|Type of tour:||Guided|
|Distance:||35 Miles/day average|
|Dates:||Oct 19*, and Nov 16*, Dec 21*, 2014. Jan 18*, Feb 15, Mar 15, May 17, Jul 19, Aug 16, Sep 20, Oct 18, Nov 15, Dec 20, 2015. (minimum 2 participants)*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 Shan Plateau down to the plains and the banks of the Irrawaddy River. All along we will be greeted by warm, friendly people few tourists get to meet. From the Shan lands, home to a multitude of tribal people, we enjoy cooler weather and 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 their boats using one leg. The caves of Pindaya, where there are thousands of Buddha statues, are our next stop before heading down to the lowlands to explore Kipling's Mandalay. This diverse city is our base for three nights as we cycle through the historic and picturesque surroundings.
We cycle on by the former capital of an ancient kingdom before heading up to the magnificent heights of Mt. Popa and the famous shrine perched high above. A downhill ride takes us to the ancient city of Bagan where we spend the morning cycling amongst the pagodas, stupas, and temples dominating a river valley that once formed the centre of a great and deeply religious empire. Our tour ends in Yangon with time for some shopping at the local market.
Participants must be at least 18 years old to cycle this tour.
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. Meals included: breakfast.
Overnight in Yangon.
Day 2: Yangon – Heho – Kalaw (25 miles/40 km)
We have an early morning flight to Heho and then a short transfer to our hotel in the former hill station of Kalaw. This cool, peaceful town amidst pine trees still retains its colonial feel. After lunch we'll prepare for an afternoon ride through the countryside of Kalaw. This off road ride will be a perfect introduction to your bike and give you a chance to warm up your cycling legs. There will be some uphills but we will be cycling through some stunning countryside making the effort worthwhile. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Overnight in Kalaw.
Day 3: Kalaw – Inle Lake (43 miles/70 km)
Today we have a fabulous ride down off the plateau to the famous Inle Lake. Though we cover many kilometres, the last section has two sweeping downhills, which take us directly to the shores of Inle. We will be on both paved and dirt roads, taking us through the Burmese countryside. We ride alongside one of Asia’s most beautiful inland waters to Nyaung Shwe, located north of the lake. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Overnight on Inle Lake.
Day 4: Inle Lake (16 miles/25 km)
We'll spend the day exploring Inle Lake, from the shore and on the lake. In the morning we'll start with a 20 km ride on the shores of the lake, riding through villages and past temples. After a lakeside lunch we'll board a boat and cruise to Indein temples, floating gardens, monasteries and the Intha fishermen, who famously manage to row their boats with one leg. In the evening we'll have a treat and visit a vineyard for sunset and dinner. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Overnight on Inle Lake.
Day 5: Inle Lake – Pindaya (37 miles/60 km)
Today we leave lovely Inle and head back up to the Shan Plateau. Shan State covers almost a quarter of Myanmar is home to several different ethnic groups. Again we will be cycling on both dirt and paved roads, and though overall we will be climbing, there will be some downhills. There is one major 10 km-long climb today but the gradient is gentle. Our destination is Pindaya, home to limestone caves that house thousands of Buddhas. We'll have a visit to the caves before dinner. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Overnight in Pindaya.
Day 6: Pindaya – Mandalay (62 miles/100 km)
An hour transfer will bring us to the start of our ride down to Burma's second city, Mandalay. Initially the ride will be undulating through a patchwork of fields before we start a 30 km descent. We'll be passing many villages on the way where you'll be greeted by “hellos” from the children. When we reach the bottom of a hill we'll hop back into the support vehicles for a short transfer to Mandalay. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 7: Mandalay – Sagaing – Mingun – Mandalay (31 miles/50 km)
We head out of the city of Mandalay behind to explore the towns of Sagaing and Mingun on the opposite side of the Irrawaddy River. We cycle first to the famous U Bien bridge, the longest teak bridge in Asia, where we'll have some excellent photo opportunities. We then ride along the river past Sagaing, an important religious and monastic centre and subsequently home to numerous monasteries and stupas.
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. After a lunch of local specialties we'll have an easy return via boat. Relax and watch life go by as the river takes us downstream to Mandalay. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 8: Mandalay (rest day)
Today you are free to explore on your own. Head to Zegyo Market and shop at the bazaar or head to MandalayHill for sunset. Meals included: breakfast.
Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 9: Mandalay – Myingyan (50 miles/80 km)
We start early and ride from the hotel along the banks of the Irrawaddy River. Following pretty back roads we take a very small and short ferry so we can ride by the capital of the ancient Ava Kingdom. Here we'll see remnants of a city wall that protected the city that ruled upper Burma for nearly two centuries, from 1364 to 1555.
We continue our ride through fields of millet, sesame, cotton and many varieties of peas and beans to the town of Pyinsi. Here we pack up the bikes and transfer to Myingyan, our overnight stop. For those interested we can peak into a cheroot factory to see how these traditional cigars are made. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Overnight in Myingyan.
Day 10: Myingyan – Mt. Popa (50 miles/80 km)
Today we leave the flats for a climb up to another plateau, this one is topped by a unique temple. 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. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Overnight on Mt. Popa.
Day 11: Mt. Popa - Bagan (46 miles/75 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. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Overnight in Bagan.
Day 12: Bagan Temples (19 miles/30 km)
Bicycles are the perfect way to explore the temples of Bagan; we take a morning cycle around the Archaeological Zone stopping to see a variety of temples. When it starts to get hot we'll return to the hotel for a relaxing afternoon by the pool. Enjoy sunset over the river or take your bike to catch the setting sun from the top of a temple. The views across the plains studded with chedis will be a lasting memory. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Overnight in Bagan.
Day 13: Bagan Temples – Yangon
In the morning we transfer to the 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. In the evening we'll meet up for a farewell dinner. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Overnight in Yangon.
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. Meals included: breakfast.
Oct 19*, and Nov 16*, Dec 21*, 2014. Jan 18*, Feb 15, Mar 15, May 17, Jul 19, Aug 16, Sep 20, Oct 18, Nov 15, Dec 20, 2015. (minimum 2 participants)*Guaranteed to depart.
|Please note that the deposit for this tour is $500 per person.|
We recommend that you tuck away a few extra dollars, perhaps US$20 a day for incidentals. It is customary to tip local tour guides and drivers, however, the amount you give should be dependent on the level of service you receive. As a general guide we suggest US$ 3-4 per person per day is appropriate.
Please note that for your safety you are required to take out travel insurance that will cover you for a biking tour.
These are sample hotels and may vary by availability.
Day 1: Clover Hotel, Yangon
Day 2: Pine Hill Hotel, Kalaw
Days 3 and 4: Manaw Thu Kha, Inle Lake
Day 5: Pindaya Inle Inn, Pindaya
Days 6-8: Ayarwaddy River View Hotel, Mandalay
Day 9: KaungKaung Guesthouse, Myingyan
Day 10: Popa Mountain Resort, Mt. Popa
Days 11 and 12: Bagan Hotel, Bagan
Bikes available to rent on this tour (must be reserved in advance at time of booking) include:
The bikes will have FLAT pedals. If you want to bring your own pedals, please bring your own shoes and the necessary equipment to change the pedals.
If you plan to bring your own seat, please make sure it will be compatible with a universal seat post.
Helmets are NOT included with the bike rentals. For safety and hygiene purposes, we recommend that you bring your own helmet.
*You may bring your own bike if you wish. If you do, please make sure it is a mountain bike, preferably with front suspension, and that it is in good mechanical order.
This is a touring trip using mountain bikes and we cycle 379 miles/610 km on country lanes and quiet roads. Though 80% of our riding will be on tarmac, the road can be in poor condition in spots. We take some dirt roads, but these are not technical, they are just to take you off the beaten track.
The first few days of riding are up and down the Shan plateau, but the gradient is very gentle. We will pass through many villages and 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 are flat rides or on gentle rolling hills and cut through rice fields, ancient cities and scenic countryside. 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.
Although this tour covers around 610 kilometres in 8 full cycling days and 1 half day, it is still quite demanding. This trip has a variety of roads, some in quite good condition to broken tarmac roads, to vehicle wide dirt trails. There is no technical riding on this trip, but there are some long days.
This trip is a touring bike journey and suitable for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. There are some long rides, and one or two tough climbs; participants who cycle the whole distance should expect a fairly challenging two weeks. But with the excellent support, inexperienced riders and even non-riding partners can be catered for and are more than welcome to join this tour.
Participants must be at least 18 years old to cycle 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 as specified in the daily program. Please contact us for advice before arranging flights for the best arrival and departure times.
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.
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.
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.