With friendly people, wide open roads and relatively few vehicles, Myanmar is a cyclist’s paradise. Mr Myanmar Travel can arrange cycling itineraries that take you along roads that see few, if any foreign visitors but bring you to the country’s most popular destinations. Cycling is a fantastic way to see the ‘real’ Myanmar, bringing you into contact with the local people in a unique way. We can arrange bikes for you or, if you prefer, you can bring your own. This popular, moderate grade, supported 15 day itinerary, includes two flights in order to avoid the longest stretches of highway.
Day 01. Arrive in Yangon.
Upon arrival our representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your chosen hotel. If you arrive early in the day, start to explore the city – beginning with the famous colonial downtown district. Late in the afternoon, as the sun starts to dip towards the horizon, visit the sublime Shwedagon Pagoda, the diamond-tipped, gold-covered centre of the Myanmar Buddhist world. Stay until nightfall, observing the changing colours of the stupa in the setting sun and the hundreds of pilgrims paying their respects.
Day 02. Yangon – Mandalay.
There’s an early start today for your dawn flight to Mandalay, the city of bicycles. A support pick-up will meet you on arrival and, after assembling your bikes, you can cycle into the city. After checking into your hotel, spend the day exploring the city and its highlights, such as Kuthodaw Pagoda and Shwenandaw Kyaung. Watch your second memorable tropical sunset from Mandalay Hill.
Biking distance: Around 30 Km.
Day 03. Mandalay - Mingun - Sagaing - Amarapura – Mandalay.
After breakfast, cycle down to the great Ayeyarwady River to meet your waiting boat for the scenic one hour journey upstream to Mingun. This is the home of what would have been the world’s largest pagoda, had it been finished. Mingun Bell, cast to adorn the pagoda is the largest intact bell in the world; weighing 90 tons. After exploring the area, cycle south along the river to the Buddhist centre of Sagaing, home to 100 or so meditation centres. Explore Sagaing Hill with its hidden monasteries and perhaps visit one the city’s silversmiths. In the late afternoon meet your support vehicle and drive across the bridge to Amarapura for sunset at U Bein Bridge. Biking distance: Around 50 Km.
Day 04. Mandalay – Myit Thar - Myin Gyan.
Head south today, about 40 kilometres on good roads via Paleik to the small town of Krause. This area was a rice-bowl during the Bagan period and is said to be a cradle of Burmese civilisation. After a break here turn west to the charming small town of Myit Tha. After lunch, board the support vehicle for a ride via farming villages to Myin Gyan where you will stay in a small local guesthouse.
Biking distance: Around 154 km.
Day 05. Myin Gyan – Taungta – Mt. Popa.
A very scenic ride today takes you through typical dry zone countryside, past sandy creeks and through palm forest to the foothills of the Bago Yoma. Continue up into the hills to the ‘Nat’ worship centre of Mt Popa, and end the day’s journey at the comfortable Mt Popa Resort which boasts excellent views of the extinct volcano.
Biking distance: Around 84 km.
Day 06. Mt. Popa – Bagan.
After breakfast, bike downhill to the village at the foot of Mt Popa. Spend the morning ascending this unusual mountain, the abode of the Popa Goddess. There are 777 steps to climb, and many small shrines to see before you reach the summit with its panoramic views over the countryside. After your visit, continue along the narrow roads of this farming district, via groves of toddy palms (where you can stop and sample the produce) to the amazing ancient city of Bagan.
Biking distance: Around 50 km.
Days 07/08. Bagan.
You have two full days to explore the 40 square kilometre archaeological zone of Bagan. This tentative world heritage site dates back to before 849AD and the most impressive pagodas date from the 11th – 13th Centuries. Cycle the dusty tracks and explore both the huge and famous, and hidden attractions of this wonderful site; try to imagine what this ancient capital was like in its heyday. At sunset, climb to one of the highest pagodas and witness the changing colours of the golden stupas. Bagan is also an excellent place to shop for quality souvenirs, particularly laquer ware which is made in workshops in the area. We also recommend taking a champagne sunrise balloon ride one morning. The view is astonishing – this is acknowledged as being one of the world’s premier ballooning locations.
Day 09. Bagan – Meiktila.
Following breakfast, mount your bikes for long ride along the flat, tarred road to Kyauk Padaung and the northern Bago Yoma. Then, it’s up into the hills. Where the road becomes too difficult to bike, load the bikes into the support pick-up, sit back and enjoy the scenery. On the approach to Meiktila, remount and ride into this lakeside town that hosts few foreign visitors.
Biking distance: Around 120 km.
Day 10. Meiktila – Kalaw.
Head for the Shan Hills today, leaving the flat valley for the scenic winding road that climbs up the cool heights of the British colonial hill station of Kalaw. The last 30km of the road are challenging but the views and achievement are worth it.
Biking distance: Around 100 km.
Day 11. Kalaw – Pindaya.
A very pleasant and much easier ride awaits you today. After breakfast at your hotel, we head off to the village location of today’s 5 day ethnic market. These markets attract members of the hill tribe communities who come to town to trade their farm produce for imported dry goods. Many of the local tribes still wear traditional costume making this an excellent photo opportunity. After spending time at the market, continue through the hills to the town of Pindaya, at the foot of the Menetaung range. Pindaya is most famous for its complex of caves, Shwe Oo Min, which house innumerable Buddha images. The ride here is particularly pleasant, passing Danu and Pa-O villages and colourful fields.
Biking Distance: Around 48 km.
Day 12. Pindaya – Inle Lake.
Have breakfast and mount your bike for the last major leg of your cycling adventure. Set amongst hazy blue hills, the target today is Inle Lake, the second largest natural lake in Myanmar and both a tentative world heritage site and an ASEAN heritage site. Accommodation here is either at the town of Nyaungshwe or, if you prefer, in a bungalow on wooden stilts on the lake itself.
Biking distance: Around 91 km.
Day 13. Inle Lake.
You have a full day today to explore this breathtakingly beautiful lake by long-tail boat. Leave early morning for the ride across the northern end of the lake, passing the famous leg-rowing fishermen and farmers, harvesting weeds and aquatic plants for their gardens. Stop by a Pa-O or Intha 5 day market and photograph the visiting tribal people in traditional dress. Then head to the centre of the lake and the famous floating village of Ywama. Visit shops and monasteries and have some lunch, watching the local people pass by your table not on foot, but by boat.
In the afternoon you could visit the ruins at Indein, a hilltop complex of more than 1,000 stupas reached via a winding canal through a dense swamp. Return to the lake and the revered Phaung Daw Oo Monastery before cruising through the floating gardens, harvested by canoe. Return to your hotel as the sun sets over the lake.
Day 14. Inle – Heho – Yangon.
There is time to relax this morning, before your transfer to Heho airport and flight to Yangon. Upon arrival in Yangon we will meet you and transfer you to the hotel of your choice. This is your chance to explore this very interesting city a little more, and maybe do some shopping at British-era Scott market, noted for its clothes, gems and handicrafts.
Day 15. Departure from Yangon.
Make your final preparations for your onward flight. If you are booked on an evening flight, we can arrange various day trips both in and around Yangon for you. We will pick you up at your hotel in good time and drive you to the airport for your departure.