- Small Adult Group
- Burma's food is a diverse blend of Chinese, Indian and South East Asian influences, with many regional variations of their 'standard' dishes. Rice is at the core of most Burmese food, and good vegetarian food is widely available, curries are very common as are noodles and soup. In the bigger hotels and cities and at Inle Lake Western food is available. Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in Burma the availability of certain specialised products for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free or dairy-free, is minimal or non-existent and we strongly recommend you bring these specialised dietary items from home. You may find it beneficial to bring some 'cycling snacks' with you from home; high energy snacks are not readily available locally. For snacks and drinks during the rides, a kitty is normally arranged by the tour leader (see extra expenses).
- Accom: hotel/lodge
- Adult group
- Culture & Discovery
- Cycling: road
- Guided Group
- Myanmar's food is a diverse blend of Chinese, Indian and South East Asian influences, with many regional variations of their 'standard' dishes. Rice is at the core of most Burmese food, and good vegetarian food is widely available, curries are very common as are noodles and soup. In the bigger hotels and cities and at Inle Lake Western food is available. Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in Myanmar the availability of certain specialised products for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free or dairy-free, is minimal or non-existent and we strongly recommend you bring these specialised dietary items from home. You may find it beneficial to bring some 'cycling snacks' with you from home; high energy snacks are not readily available locally. For snacks and drinks during the rides, a kitty is normally arranged by the tour leader (see extra expenses).
Start Rangoon (Yangon).
Start Yangon. The huge Bogyoke market is worth a visit with food, clothing and handicrafts all on sale (closed on Mondays and public holidays), or visit the historic Strand Hotel which was often visited by the likes of Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham. There will be a welcome briefing this evening with an optional group dinner at a local restaurant.
Fly to Heho and drive to Inle Lake; short ride.
A short flight takes us to Heho, the gateway to the impressive Inle Lake. We then drive to Nyaungshwe our base for exploring the lake and its surroundings.The Shan Hills flank the lake on both sides, with villages on stilts, inhabited mostly by the Intha people (meaning sons of the lakes). After getting set up with our bikes we will have a short warm up ride to visit a local vineyard for some wine tasting. Cycle approx. 15km.
Cycle to Inthein pagodas, then cruise on Inle Lake past craft industries and floating markets, and see the famous leg-rowing fishermen.
Today begins with a ride to Inthein on the western banks of the lake, this intricate pagoda complex has hundreds of Shan style stupas clustered together on the hillside. Following years of decline, and with the forest reclaiming the site, walking around and through it makes you feel like Indiana Jones. In the afternoon we cruise on the lake passing cottage industries, and visiting the lakeside markets (if possible). We will see the famous leg-rowing fishermen casting their nets in the lake - this technique of standing up holding a long paddle in one hand and their leg wrapped around the paddle lower down leaves the fishermen free to cast their conical fishing nets. This unique style evolved as the lake is covered by reeds and floating plants making it difficult to see above them while sitting. There is a lakeside market that rotates through five different sites around the lake. Here the locals come to sell their traditional wares early in the morning and return to their village in the afternoon. The market serves most common shopping needs and depending on its location, we may be able to visit it. Cycle approx. 54 km.
Ride to minority villages around Inle Lake.
Heading out on our bikes to visit the villages that surround the lake and the dense farmland, our ride is undulating and on quiet roads. We cycle around the edge of the lake towards Intha minority group villages passing rice paddies, sugar cane, traditional wooden houses and colourfully-dressed villagers. We will stop en route at villages and see what is being made and harvested depending upon the time of year. Proceeding to the village of Inpawkhone, famous for its traditional silk weaving from the stems of lotus flowers, a time consuming process that results in high quality materials, we will observe weaving techniques before visiting a cheroot factory where cigars are rolled by hand. Time-permitting we will also visit a boat-making workshop to learn about this key lakeside industry. We will then return to Nyaungshwe. Cycle approx. 31km.
Cycle across Shan Highland to Pindaya; visit Pindaya caves.
Making our way towards the Shan Highland there are a couple of tough uphills at the start of the day. Continuing through rolling hills we will stop and refuel at regular intervals. The last stretch of today's journey is the most scenic as we near Pindaya with Pa-Oh and other tribes working in the fields. After checking into our hotel we visit Pindaya caves, exploring its caverns and tunnels. There are more than 8000 Buddha images within the Pindaya limestone caverns and meditation chambers; every day pilgrims flock to the caves and install new Buddha images within this labyrinth of tunnels and chambers. Cycle approx. 59km.
Drive/cycle to Mandalay.
Leaving Pindaya we drive back to Kyone junction in order to avoid starting the day with a steep uphill. From here we continue over the hills to Ywar Ngan passing more fields and small lively villages. After lunch we will transfer the rest of the way to Mandalay - approx. journey duration: 5 hours. Cycle approx. 54km.
Ride to Mingun and return to Mandalay by boat.
Cycle to Mingun, the home of the largest uncracked bell in the world until 2000 at 90 tons. We will visit a huge unfinished pagoda which suffered earthquake damage but whose flat surface is now an ideal spot for amazing river views. From here we board a boat and head back to Mandalay. Cycle approx. 40km.
Visit U-Bein Bridge; cycle/drive to Monywa; visit cave of a thousand Buddhas.
An early start as we head out to one of Myanmar's most iconic sights, U Bein Bridge. This teak bridge spans over a kilometer and is best seen at sunrise when villagers use it to begin their journey to work and fishermen below get ready for a day on the water. This is one of the most photogenic sights of the country and not to be missed. After driving to Myin Mu (approx. 2 hours), we cycle to Monywa visiting the Hindu style Thanbodday temple en route. Thanbodday is one of Burma's main attractions, yet like a lot of sites outside Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan is seldom visited by foreign tourists. The site dates to 1303 and contains hundreds of gleaming gold-topped stupas. Inside, there are more than 500,000 Buddha images of all shapes and sizes. We will also stop at Boditahtaung pagoda, which houses the largest reclining Buddha image in the country, at 100m long and 27m high. Nearby is the largest standing Buddha in the world, Laykyun Setkyar. Cycle approx. 65km.
Drive/cycle to Pakkoku; boat ride on Irrawaddy River to Bagan.
We start off cycling from the hotel towards Pakkoku where we board a boat on the Irrwaddy River to the ancient wonder of Bagan (Pagan). In Bagan there are over 4000 temples and pagodas in many shapes and sizes to explore amongst the 25 square miles of brick that compare to the Angkor Kingdom of Cambodia, Chichen Itza and Machu Picchu as one of the world's most spectacular archaeological sites. This is where Buddhism, Hinduism and Nat worship come together in an array of different shrines. Cycle approx. 50km. For those that would like to do the optional balloon ride please consult the Optional Extras section.
Explore Bagan temple complex by bike.
This morning is spent exploring the temple complex spreading out as far as the horizon with its peaks of brick stupas that dot the skyline in many shapes and forms. Building commenced after the former Kings of Bagan introduced Theravada Buddhism in the mid-11th Century, a string of Kings followed building temples to worship their gods. Ananda Pahto with its bejeweled 'hti' (umbrella), Dhammayangyi pahto and Shwesandaw Paya are the largest and most impressive sights we will visit along with the smaller hidden gems offering unique opportunities to climb and delve deeper into the history. We return to our hotel in the afternoon for free time, but will finish the day with sunset at one of the temples enjoying a stunning 360 degree views. Don’t forget to look behind as the sun hits the many temples nearby, a truly magical experience and a photographer's paradise. Cycle approx. 25km.
Cycle to Mt Popa, option to cycle or drive back to Bagan.
Our scenic cycle to Mt Popa takes in more stunning brick temples, before reaching the petrified forest that surrounds the extinct volcano. Perched high on the summit of the peak sits the Taungkalat Monastery displaying its 37 Nats (spirits) with frequent nat pwes (spirit ceremonies) held in their honour. One Nat, Ko Gyi Kyaw is adorned with whisky bottles because he was a heavy drinker, and this vice took him prematurely to his grave. He is the patron Nat of tramps and alcoholics. We take a brief hike up to the summit to pay our respect (not necessarily to Nat Ko Gyi Kyaw) before having the option of either cycling back to Bagan or hopping on the coach for the journey. Cycle approx. 50km / 100km if return cycle chosen.
Free morning (optional ride); afternoon flight to Yangon.
After a free morning we fly back to Yangon. The bikes and your leader will be available this morning for one last optional ride to Kyuak Gu U Min north of the main temple area on the banks of the Irrwaddy for anyone who is interested. This temple has intricate stone carvings and is situated away from the main archeological zone, so here we can discover a different side of Bagan. Cycle approx. 20km.
Yangon city tour including the old colonial areas of this former capital.
Yangon sits under the shadow of the glittering Shwedagon Pagoda, the most religious site within Myanmar that is said to contain eight hairs of the Buddha. As the stupa glitters in gold with 5500 diamonds and numerous other precious stones overlooking the city, life goes on in the busy streets to the south where we will explore dilapidated colonial edifices on our city tour. Chinatown offers plenty of photographic opportunities with its unpaved streets lined with old wooden shuttered houses, medicine shops, temples and the more colourful markets. Close by, we visit Shwe Bontha, perhaps the most photogenic of all streets in the city, with its leafy sidewalks, pavement tea-shops and magnificent colonial buildings. Finally our tour takes us to Lake Kandawgyi to view the glittering Karaweik replica of the Royal Barge before ascending to Shwedagon Pagoda for impressive views over Yangon at sunset.