Burma - Classic
Burma - Myanmar Cycling Holiday Essential Information
Getting there and away
Our cycling holiday starts in Rangoon (Yangon) on Sunday. We appreciate that people join redspokes tours from all over the world; no matter what time you arrive at the airport on the tour start date you and your luggage will be transferred to the joining hotel. Please bear in mind that if you arrive before midday you may have to wait for your room to be made available. If you decide to arrive early or stay on after the tour, redspokes can assist you in booking your accommodation and airport transfers at additional cost. Due to high demand for rooms there is a possibility you may be in a different hotel to the start / end hotel of your trip.
Visa and Passport
You must ensure that are in possession of a full passport with at least 6 months validity from date of your return. You will also need sufficient blank pages for your visa stamps. Visitors of all nationalities will require a visa. This can be obtained at any Myanmar Embassy or General consulate. Most Myanmar Embassies have a website where visa application forms can be downloaded.
If you would prefer to pay an agent to get your visa, we would suggest using Travcour (UK) Ltd. They have been in the visa business for 25 years & offer our customers a £5 discount on all visas purchased.
To obtain a visa to any of our destinations please click here
Insurance and vaccinations
It is a condition of joining our trips that you must be adequately insured. All persons are expected to arrange their own insurance. Polices should cover any potential risks involved in a mountain cycling holiday. We ask for copy of your policy to be sent in with your completed booking form.
Snowcard Insurance Services specialize in all mountain sports holidays including mountain biking. Their policies include emergency medical and repatriation expenses as well as mountain rescue. They are also able to insure personal belongings including equipment as well as travel cover for cancellation, delay and missed departure. Follow the link below to obtain full information and a quote: www.snowcard.co.uk.
Plan ahead for your vaccinations, some of them require more than one injection. There are no mandatory vaccination requirements for this trip. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. We recommend that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic as guidelines can change at short notice and we are not medically qualified to answer all your questions about travel health. We strongly advise you to contact a medical professional or a travel health clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information.
Cycling support and grading
There will be rest stops every 20-35 km depending on the terrain; you will have access to your luggage, and the opportunity to have drinks/snacks.
Not all countries of the world have the same transport facilities and regulations as those of the EU, North America and Australasia. In all destinations we ensure that transport meets the standard of local regulations; you must be prepared for this to be of a different standard than that you may be accustomed to.
You should be used to regular aerobic exercise including biking, although you do not need to be an athlete. It pays to spend some time before the trip getting into the best shape possible. This will ensure you get the most from your holiday. We can send you specific training tips on request.
Suitability for the Burma tour:
This trip is classified road and graded 6/10. Cycling up to 6-7 hours per day, on mainly tarmac roads with some long climbs and an average of around 800m ascent per day, with no altitude issues. You do not need to be a highly experienced cyclist but you do need to be in good physical shape, participating in a few cardiovascular work-outs per week. If you have any queries about the difficulty of the trip please do not hesitate to call us.
Average daily distance: 76km (47.5 miles)
No. of days cycling: 6
Vehicle support: 100%
Terrain: Our itinerary follows a mixture of back routes and a few main roads, Burma has noticeably less heavy traffic than other Asian countries. The terrain is mountainous and there are a few tough climbs and some long stretches of downhill cycling.
Equipment and bike stuff
The Burma tour is suitable for mountain bikes with front suspension or strong touring bikes. Our leaders carry a good tool kit and will help to fix any bike problems. However, we cannot guarantee to be equipped for all repairs, so you must ensure that your bike is in good working order before the tour. If you are not the most mechanically minded we suggest that you get your bike looked at by a professional bike mechanic. In particular we would suggest looking and adjusting all wheel spokes, greasing all your bearings, checking your brakes/gears cable, tighten all nuts and bolts, check chain, quick release clamps, tires and put in new inner tubes and check wheel rims are not worn. In addition to making sure the bike is well serviced you should ride with as much care and attention as possible.
We would also advise you to bring the following tools: multi-tool, tyre levers, pump, 2 spare inner tube, spare spokes of the correct length to fit your wheels - check with a bike shop, brake pads, a few spare links for your chain, if applicable, spares for any unique or high-tech items on your bike, e.g. fluid and bleed kit for hydraulic brakes.
If you bring your own bike it will be transported by road from Yangon on Day 2 of the tour to Inle ready for you on Day 3. At the end of the trip it will be returned from Bagan to Yangon on Day 9, reday for your journey back home.
For this tour we have Trek 4300 bikes in a range of sizes. They are mostly new for this season and all are well maintained bikes with Shimano components and suspension forks. Spare parts (tubes, tyre, chains etc.) are included in the price of the bike rental and will be carried in the support vehicle with a tool kit and track pump. . The bikes are equipped with flat pedals. Those who prefer to use spd or clip-in pedals, are welcome to bring these with you, along with your own cycling shoes and cleats. You are also welcome to bring your own saddle. The guide will carry some spares and tools for fixing punctures etc. but we suggest bringing a couple of spare inner tubes (26 x 1.75), a pump and a puncture repair kit. If you are able to do a simple repair yourself this will avoid the need to wait for assistance should the team or support vehicle be any distance away. Helmets are not included in the bike hire, you will need to bring your own helmet.
Baggage allowances and your bike
If you are bringing your own bike on this tour it must be carried as a part of your luggage allowance on your international flight and to this end we recommend that you to make every effort to keep your total check-in baggage to an absolute minimum. The baggage allowance for most airlines for an economy-class ticket is 20kg per person; although a degree of flexibility is usually extended to groups and the check in staff may accept up to 26kg per person without imposing excess baggage charges.
Your bike (in its cardboard box) will weigh 15 to 18kg. So, that means you will have a small allowance for clothing etc. You should carry small heavy items in your day pack / pannier which you can take onto the plane as hand luggage.
Your hand luggage is not included as a part of your overall allowance, as it is not weighed. Please inform your airline that you will be taking your bike on the flight, and attempt to make every effort to secure from the airline an additional baggage allowance - but this is not always granted. Although we cannot guarantee that there will not be excess baggage charges, this is something, which very rarely happens.
In terms of clothing this is a general guide as to what to take. It is entirely flexible and should be tailored to your specific needs: sunglasses, lightweight trekking boots/shoes, cycling footwear, lightweight socks (3 pairs), underwear (4 pairs), lightweight trekking shorts, padded cycling shorts (2 pairs), shorts, t-shirts (2), lightweight, long-sleeved shirt, fleece jacket/pullover, biking jacket , waterproof (breathable fabric), fingerless biking gloves, headlamp & spare bulbs/batteries, spare laces, sunglasses, toiletries, basic first aid kit, towel (small), small padlock, 2 large plastic bags (for keeping items dry in your bag), sun cream, lip balm. If you have any questions about this list please feel free to contact us.
What to take
A detailed list of what to bring will be provided on booking. First aid: on all our tours the guides carry a medical kit. However, you are advised to bring your own first aid supplies which should include: antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, a cold medication, diarrhoea treatment, pain killers, plasters, insect repellent and re-hydration salts.
What's included and what's not
Accommodation will be in hotels or guest houses. We choose accommodation on the basis of comfort rather than luxury. Our prices are based on sharing a twin room; single rooms are available at extra cost. Most of the food is provided on the tour, we provide most meals (see trip notes for details) along with snacks and mineral water during cycling days. All transportation and local guides within Burma are included. International flights are not included in the tour costs.
Spending money depends on your taste for souvenirs, drinks etc. We estimate that £200 will be more than enough to cover the tour. You can expect to pay around £3 - £10 for a 3 course meal in a restaurant. Tipping is an accepted part of everyday life, and although it is always at your discretion, you will be expected to tip to reward service. £30 for the guide and team at the end of the tour is recommended.
Myanmar has a fertile climate and growing conditions all year round. Rice is the staple food here, and Myanmar used to be the world's biggest rice exporter. Meat or fish, soup, salad and vegetables are all cooked in their own ways, with additional relishes.
It is customary for dishes to be are laid out on the table and served together so that diners can make their own choices and combinations. It is common for meat or fish to be cooked in oil, seasoned with pounded onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, chilli and spices, and then simmered. The most typical condiment is a relish made from preserved fish or prawn, served with chilli powder. Mohi nga, or rice noodle, served with fish soup is the favourite Myanmar dish mostly enjoyed at breakfast or on special occasions. Laphet or pickled tea leaves with a dash of oil and served with sesame seeds, fried garlic and roasted peanuts, is another popular snack typical of Myanmar.
Official name: Republic of the Union of Myanmar (previously Union of Myanmar; Union of Burma)
Population: 48.3 million (UN, 2011)
Capital: Nay Pyi Taw
Largest city: Rangoon (Yangon)
Area: 676,552 sq km (261,218 sq miles)
Major languages: Burmese, indigenous ethnic languages
Major religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Islam Hinduism and Animist.
80% of Myanmar are Theravada Buddhist.
Life expectancy: 64 years (men), 68 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 kyat = 100 pyas
Main exports: Teak, pulses and beans, prawns, fish, rice, opiates, oil and gas
GNI per capita: n/a
Internet domain: .mm
International dialling code: +95
The trip information here is given in good faith. Brochure information is correct at the time of publication but we reserve the right to make amendments to the brochure. Any changes will form part of your booking agreement with redspokes. Details may become outdated and inaccurate. Please refer to the trip notes and online itineraries for up to date information. A variety of factors such as unpredictable weather conditions, landslides and other disruptions may affect the itinerary. You must be prepared to be flexible and agree change arrangements where necessary.
Suggested Books and Maps:
Freedom from Fear - Aung San Suu Kyi
Burma: A nation at the crossroads - Benedict Rogers
Perfect Hostage - Justin Wintle
Burmese Days - George Orwell
Myanmar (Burma) Lonely PlanetMaps
Myanmar: Nelles Map - 1:1,500,000
Not perfect but the best we've found : Includes maps of Bagan and Yangon (Rangoon).