|Type of tour:||Guided|
|Distance:||35 Miles/day average|
|Dates:||Feb 16*, Mar 16*, May 18, Jul 20, Aug 17, Sep 21, Oct 19, and Nov 16, 2014.*Guaranteed to depart.|
|Start city:||Yangon, Burma|
|End city:||Yangon, Burma|
Burma, or Myanmar as it is now known, is the western gateway to Southeast Asia, straddling two of Asia’s great rivers and the mountainous foothills of the Himalayas. The diversity of its people, culture, and topography combined with a rich history, make it one of the region’s most fascinating and beautiful countries.
On this journey we explore central Burma, traveling from the Irrawaddy River plain up to the Shan Plateau and all along we will be greeted by warm, friendly people few tourists get to meet.
From the heights of Mt. Popa we will cycle down to the ancient city of Bagan and cycle amongst the pagodas, stupas, and temples dominating a river valley that once formed the centre of a great and deeply religious empire.
A boat ride up the Irrawaddy will take us to ancient temples that we will reach by bicycle. We arrive at Kipling’s Mandalay and explore the surroundings before we head up to the Shan lands, home to a multitude of tribal people, and a fantastic contrast to lowland Burma.
In the mountains we enjoy cooler weather the colonial charm of Kalaw, where the officers of the Raj went to escape the summer heat. We then head down to the wondrous Inle Lake and embark on a relaxing full day boat trip where we can marvel at the Intha fishermen, who famously manage to row with their legs.
Due to the popularity of Burma as a destination we highly recommend booking early to guarantee your place on the tour. Bookings less than 30 days before departure run the risk of not being confirmed.
Learn more about guided tours.
Day 1: Yangon
We will meet at the hotel at 2 pm for a visit to Shwedagon Paya, Burma’s holiest religious site. We then have a welcome dinner at Monsoon restaurant for some traditional Burmese dishes. Dinner provided.
Overnight at Clover Hotel in Yangon.
Day 2: Yangon – Mt. Popa (18 miles/30 km)
We have a morning flight to Bagan where we will meet our bikes. After a short transfer we start riding east on a flat road to warm up, passing rice fields and palm trees on the way. Our first hill climb is up to the spectacular hilltop temple of Mount Popa. Popa soars 650 metres up out of the plains and the temple is populated by Burma’s most revered Nats (spirits).
We climb the almost 900 stairs to the top of Popa Taung Kalat. As you walk up you will pass dozens of nat (spirit) shrines and see pilgrims who come to honour the spirits. From the top you will have a panorama of the surrounding plains. The views are excellent and photographers will get some great shots. We stay at a magnificent resort with spectacular views of the temple. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided.
Overnight at Popa Mountain Resort in Mt Popa.
Day 3: Mt. Popa – Bagan (52 miles/85 km)
Wake up to superb views! After breakfast, start with an easy descent from our lofty heights. We take a different route down, snaking around the mountain as we ride through small villages and palm gardens, coming across farmers plowing their fields with wooden plows and water buffaloes. We ride into Bagan, which is littered with thousands of temples along the banks of the Irrawaddy River. Our riverside hotel offers a refreshing pool to cool down in. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided.
Overnight at Bagan Hotel in Bagan.
Day 4: Bagan Temples (18 miles/30 km)
Bicycles are the perfect way to explore the temples of Bagan; we take a morning cycle around the Archaeological Zone before returning for a dip in the pool. The sunset ride, with views across the plains studded with chedis and temples, is something you will never forget. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided.
Overnight at Bagan Hotel in Bagan.
Day 5: Bagan – Pakokku – Yayzagyo - Monywa (37 miles/70 km)
This morning we will drive to the Bagan Jetty for a leisurely boat journey on the Irrawaddy River to Pakokku. After three hours we will start cycling 45 km towards Yazagyo where we'll visit the wooden Pakhangyi monastery that was built in 1886 and restored in 1992.Our cycling will be through the rural river basin and therefore mostly flat with a few undulating hills. We transfer on to the untouristy town of Monywa where we'll overnight. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided.
Overnight at Win Unity Hotel in Monywa.
Day 6: Monywa – Po Win Taung – Mandalay (48 miles/77 km)
We ride from our hotel in Monywa to Myint Mu. En route we will stop and visit the Hindu-style Thanbodday Temple that boasts a square temple base that is topped by receding terraces, with 864 small stupas surrounding the central golden chedi. We'll continue on to the Boditahtaung Pagoda which houses one of the largest reclining Buddha images in the world. Make sure your cameras are accessible! When we reach Myint Mu we will continue the rest of the way by vehicle to Mandalay. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided.
Overnight at Red Canal Hotel in Mandalay.
Day 7: Mandalay – Sagaing – Mingun – Mandalay (28 miles/46 km)
We leave the city of Mandalay behind to explore the towns of Sagaing and Mingun on the opposite side of the Irrawaddy River. We cycle along the river to Sagaing, an important religious and monastic centre and subsequently home to numerous monasteries and stupas. After lunch we continue on our photogenic cycle route to Mingun where we'll visit the ruins of Pahtodawgyi.
This massive unfinished stupa would have been the largest in the world if completed and now might be the the largest pile of bricks in the world, but is nonetheless impressive. We'll also see the Mingun bell which weighs 90 tons and is the largest ringing bell in the world. In the afternoon it'll be time to relax as we hop on a boat to take us downstream to Mandalay. We'll meet up in the evening to drive to Mandalay Hill to watch the sunset before dinner. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided.
Overnight at Red Canal Hotel in Mandalay.
Day 8: Mandalay (rest day)
Today you are free to explore on tyour own. Head to Zegyo Market and shop at the bazaar or head to MandalayHill for sunset. Breakfast provided
Overnight at Red Canal Hotel in Mandalay.
Day 9: Mandalay – Ywar Ngan – Kyone – Pindaya (45 miles/72 km)
We have a long transfer this morning to head up to the Shan Plateau. Shan State covers almost a quarter of Myanmar is home to several different ethnic groups and you will notice a change in the people, culture, and cuisine as we climb up. When we reach Ywar Ngan we'll have lunch and then it's time to start cycling on undulating roads through a patchwork of fields. We bike to Kyone, passing many villages on the way where you'll be greeted by “hellos” from the children. Our destination is Pindaya, home to limestone caves that house thousands of Buddhas. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.
Overnight at Golden Cave Hotel in Pindaya.
Day 10: Pindaya – Aung Ban – Kalaw (30 miles/48 km)
This morning we cycle through a beautiful rural landscape as the gently rolling hills takes us to Aung Ban and then we have a climb up to the former hill station of Kalaw. This cool, peaceful town amidst pine trees still retains its colonial feel. November Hotel. Ride 48 km. B L D
Day 11: Kalaw – Inle Lake (59 miles/95 km)
We start the day backtracking down to Aungban and then continue coasting to Inle Lake. We cover many kilometres, but the last section has two sweeping downhills, which take us directly to the shores of Inle Lake. We ride alongside one of Asia’s most beautiful inland waters to Nyaungshwe, located north of the lake. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided.
Overnight at Amazing Hotel Nyaung Shwe at Inle Lake.
Day 12: Inle Lake
We give our legs some rest and enjoy a full day boat trip on Inle Lake. We take in the five-day market, Indein temples, floating gardens, monasteries and the Intha fishermen, who famously manage to row with their legs. Lunch is in a secluded bamboo forest by the lake. We then visit several Intha cottage industries. There are a variety of restaurants in town and dinner is your choice. Breakfast, lunch provided. Overnight at Amazing Hotel Nyaung Shwe.
Day 13: Inle Lake – Yangon
In the morning we transfer to Heho airport and fly back to Yangon, viewing from the air some of the terrain we have covered by bike. We arrive in time to take a trishaw ride in downtown Yangon. Savoy Hotel. B L D
Day 14: Yangon
The morning is free for shopping. We can visit Bogyoke Aung San market before heading to the airport for the flight home -- or to a Thai beach resort. Breakfast provided.
We recommend that you tuck away a few extra dollars, perhaps US$10 per day, for incidentals. It is customary to tip local tour guides and drivers, however, the amount you give should be dependent on the level of service you receive. As a general guide we suggest US$ 3-4 per person per day is appropriate.
Bikes available for rent are well-known makes of mountain bikes with lightweight alloy frames, 24- to 27-speed gearing, disc/v-brakes and Shimano components and front suspension.
If you bring your own bike, please make sure it is a mountain bike, preferably with front suspension, and that it is in good mechanical order.
Basic spares and tools are carried by the guide and on the support vehicle, though we cannot guarantee having spares for every conceivable problem. Carrying a basic tool kit, a spare tube and a pump while riding is recommended.
Wearing a helmet is strongly recommended on all our biking adventures and if you choose not to wear one you will be asked to sign a liability waiver. Your guide is trained in first aid and emergency rescue, but to a large degree you must be responsible for your own safety while riding. It is therefore compulsory that you take out travel insurance that will cover you for a mountain biking tour.
We will be supported by air-conditioned vehicles that have been specially modified for cycle tours. The vehicles follow us the whole time and are always available for tired cyclists. It is very easy to get bikes on and off, so you can rest when you are tired and cycle whenever you feel like it.
This is a touring trip using mountain bikes and we cycle 320 miles/515 km on country lanes and quiet roads. Though 95% of our riding will be on tarmac, the road can be in poor condition in spots. There is little traffic, even on the main highways, which makes for excellent bicycle touring.
The first few days riding are flat rides or on gentle rolling hills and cut through rice fields, ancient cities and scenic countryside. Passing through many villages, you will find the people curious, friendly and polite. We share the road with ox carts, cyclists, and waving children.
The second phase of the tour takes us east into the mountainous Shan state. There will be a long climbing day up to Pindaya, but there we'll take a rest day. The averagely fit cyclists will have no problems.
The trip is fully supported; an air-conditioned bus follows us for the entire journey, so exhausted riders can skip the tougher sections if they wish. On major roads, riders can find their own pace and meet up at prearranged points along the way. There is an unbelievable amount to see throughout the tour and we stop frequently to view temples, rural scenes (especially if riding during rice harvest) and villages.
This is a demanding route. There is no technical riding on this trip, but there are some long days.
While the more fit you are the easier it will be, the tour also welcomes inexperienced riders and even non-riding partners can be catered for and are more than welcome to join this tour.
Tour start and end
Nearest airport: Yangon International Airport
This tour starts and ends in Yangon. International flights to and from there are not included in the tour price. Domestic flights listed are included. Please contact us for advice before arranging flights for the best arrival and departure times.
Passports and Visas
All nationalities require a valid passport. A visa is required for all visitors to Myanmar and must be procured from a Myanmar Embassy.
Recommended vaccinations include typhoid, polio, tetanus and Hepatitis A. A certificate for Yellow Fever is required if arriving from an infected area within the prior six days. Some areas of Burma may be considered malarial areas. Please check with your doctor prior to departure for the most recent information.
Myanmar/Burma has a tropical climate with fairly high humidity. There are three seasons: from March to June it is hot and dry, with temperatures between 80-104 degrees F (27-40 degrees C), and with night temperatures in the 60s (F). The rainy season is from July to September. The cooler season (particularly in the mountains) is from September to February, with average temperatures between 68-86 degrees F (20-30 degrees C). It can be cold at night in the hills in Shan state, where we spend 2 nights, and adequate cold weather clothing – gloves, hats, jacket - is required.
Weatherspark.com offers information on average weather conditions at most destinations throughout the globe. Type a destination in the search box, and select "Averages," and you'll find a range of information such as average high and low temperatures, precipitation, cloudy days, humidity and wind speed/direction.
Of course, if your tour is coming up in the next week, you can also select "Forecast" to get the most current information on upcoming conditions.
Burma’s everyday currency, the kyat, and should cover buying small items, bottle of water or a snack, while dollars are used for everything else and the euro is also increasingly being accepted. Please be aware it is not possible to use ATMs, credit cards or exchange travelers checks anywhere in Myanmar so USD cash should be brought. Bring only newly issued USD currency (meaning the ones with the large off-centered portraits) without any tears or holes and avoid serial numbers beginning with CB. There have been widespread rumors that CB series notes are counterfeit.
SpiceRoads endeavors to offer high-quality, educational, and adventure-filled itineraries that highlight and focus on the diversity of landscapes found in Asia and its people. As a specialized "niche" bicycle tour operator since 2000, we provide the most authentic, unique and exciting adventures in Asia.
The SpiceRoads family began back in the mid 1990s, when Hamish Keith was creating, operating and leading ground breaking cycle tours throughout Thailand and in emerging destinations such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar for well known companies such as Exodus Travels and World Expeditions and his own company the Wild Planet.
In 2000 Hamish decided to concentrate on what he loved doing the most and he established SpiceRoads as a specialist cycle tour operator in the region he knew best - Southeast Asia. The “niche” was to promote bicycle group tours directly to clients all around the world via the internet. Hamish set the standard for all subsequent SpiceRoads tours by offering a high quality tour - from customer service, to bicycles, to well researched routes to the guides we use – at a good value.
In 2002, when Hamish left to pursue other opportunities in the travel industry, Struan Robertson came on board, and with his skills in management, IT and of course cycling, the company has grown to encompass other Asian countries. During the years of growth what hasn't changed is the spirit of SpiceRoads, which is to offer professional, international standard cycle tours and services to independent travellers and cycle enthusiast looking to discover Asia by bicycle.
Our well-planned eye-opening cycling tours provide an active immersion into local cultures, languages, scenery and, of course, the most delicious of foods. By combining legendary service and rare opportunities for cultural experiences, our travel philosophy continues to excite, enthuse, and positively impact every guest. Take a look at our guestbook if you don't believe us!
SpiceRoads' staff and all of our professionally licensed multi-lingual tour guides are passionate about creating the best possible experiences, with fun, creativity, and total dedication to satisfaction.
We're always peddling towards making your tour perfect so you can See Asia by Bicycle!
(Involuntary) On the rare occasions when we, SpiceRoads, must cancel a trip, all payments received to date will be 100% refunded, which constitutes full settlement. There will be absolutely no deductions.
(Voluntary) If you, the client, must cancel your reservation, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the following formula:
For all tours (except short Thailand tours 4 days or less, see below):
Number of days prior to trip start
Cancellation fee per person
50% of tour price
70% of tour price
**Administration fees include bank fees and exchange rate losses.
Exceptions to this policy cannot be made for any reason, including weather or personal emergencies. Please note:
We strongly advise that clients have full personal travel insurance that covers for the refund of monies paid in case either party cancels the tour for any reason.
We regret that we cannot be held responsible for incidental/consequential costs or expenses you may incur as a result of any changes or cancellations. No compensation is payable for minor changes.
Any damages/injuries incurred that are attributable to your own actions, acts of some other party unconnected with the contract services or where the damage/injury results from events/circumstances which our outside our control and could not be reasonably foreseen.
For damages where SpiceRoads is responsible, our liability is strictly limited to twice the total price of the tour. In booking a tour with SpiceRoads you, the client, are agreeing to these terms and you accept this limit on our liability. This limit allows us to keep the prices of our tours as low as possible.
You must be in possession of a valid passport and all the visas and permits required for your tour. This includes any medical certificates that are required. The client accepts full responsibility for obtaining any and all such documentation. Every client is encouraged to contact the consulate/embassy for the countries they are traveling in respectively to receive the latest and most current information about their immigration / transit policies.
SpiceRoads does not accept responsibility if your documentation is not in order. Information provided by the company about these matters and other related items (clothing, baggage, climate etc.) is given in good faith but without responsibility on the part of the company.
For all tours (except short Thailand tours 4 days or less, see below):
SpiceRoads insists that all clients must take out good travel insurance before joining one of our tours. There are inherent risks involved in cycling and mountain biking and we will not be liable for your medical expenses or evacuation in case of an accident.
This insurance must include adequate coverage for any personal accident, medical expenses, injury, death and repatriation. Insurance should also provide coverage for cancellations or curtailment of the holiday. Clients should also ensure that there are no exclusion clauses limiting protection for any dangerous or unusual activities that might be included in their tour.
If you join the tour without adequate insurance you may be disallowed from continuing on the tour without the right of refund. Clients are solely responsible for arranging their own insurance and they should ensure that they are covered for the full duration of their tour. Your tour leader will ask for copies of your insurance before allowing you to join the tour. This protects both you and us.
In case of an accident, please consult with your tour leader or contact our reservation staff at +66(0) 89 895 5680 (24 hour hot line).
Upon signing up for a tour you must agree to accept the authority of the tour leader who is the representative of the company. The tour leader should be regarded as the same as a “ship’s captain” or an airline’s “Pilot.”
At all times the authority of your tour leader will be final when concerning matters likely to endanger your own health or safety or in regard to behavior or ill health that is causing or is likely to cause danger, distress or disturbance to the group and the well-being of the tour. Failure to abide by the authority of the tour leader could result in legal proceedings and the immediate termination of your participation in the tour without recourse.
In such circumstances we reserve the right to terminate all travel arrangements without liability on the part of the company. You must always comply with the local law, customs and drug regulations of the country/ies you are visiting. Failure to do so may lead to you being ordered to leave the tour without recourse to any refund or any legal claim against the company. In the case of ill health the company and its operators can make those arrangements that it sees fit and recover all monies paid from the client. The person who signs the booking form (which incorporates these conditions) warrants that he/she does so, with full authority on behalf of all those whose names appear thereon, and confirms thereby that all such persons accept and are fully aware of these conditions.
No refund will be given for non-utilized services, however if we are able to obtain a refund ourselves for these services we will endeavor to pass these on to the client less reasonable administration charges.
SpiceRoads pledges never to increase the tour price except under exceptional circumstances for those that have previously book the tour. Circumstances of this policy include: government action or legislation that directs the company to increase prices, exceptional and unfavorable changes in exchange rates that exceed a 20% fluctuation or currency devaluation.
Clients will be notified of any price increase at least 4 weeks before departure.
We will not accept any liability for any delay in your outward or inward flight/s, whether the cancellation or delay is caused by the weather, airline rescheduling, industrial action or mechanical failure. We will give no refunds or compensation for lost time and services from the itinerary.
Should you have a complaint while on tour, you must notify your guide, or the local operator, at the earliest opportunity, so that they can do what they can to immediately rectify it. Failure to do so will result in the limiting of a client's ability to claim compensation. If the problem is not brought to our attention we have no opportunity to rectify it. Any complaints should be sent to us in writing, or by email, not more than 28 days after the tour ends.
Complaints related to booking, inquires, billing, sales or operations should be directed to the Sales and Marketing Manager and/or the General Manager.
If there is anything else you need to know or want to hear in order to put your mind at rest, please do not hesitate to contact us.
SpiceRoads is not liable for any bodily injury or property damage as a result of (but not limited to): physical exertion for which a guest is not prepared; forces of nature; travel by plane, train, auto, boat or other conveyance, or by bicycle, horseback, foot or other form of active or adventure travel; consumption of alcoholic beverages; civil unrest; terrorism; breakdown of equipment; high altitude; lack of or limited access to medical attention in remote locations; and the adequacy of medical attention once provided.
SpiceRoads is also not liable for: expenses (e.g., meals, transportation or hotel costs) that are not specified as included in the trip cost but may be required to get to or from a trip start or end point.
SpiceRoads reserves the right to make route and hotel modifications as necessary to improve the trip quality or to accommodate the comfort and well-being of guests. Guests grant SpiceRoads express permission to take photographs or make film records of its trips for promotional and commercial use, as well as approve such use by third parties with whom SpiceRoads may engage in joint marketing, without financial remuneration.
To view our liability release form click here. You will be asked to sign this form before you start your tour.