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The mystique of Myanmar almost demands that it is explored in a unique way and cycling this mesmerizing country is the perfect way to do it. Combining mountains, lakes, beautiful cities, a fascinating history and the intriguing Buddhist religion and culture – Myanmar packs in so many moments on this tour that can be truly savored by the more pleasurable pace of cycling.
- CategoryCulture & History
- DestinationMandalay & Surrounds
- Duration14 days
- Culture LevelAdventurous
- Skill Level2 - Novice
- Activity Level2 - Moderate
- Elevation2 - Moderate
- Distance309.4 miles
- Avg. Daily Distance31.1 miles
- Day 1Arrival in Yangon
It’s your first day in Myanmar and you can feel the excitement building. The tour provider will go over the tour with you and then have a welcome dinner together with the whole group. It will also afford you the first chance to sample Myanmar’s delicious cuisine.
- Day 2Colonial cool hilltops await
To really get this ride underway you have to make your way to Kalaw – a colonial hilltop town nestled amongst beautiful pine trees. There will be a short early morning flight to Heho before transferring to the town. Soldiers of the Raj famously used to retreat to Kalaw during the hotter months to cool off and it’s not difficult to see why.
Following some lunch you will begin a gentle afternoon ride through the surrounding countryside. It will act as the perfect warm up and an ideal way of getting accustomed to your bike and ensuring it meets your requirements. Occasional uphill riding will surface but supported by the beautiful vistas, it will be no match for you.
- 22.4 miles
- Day 3Down we go to Inle Lake
What goes up must come down and today you depart from the plateau and feel the wind rush by as you head for the beautiful Inle Lake. Tick off the kilometers rapidly and two final, meandering downhill roads lead you swiftly to Inle’s shores. Along the way, explore the fantastic Burmese countryside and ride also along inland waters to Nyaung Shwe – the north side of the lake.
- 49.1 miles
- -1456.7 ft
- Day 4Lapping up some lake time
Today combines lake exploration from both the shore and on the water. But first of all you will get started with a ride alongside the waterfront, gazing at the passing temples and gliding through villages and saying hello to the locals. This is truly one of the best days on the tour and having finished up riding, there will be a lakeside lunch before taking to the water by boat to explore further.
There is so much to see as you look upon floating gardens, monasteries and witness first-hand how the Intha fishermen slowly pursue the catch of the day. A beautiful day demands a fitting conclusion and naturally you'll be provided with one through a vineyard visit in time for sunset and an exquisite dinner.
- 12.4 miles
- 3.3 ft
- Day 5Checking out Pindaya’s caves
Waving goodbye to a delightful time at Lake Inle we pedal onwards to the Shan Plateau. Today brings a mix of terrain as we tackle dirt and paved roads, while also fitting in some climbs and pleasant switchbacks. The destination is Pindaya, renowned for its limestone caves that contain thousands of Buddha statues. Before dinner we will visit the caves as this journey continues to provide incredible moments every day.
- 39.1 miles
- 984.3 ft
- Day 6Moving onto Mandalay
This day is broken up a bit by vehicle transfers as we make our way to Burma’s last Royal capital, Mandalay. After an initial hour long transfer in the morning we fit in some riding as we breeze past countryside fields and smiling villages full of locals and children shouting ‘hello’. Following a lunch stop we will then board another transfer to Mandalay.
- 32.9 miles
- -311.7 ft
- Day 7Meeting Mandalay’s neighbours
There is so much to explore both inside the city of Mandalay and on its outskirts. Today we take the opportunity to hop board our trusty bikes and explore the former as we visit towns such as Sagaing and Mingun. First stop is the longest teak bridge in Asia, the U Bien, and it is quite the picture. Naturally, this is a perfect point to take advantage of some glorious photo opportunities. And those glorious moments just keep following as we take in the monasteries and stupas of Sagaing before reaching Mingun. Unlike Sagaing this is memorable for being the location of the ruins of Pahtodawgyi, an unfinished stupa that could have been the world’s biggest had it ever been finished. This is a day of cultural insights and we stop for one last record breaker as we check out the Mingun bell – this 90 ton behemoth is the largest ringing bell in the world! We finish things off with a lunch of local delicacies before getting a boat ride back to Mandalay.
- 28 miles
- 29.5 ft
- Day 8Markets and monasteries galore
Today we ramp up our experience of Mandalay a notch or two as we head for the zigzagging Zegyo market in all its glory. We will cycle here before jumping off the bikes to navigate this maze by foot. There will be plenty on offer such as clothes, jewelry and food. It will be difficult not to be overwhelmed by the sheer smells, sounds and movement of the place. Following this bustling market we absorb some history and a demonstration of 19th century Burmese teak architecture in practice at the Shwenandaw Monastery otherwise known as the ‘Golden Palace’. Emblazoned with gold and careful glass mosaic work, it is the carvings of Buddhist myths that stand out and will leave you enraptured by this place. Having finished up here you may feel your stomach rumbling, so on our return to Mandalay we stop for tea and some local snacks. The rest of the day is free for you to explore Mandalay at your own leisure.
- 16.2 miles
- Day 9Shooting off for the skies and Mt. Popa
After relaxing the previous day we make an early start and ride alongside the Irrawaddy River. Our destination today: Mt. Popa. But first we much reach our transfer town of Pyinsi and to do this we ride along cute, quiet roads and through fields of peas and beans. Having reach Pyinsi we pack up our bikes and transfer to Mt. Popa.
- 52.8 miles
- 55.8 ft
- Day 10Put down the bike and prepare for a hike
Rest days are important but we know that everyone signed up for this tour to be active. So on our first full day without riding, we decided that a hike to the top of Popa Taung Kalat temple is in order. We begin our day with a hearty breakfast and then set off to tackle the 900 steps together. This hike is well worth it though as we pass nat (spirit) shrines and witness the pilgrims who pay their respects to them. At the top, sensational panoramic vistas await and it is a photographer’s dream. After completing this, we know some real relaxation is in order, so the rest of your day is free to chill at the hotel’s infinity pool or go for a wander in the national park. We will reconvene later on for our dinner together.
- Day 11Pack your bags for Bagan
Bewitching views greet you in the morning and it’s just the kind of start you’ll relish for this day. After devouring breakfast you will begin your descent down the mountain. Simple yet astounding sights will fill up your vision as you make your way towards Bagan. Farmers plow the fields with their water buffalos, children wave and small villages pass you by on this serene ride before we reach Bagan, an ancient city enveloped by thousands of temples along the Irrawaddy River.
- 37.9 miles
- -2424.5 ft
- Day 12Bathe in Bagan’s beauty
This is truly the biggest highlight of the trip as we get to explore Bagan, which can boast the densest concentration of temples, stupas, pagodas and ruins in the world. Many of them date back to the 11th and 12th century and they make for great exploring by cycling. Naturally, the day will heat up so once we have got our fix in the morning we can return to the hotel to take a much needed dip in the pool. You can finish off your day by observing possibly one of the best sunsets you will see in your life over the river or take your bike to observe it from the top of a temple. The views across the plains from up here are sensational.
- 18.6 miles
- -3.3 ft
- Day 13Flying back to Yangon
Having saved the best day for last in Bagan we now transfer to the airport before flying back to Yangon. By air you will be able to see the incredible feat you have achieved in riding through Myanmar and some of the terrain you had to tackle on the way. After touching down we head downtown together to see Myanmar’s most famous religious site, Shwedagon Paya together. We’ll celebrate our incredible ride together with one last dinner as we bid farewell and reflect on a fantastic journey.
- Day 14Ready to depart
One last breakfast is included in the tour today. The rest of the day is your own as you fit in some shopping and visit the Bogyoke Aung San market before heading for the airport to head off to your next destination or to go home.