Upon arrival at Yangon airport, we will whisk you off to our hotel. This late afternoon, you will visit to Shwedagon Pagoda, the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar. Local legend states that the original structure was built 2,500 years ago then renovated several times until taking its current shape in the 15th century. The 8-sided central stupa is 99 meters tall and gilded with 40 tonnes of gold leaf. You will enjoy breathtaking views of the golden stupa and then make our way to Monsoon restaurant for dinner.
After breakfast, you will board your flight to Heho and then enjoy a scenic one-hour drive to Nyaung Shwe. You will jump on your bike and visit Nampan to check out the local market and then board a boat to cross the small lake to the village of Indein. You will ride through the hidden ancient ruins, stopping off for some time to walk through the ruined site where the jungle is beginning to consume the ruins. In the afternoon, you will cycle up the western shore gazing at the rice paddies below and the open road ahead. The road back to Nyaung Shwe is mostly paved with some undulating hills scattered in between. You will ride through the trees with the towering Shan mountains as your backdrop.
Today you will make our way up to Kalaw. Along the way, you will stop at the wooden Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery which features beautiful carvings and a collection of Buddha images, before you begin climbing up out of Nyaung Shwe Valley. The road flattens out on the Heho plains before you ride up to Aungban and make your way to Kalaw.
Today you cycle down from the former British hill station of Kalaw in the Shan hills to the flattened roads of the Ayerwaddy Valley. The scenery and climate will change today as you leave the higher elevation of the Shan Hills. The secluded pine trees and bamboo forests will transform to the Toddy Palm tree lined roads of the Ayerwaddy Valley. You will reach Meiktila which is a great town to explore on foot. The city is centred around a lake and is home to several well-known pagodas. Meiktila was also the site of a famous battle during World War II.
This morning is a scenic ride to Mt Popa, an extinct volcano standing at over 1500 meters and which Buddhists believe to be home to Burmese spirits. The countryside road is peaceful with light traffic and, as you approach Mt. Popa, the ride quickly becomes challenging as you begin to climb. After lunch, there will be some more climbing as you ride through the national park that surrounds the volcano. The final stretch of our ride ascends steeply before delivering us at Popa Mountain Resort. If you are still feeling energetic, you can climb to the sacred summit of the Gods at Mount Popa’s peak.
After breakfast, start with an easy ride down from our hotel to the base of Mt. Popa. From here you can jump off the bike and climb the almost 900 stairs to the top of Popa Taung Kalat. From the top you will have superb views of the surrounding plains. Look out for the hundreds of macaque monkeys that inhabit this region. You then ride to Bagan along Byatta Pan Sat Road, stopping en route at a village and palm garden to see the many usages of the Toddy Palm Tree and to sample the local liquor toddy palm wine before lunch. After lunch, you arrive in Bagan and finish the day with a horse and cart ride to an elevated temple to watch the sunset over the pagoda-filled plains.
Our last day on the bike is an easy one. After breakfast at the hotel, you will bike around the plains of Bagan, visiting a mix of villages, markets and of course temples. You will visit a local fresh produce market, bike to Kyauk Gu U Min on the eastern side of the river. A ten minute walk takes us to a temple before you stop for lunch at a local village house. After lunch, our ride continues through the temple plains before arriving at an elevated temple to watch the sun set.
Today we will take you to Nyaung U airport for a flight back to Yangon where we will leave you to explore Yangon before your onward departure from Myanmar.
If you’re looking for an authentic Asian experience, cycling in the land of the golden spires offers awe-inspiring scenery, fascinating history and astonishing natural beauty. From the sparkling waters of Inle Lake and the stilt houses and floating gardens that sit atop the water, to gigantic centuries old Buddhas and temples, cycling in Myanmar offers an experience like no other.
Be patient with a young tourism industry and a country only open for travel, and you will be rewarded with a mystical, beautiful and fascinating cycling holiday.