can anyone let me know if you can hire to ride yourself, motorbikes in vientiane, vang vieng, luang prabang and phonsavan. thanking you for your assistance
i have not heard of anywhere in Phonsavanh to rent bikes either, but would be interested to know if anyone has. As Rufuscat says (often!), you should be an experienced rider, have the correct paperwork and certainly insurance.
Motorbike hire is no longer banned in Luang Prabang. However, I think there may (still) an attempt to limit this as bike hire is more expensive than most other places.
I would also echo the previous comments re:experience etc. There may not be heavy traffic on Lao roads, but you will face all sorts of hazards (not least other road users!) that you are not used. Most of the other traffic will not behave how you expect.
It is still banned, though some places will let you hire it is illegal.
thankyou everyone for your posts, we have had a very short visit to lao before hiring a bike in vang vieng but at that time in luang prabang we couldnt hire bikes. my husband is experienced rider with international lic and insurance. we are going back for a better look this time and like hiring a bike ourselves, i hope it is possible at luang prabang and phonsavan if anyone has a definate answer. thanks
Thanks for your insight Rufus.
AFAIK the "ban" has always applied to places renting the bikes out rather than people hiring them (Perhaps you can advise here also?) there has also been a foreign owned company openly hiring out Vietnamese bikes for some time.
Recently there has been a change and many tour companies now openly advertise motorbikes to rent - whether or not this is "banned" it is now openly possible. Simply replying that it is banned may (I'm not sure where your info comes from) be accurate but does not give the most useful response to the OP.
I understand that the daily rate is around 20 dollars which has meant that only a limited number of people have taken up this option since it is far cheaper (even for a solo traveller) safer and more comfortable to hire a tuk tuk for pretty much anything you might want to do or see...
FYI - the bikes rented out in LP are the small scooter types common to the region.
For a proper "off-road type" bike I would suggest that you contact Green Discoveries as I believe that they hire out such bikes in Vientiane and also have an office in LP outside which I have occasionally seen the same bikes.
thankyou once again for your prompt answers everyone. we only require to hire one small scooter type bike anyway as we are in our 50s and not going thrashing around on a of road bike.
I know that it was possible to hire bikes yesterday, but please note that if this is still officially banned (as per Rufus advice) this may change at any time!
Also if you do decide to do this please do be very careful! The traffic here is extremely unpredictable and many animals (from newly-hatched chicks to water buffalo) will wander in the roads.
Muchea - Another thing to watch for is the condition of bikes rented to you - especially in Vang Vieng.
I have a couple of bikes of my own in Vientiane, and regularly rent when in other Lao towns - and have found VV to be quite bad for renting out dangerous wrecks. They are often the cheapest possible chinese models that have had no maintenance and are on their last legs, so if you do rent in VV, it pays to take the bike round the block a few times to be sure you are happy with it - take it back and change it for another if not.
If you happen to be the unlucky person that is in possession of a wreck when it finally expires, the rental contracts normally state you have to pay $1000 - about 2.5 times the value of a brand new one of similar quality. I always adjust this clause to reflect the real value of the bike and ask the owner to initial it, and they usually just smile and do so (whether or not this would actually acheive anything in the event of am accident I don't know!).
Many bikes stolen in Vientiane also end up in VV as hire bikes - look for the messy ignition key area.
A few guesthouses do rent motorbikes around Phonsavanh. It is not banned there, but is not as common as VV or Vientiane - as if too many guesthouses rented motorbikes out it would damage their tour businesses to the Plain of Jars & surrounds.
The condition of bikes in Vientiane are generally much better - $5/day for a chinese bike or $8 for honda/yamaha (standard 100-110cc asian models).
Until recently it was illegal for businesses to rent out motorbikes in LP (but not illegal for foreigners to ride them), but as Millie says this appears to have changed this year.