Riding into the mountains in Burma (officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar). Photo by Tim Manning

The Buddhist Shwedagon Pagoda is considered the most sacred in Myanmar. It sits on Singuttara Hill, Yangon. Photo by Tim Manning

Burma Adventure

Burma Bike Tours

Explore central Burma by mountain bike

This is a cycling adventure for those seeking a unique experience. Burma (Myanmar) was described by Rudyard Kipling as "unlike any land you know about." This tour is not just about the bike. Once a forbidden land, Burma still remains sheltered from the outside world. Exotic and mysterious, Myanmar will hold you in in its spell.

On this journey we explore central Burma, traveling from the Shan Plateau down to the plains and the banks of the Irrawaddy River, sharing the road with ox carts, waving children, and other cyclists.

From the Shan lands, home to a multitude of tribal people, cooler weather will be enjoyed and the colonial charm of Kalaw. A daylong excursion on Inle Lake is a highlight, as well as the caves of Pindaya, where thousands of Buddha statues are housed.

You will spend three nights in Kipling's Mandalay, where, as he memorialized, the "dawn comes up like thunder." There is ample opportunity to cycle through the historic surroundings. One morning is spent amongst the pagodas, stupas, and temples dominating a river valley that once formed the center of a great and deeply religious empire. The tour ends in Yangon with time for some shopping at the local market.

Highlights of this exotic adventure include:

  • Inle Lake
  • Pindaya
  • U Bien Bridge
  • Exotic Mandalay
  • Temples of Bagan

**A visa is required for all visitors to Myanmar.

Skill Level

This is a fully supported, guided tour, designed for reasonably fit people who are confident and comfortable on their bikes. There are longer cycling days mainly on tarmac, sometimes trails or roads with broken tarmac, but no real off road cycling. You will encounter some hills and descents. Distances of between 50-80 kms/ 30-50 miles per day. This tour is undertaken on mountain bikes.

Where You’ll Stay

You will experience a wide range of accommodations so you have a broad cultural experience from standard is 3-4 star hotels to guest houses.

What’s Included

  • All accommodations
  • All meals except for lunch and dinner on rest day
  • English speaking tour guide (two guides if group is larger than 8)
  • Support vehicle
  • 24 to 27 speed Trek mountain bike
  • Fruit, healthy snacks, water and electrolyte drinks during the rides
  • SpiceRoads drawstring bag, a water-bottle and a SpiceRoads bike jersey.

What’s Not Included

  • Transfers to and from airport (can be arranged)
  • Lunch and dinner on Day 8
Length14 days
From$4100 Rates
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Tour Dates

January 17, February 14, March 13, May 15, July 17, August 14, September 18, October 16, November 13, and December 18, 2016

*minimum number of participants: 2
*maximum number of participants: 16

Special tour dates on request.

Day-To-Day Itinerary

Burma Adventure Map

Day 1: Yangon
Day 2: Yangon-Heho-Kalaw, 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 3: Kalaw - Inle Lake, 44 mi. (70 km)
Day 4: Inle Lake, 16 mi. (25 km)
Day 5: Inle Lake - Pindaya, 38 mi. (60 km)
Day 6: Pindaya - Mandalay, 62 mi. (100 km)
Day 7: Mandalay - Sagaing - Mingun - Mandalay, 31 mi. (50 km)
Day 8: Mandalay Monasteries
Day 9: Mandalay - Pyinsi - Mt. Popa,  50 mi. (80 km)
Day 10: Mt Popa, rest day
Day 11: Mt Popa - Bagan, 47 mi. (75 km)
Day 12: Bagan Temples
Day 13: Bagan - Yangon
​Day 14: Yangon

*In remote destinations abnormal conditions can prevail at any time and subject to unexpected change.  Last minute changes to the itinerary or in accommodations may be necessary.

Day 1: Yangon
Travellers will meet at the hotel at 2 pm for a visit to Shwedagon Paya, Burma's holiest religious site, followed by a welcome dinner. (D)

Day 2: Yangon-Heho-Kalaw, 25 mi. (40 km)
Early morning flight to Heho, followed by a short transfer to the hotel in the former hill station of Kalaw. This cool, peaceful town amidst pine trees still retains its colonial feel.  An afternoon ride where you can become accustomed to the bike is scheduled through the countryside of Kalaw.  +548 m/ - 534 m (B, L, D)

Day 3: Kalaw - Inle Lake, 44 mi. (70 km)
Today's ride, on paved and dirt roads, through the Burmese countryside,  will long be remembered. Though may kilometers are covered, the last section has two sweeping downhills leading directly to the shores of Inle Lake, one of Asia's most beautiful inland waters. The day ends in Nyaung Shwe, north of the lake.  +992 m/ -1,385 m (B, L, D)

Day 4: Inle Lake, 16 mi. (25 km)
On water and on land, the day is spent exploring the lake. The day begins with 20 km lakeshore ride, through villages and past temples. Lunch will be enjoyed lakeside and then by boat, the exploration continues with a cruise to Indein temples, floating gardens and monasteries. You will see the Intha fishermen, standing at the stern of their flat bottom boats, rowing with their one leg, as they fish for their livelihood. In the evening, a visit at dusk to a vineyard is on the agenda. +265 m/ -263 m (B, L, D)

Day 5: Inle Lake - Pindaya, 38 mi. (60 km)
Destination today is Pendaya and the limestone caves that house thousands of Buddhas. To arrive, there are some climbs to contend with, one a major 10 km climb with a gentle gradient. The Shan State covers almost a quarter of Burma and is home to many different ethnic groups. +834 m/ -540 m (B, L, D)

Day 6: Pindaya - Mandalay, 62 mi. (100 km)
An hour transfer will bring you to the start of the  ride to Mandalay. Initially the ride will be undulating through a patchwork of fields, followed by 30 km descent, passing through many villages, greeted by the waving local children. At the bottom of the hill, the support vehicle awaits for a short transfer into the city of Mandalay. +1,064 m/ -1,143 m (B, L, D)

Day 7: Mandalay - Sagaing - Mingun - Mandalay, 31 mi. (50 km)
Leaving the city, the group cycles to the famous U Bien bridge, the longest teak bridge in Asia, and then onward to the towns of Sagaing and Mingun on the opposite side of the Irrawaddy River. Sagaing is an important religious and monastic center. Mingun is on the agenda as well with the ruins of the Pahtodawgyi. The history of the ruins  and the massive Mingun bell is quite fascinating. Lunch will feature local specialties, followed by a relaxing boat ride downstream. +507 m/ -498 m (B, L, D)

Day 8: Mandalay Monasteries, 16 mi. (25 km)
In the morning,  the group explores Mandalay by bike, starting with a ride to the sprawling Zegyo market, crammed with stalls and shops selling everything from food to clothing to jewelry. There will be time to explore this labyrinth before the cycling continues to see artisans weaving bamboo into large sheets to be used as roofs and walls or a crispy tofu maker. A visit to Shwenandaw Monastery, aptly named “golden palace,” is on the agenda to see this wonderfully fragile, yet grand example of 19th century Burmese teak architecture, heavily gilded with gold and adorned with glass mosaic work and impressive carvings of Buddhist myths. The route back to Mandalay heads a different way, stopping for tea and to taste some local snacks. The afternoon and evening is free to give you the chance to explore Mandalay on your own. +81 m/ -81 m (B, L)

Day 9:  Mandalay - Pyinsi - Mt. Popa,  50 mi. (80 km)​
There is an early start today with a ride from the hotel along the banks of the Irrawaddy River. There is a short ferry ride on the agenda and then cycling by the capital of the ancient Ava Kingdon. Here there are remnants of the city wall that protected the city that ruled upper Burma for nearly two centuries form 1364 to 1555. We continue our ride through fields of millet, seasme, cotton, and many varieties of peas and beans to the town of Pyinsi. From here, there is a transfer to Mt. Popa.  +274 m/ -196 m (B, L, D)

Day 10:  Mt Popa
Our first complete day of rest does not mean that you will not be active! After breakfast, you will climb the almost 900 stairs to the top of Popa Taung Kalat, a temple that is populated by Burma’s most revered Nats (spirits). As you walk up you will pass dozens of nat shrines and see pilgrims who come to honour them. From the top you will have a panorama of the surrounding plains. The views are excellent and photographers will get some great shots. The rest of the day you are free to relax by the hotel's infinity pool overlooking the temple, or for those more adventurous there are hiking trails in the national park. (B, L, D)

Day 11: Mt Popa - Bagan, 47 mi. (75 km)
The cycling itinerary begins with a lovely descent from the hilltops, snaming down the mountain, riding through small villages and palm gardens. You will see farmers in the fields, plowing with wooden plows and meandering water buffalo. Bagan is the destination, dotted with thousands of temples along the banks of the Irrawaddy River. +370 m/ -1,116 m (B, L, D)

Day 12: Bagan temples, 19 mi. (30 km)
The bike is the perfect way to explore the ancient temples of Bagan that spread across the enormous plain, numbering over 2000. It is one of the most breathtaking sights in the world. 
As the day warms up, you can enjoy 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. You will long remember the views across the plains studded with chedis or stupas.  +119 m/ -120 m (B, L, D)

Day 13: Bagan - Yangon
In the morning, there is a transfer provided back to the airport and then a flight to Yangon. You can view from the air some of the terrain that you have covered by bike. You will arrive in time to take a trishaw ride in downtown Yangon. Farewell dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 14: Yangon
Enjoy your free morning for shopping and exploring before heading to the airport for return flight home or perhaps you are extending your stay? (B)

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