fading French architecture, and stunning mountain backdrop, is your fourth and last UNESCO World Heritage Site. It also has been claimed to be ‘the best preserved city in Southeast Asia’. In the evening, you enjoy a session by the Mekong River. You will overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 20 Luang Prabang

Sightseeing and Activities: Free Time
Accommodation: Luang Prabang
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

This day is at your own disposal. In the morning, you will have the option to get up early to view the procession of monks on their daily outing collecting alms, a practice that dated back centuries. It is done early, as the monks cannot eat anything after midday. By giving food to a monk you ‘et bon’ or make merit, which should augur well for your next life.

After breakfast, for those who are interested, you can visit the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfalls, 29 kilometers south of town. It’s possible to swim in the lagoon, so bring your swimming gear. Around noon, back from the waterfalls, you can visit the major temples, including the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong, which nestles at the meeting of the Mekong and the Nam Khan Rivers.

Another great optional activity is to sample a traditional Lao massage and herbal sauna. At sunset, challenge yourself and walk the 300 plus steps up to mount Phousi and enjoy the stunning panoramic view of Luang Prabang. Enjoy and have fun! You stay overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 21 Luang Prabang-Pakbeng(280 kilometers)

Sightseeing and Activities: Xayaboury, Hongsa, Motorbike Riding
Accommodation: Pakbeng
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

With newly “charged batteries”, your journey takes you south towards Xayaboury, an easy and nice ride. In Xayaboury, you take the road 4A towards Hongsa. The road is scenic and narrow, it winds its way through valley after valley, over mountains and through village after village. There is hardly any traffic and you will enjoy every minute.

Your final destination for the day is Pakbeng, a colorful village situated at the junction of the Mekong River and the smaller Beng River, hence the town’s name ‘Pak’ meaning ‘mouth’ in Lao. The scenery is stunning, the pace is slow and it’s the perfect way to relax and enjoy the slower pace of Laos. You will stay overnight in Pakbeng.

Day 22 Pakbeng-Nan(220 kilometers)

Sightseeing and Activities: Motorbike Riding, Thai, Bo Kluea
Accommodation: Nan
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

You will leave Pakbeng and ride the remaining 60 kilometers in Laos to the Thai border at Huai Kon. At the border, you say good-bye to your Laotian guide. Once finalizing the border formalities, you will ride on the left side of the road again and heading towards Bo Kluea.

Without any doubt the road to Bo Kluea and Nan offers some of the most scenic riding in all of Thailand through villages and valleys. The tiny village of Bo Kluea is located in a scenic valley close to the Lao border, remote and picturesque. Leave Bo Kluea, you are back on curvy roads, riding the mountains southwest towards Nan. Most of the day, you are following the mountain range forming the border between Thailand and Laos. You will overnight in Nan.

Day 23 Nan-Chiang Mai (300 kilometers)

Sightseeing and Activities: Motorbike Riding, Phayao
Accommodation: Chiang Mai
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

After breakfast, you drive from Nan towards western direction. During the last day of your motorcycle adventure, you ride once again hilly roads via Phayao to Chiang Mai. In Phayao, you enjoy lunch by the lake before you arrive back in Chiang Mai in the afternoon, in time to get ready for your farewell dinner.

You will end the day together with your new friends, sharing good riding memories, and looking at some of the pictures from your adventures of the last three weeks. You will overnight in Chiang Mai.

Day 24 Departure from Chiang Mai

Sightseeing and Activities: Departure from Chiang Mai
Accommodation: None
Meals: Breakfast

You will transfer to Chiang Mai International Airport for your departure flight.

Recommended Hotels

JinghongInterContinental Hotel JinghongDai Garden HotelJinglan Business HotelRainforest Paradise XishuangbannaShilinDays Hotel & Suites Tongce ShilinSelect Hotel & Resorts Shilin//Mengla


Destination 5 Star 4 Star 3 Star Hostels
Kunming Sofitel Hotel Jinjiang Hotel Longteng Hotel /
Lijiang InterContinental Hotel E-outfitting Hotel Liwang Hotel /
Shangri-la Shangri-La Resort E-outfitting Hotel Bodhi Boutique Inn /
Dali Hilton Hotel E-outfitting Hotel Taiheju hotel /
Jianshui Tingziyun Hotel Linan Hotel Hongmantian Hotel /
Shaxi Landscape Hotel Shaxi Aoding Courtyard Xiaolazhe Yododo Inn /

Service Included:

  • Admission fees for all of the sightseeing spots listed in the itinerary;
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary;
  • Hotels as listed in the itinerary;
  • Sharing English-speaking tour guide;
  • Service charge & government taxes;
  • Luggage transfers;

Service Excluded:

  • Any arrival and departure international airfares or train tickets;
  • Chinese visa fees;
  • Single room supplement;
  • Tips to guides and drivers;
  • Personal expenses and gratuities to service staff;
  • Personal travel accident insurance;
  • All optional programs.