This 9 Day Cycle Inle Lake, Bagan & the Irrawaddy River includes bike, boat and train journey takeing you through the most picturesque parts of this country that has been shrouded in mystery for too long.
From the natural beauty of Inle Lake and the intrigue of the communities that inhabit it, to the scenic views of the Shan Hills, to the ancient ruins of Bagan and a different perspective from the waters of the Irrawaddy, this is a trip that takes in a diverse range of landscapes and includes some amazing riding. This tour is the ultimate way to immerse yourself in the culture, traditions, and cuisine of Myanmar and a unique opportunity to learn from natives why they remain hopeful for a peaceful and prosperous future. Experience the beauty of Myanmar by bike!
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Day 1: Welcome to Yangon
Welcome to Yangon. Meet your tour guide this afternoon in our lovely, centrally located hotel. The best way to understand this sprawling capital city is to avoid the traffic and set off on foot. There’s plenty to see, taste and experience in the area just adjacent to the hotel, and your guide will show you all this with a walking tour to get you acquainted with your surroundings and each other.
Day 2: Fly to Inle Lake, Introductory Ride
Riding: 20km cycling – We navigate Yangon’s legendary traffic heading out to the airport for our morning flight to Heho. It’s just over an hour by plane to the airport nearest Inle Lake and then a drive of around the same duration to reach Nyaung Shwe: the main town of the Inle area.
We stay on dry land rather than on the lake, to allow for more freedom of movement. In the afternoon we’ll start with a bike fitting before the warm-up ride around the Nyaung Shwe area to a mysterious local cave. From here, we’ll pedal to a beautiful sunset spot for a drink before settling into our hotel.
Day 3: Bike & Boat Inle Lake
Riding: 25km cycling – We’ll start our day with a ride around the area to learn about the local culture and farming habits of the people here, cycling around the eastern bank of Inle Lake before we hop on a boat. Once on the water, we’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the famous fishermen who stand on one leg as they row, as well as traditional silk weavers, and whole communities of stilt houses on the lake.
Everything from schools, shops, even the post office can be found out here, all within a short boat ride of each other. We will stop at some of the more interesting sites and visit the lake’s renowned cottage industries. Depending on the day, we may come across local small businesses such as tofu and rice cracker production, bread baking, or lotus-silk weaving. This is usually a full day and we can expect to return to town by around 4pm.
Day 4: Train & Bike the Shan Hills
Riding: 50km cycling – We’ll start the day with a scenic train ride up into the Western Shan Hills. Once we’ve had a look around, we’ll hop on our bikes and cycle back down through the hills to Inle Lake, enjoying sweeping views over the lake along the way. We’ll stop at the pagodas of Indein before once again taking to the water for a boat back to Nyaung Shwe. Tonight try the fresh produce of the Shan Hills in a family-run restaurant.
Day 5: Pindaya – Transfer & Cycle
Riding: 48km cycling – This morning we’ll take a transfer up the surrounding hills again before cycling around two hours to the town of Pindaya. Once we’ve reached the town, we’ll head to a small suburb of Pindaya that is covered in tea plantations for a fun activity. We’ll walk around this small village and learn to pick tea leaves and sort them before making a tea leaf salad: a unique traditional Burmese dish.
Day 6: Fly to Bagan – Sunset at Mt Popa
Today we’ll take a rest from the bikes with a one hour transfer to Heho and flight to Bagan. Bagan is an ancient Burmese city situated on the eastern banks of the Irrawaddy river and is a sight to behold. The stunning, arid plains host a high density of Buddhist pagodas and monuments that give Bagan an other-worldly feel, and make it one of the country’s main tourism drawcards.
We’ll spend the afternoon getting acquainted with this new setting before the opportunity to transfer to the pilgrimage site of Mt. Popa: a volcanic mountain that sits high above the Bagan plains and provides the optimal spot to watch the sunset over the mystical landscape below. It’s enough to give anyone goosebumps! We’ll spend the night in Bagan.
Day 7: Bike the Pagodas of Bagan, Sunset Cruise
Riding: 20km cycling – We’ll start off the day by pedaling through Bagan, with stops at some of its more significant Buddhist sites such as Shwezigon, Dhamagyangyi, and Ananda, all built between the 14th and 19th centuries. Enjoy a free afternoon to make use of the hotel’s pool or go for your own exploration before we board a boat that will take us out on the Irrawaddy for sunset. Snacks and drinks will be provided.
Day 8: Cycle & Irrawaddy Riverboat to Salay
Riding: 45km cycling – A traditional teak boat is our first vehicle of the day, and we’ll enjoy the morning light from the boat illuminating the pagodas of Bagan from the Irrawaddy. Soon we’ll hop on our bikes and head out on dirt tracks through farmland, then onto sandy roads into villages that are rarely visited by foreigners. We’ll pedal away from the flatlands, through fields and bamboo villages. The riverbank trail eventually leads us to our boat, waiting to continue the journey towards Salay.
We will disembark at the restored Colonial house that is our home for the night, where a delicious traditional lunch awaits. This small, quiet riverside town hides a surprising number of intriguing sights and luckily is still off the typical tourist’s map. Once elegant, now slightly dilapidated Colonial-period houses line the Strand Road on the riverbank, some still emblazoned with the rampant lion emblem of the British Royals. We will explore this interesting town by bike and foot in the afternoon, checking out the largest lacquerware Buddha image in Myanmar, which is said to have washed up from the river after heavy flooding in 1888.
Day 9: Return to Bagan, Tour Concludes
A morning walk of the town is a lovely way to spend your last few hours in rural Myanmar. The villagers will be out, trading produce at the market and selling the various breakfast snacks that you will likely be familiar with by now. All will be chatty and curious to have a rare visitor in town. Breakfast is a simple, but fulfilling meal and it’s then time to pack up and return to Bagan by vehicle. Your tour concludes on arrival Bagan. For those departing the country today, flights to Yangon or Mandalay for connection to international flights are frequent (and can be booked with us) and we can deliver you to the airport as required.
2020 Dates & Prices
2021 Dates & Prices
8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 dinners
Cannondale CX 3s Bikes
Air Ticket: Yangon / Heho / Bagan
An air-conditioned backup support vehicle is always available in case you want a break from riding, and to carry your luggage
8 nights accommodation
Local English Speaking Guide
Entrance Fees & Touring:
Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary
* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking. * Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.