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Cycling tour of Burma

Former Operations Manager, Jim Davies, visited Burma to try out our cultural cycling tour of this fascinating and welcoming country.

With its quiet roads, gentle countryside and engaging sights, Burma is the ideal destination to explore on two wheels. Suitable for leisure cyclists, there’s no need for any mountain bike skills, just a moderate level of fitness to enjoy the 5-6 hours of easy-paced cycling each day.

Starting on foot in the capital Yangon there is a visit Shwedagon Pagoda – the elaborate, golden temple that is one of Burma’s most iconic and spectacular sights. The cycling begins after a short flight to Bagan - home to the incredible archaeological site comprising over 2,000 different temples from small stupas to giant monolithic structures. Covering approximately 16 square miles, a bicycle is one of the best means to travel around the site to reach some of the lesser-visited temples. There is also the option of a balloon flight at sunrise for stunning aerial views of the vast area.

Inle Lake is the next destination. Here, easy lakeside paths can be travelled by foot or bike whilst the floating market, stilt houses and famed leg rowers can be enjoyed on a boat ride across the tranquil waters. This stage of the holiday ends with either a 50 mile bike ride or train journey to reach the hill station of Kalaw surrounded by rolling hills, paddy fields and hidden villages – a cyclist’s delight.

Stage two of the holiday is based in Mandalay from where there are bike rides beside the banks of the Irrawaddy river, along country lanes and through villages where smiling children and inquisitive locals will happily welcome you. As Jim describes on the video, his cycling group were readily shown round small village factories specialising in the traditional skills of weaving and brick making and given a real insight into the authentic lives of the Burmese people. In Jim’s experience, cycling definitely provides a different and more rewarding perspective for the curious traveller.

The holiday continues with a short boat ride along the Irrawaddy river to visit Mingun where a monumental cracked stupa and a giant un-cracked bell are the key sights. From Mingun, a ride through gently undulating hills, dotted with temples, takes you to the ancient kingdom of Sagaing before returning to Mandalay.

The final stage of this superb cycling holiday begins in Pyin Oo Lwin - an historic hill station also known as the ‘city of flowers’ due to its colourful floral displays. The town provides an interesting combination of colonial homes and colourful Chinese temples built by immigrants. A thrilling train ride across the impressive Gokteik Viaduct, spanning a 102m deep gorge, takes you finally to the Shan Plateau, far from the tourist hotspots. Cycling along remote farm tracks and through isolated villages will give a real sense of traditional rural life and culture in Burma and leave you with a view of the country few other visitors will ever see.

To download a detailed itinerary, view departure dates and prices or to book places visit Cultural Cycling Tour of Burma (Myanmar).

Music 'River Meditation' by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license ( Artist:

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