With some of the best untamed scenery in Southeast Asia, many unpaved roads, and little traffic, Laos is becoming a very hot destination for cross-country mountain-bike touring. A lot of independent travellers do self-organized mountain-bike touring in northern Laos, bringing their bikes with them from home. Route 13 from Luang Prabang to Vientiane seems to be the most popular route, but be warned that despite the beautiful scenery, the route is also extremely mountainous, crossing several large ranges before reaching the Vientiane Plain. There are much better routes in Houa Phan and Xieng Khuang provinces where you’ll find fantastic landscapes, plenty of remote villages and paved roads with very few vehicles on them.
It’s a good idea to plan carefully. What appear to be very short distances on the map can often take many hours, even in a vehicle. One good thing about bicycle touring in Laos is that should things get too difficult, you can always flag down a passing sawngthaew and throw the bike on the roof. Another alternative is to join an organized cycling tour.