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Myanmar (Burma) - Inle Lake

Burma - Mountains, Beaches & Stupas Cycling Holiday

Mountains, Beaches & Stupas

Day 1: Arrive Yangon

redspokes Mountains, Beaches and Stupas, Myanmar tour begins in Yangon. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. For those who arrive early in the day there will be a city walking tour of Yangon, Burma's largest city and the former capital. The tour will begin at 1pm. Later this afternoon you will be taken to see the sunset at the Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the most spectacular religious monuments in South East Asia and the oldest Buddhist stupa in the world. The pagoda's imposing form dominates the city skyline. This evening, there will be a group meeting with the redspokes guide.

Accommodation: Hotel (D)

Day 2: Yangon - Nyaung Shwe

We board a morning flight to Heho then transfer by vehicle from the airport to Nyaung Shwe. Located on the banks of Inle Lake, Nyaung Shwe is the trading hub for villagers living around the lake and in the Shan mountains. Local hill tribes include the Intha and Pao people. Street traders here sell cigars, local crafts and food. The Intha fishermen are renowned for their distinctive leg-rowing technique. This afternoon you can take a boat trip across the water, seeing floating gardens, pagodas and the main produce market.

Accommodation: Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 3: Nyaung Shwe - Pindaya

Today we begin cycling on sealed roads and soon begin a sustained 6-7km climb. After 27km we turn off onto a secluded unsurfaced road that takes us to the lakeside town Pindaya. Most famous for the caves that house thousands of Buddha statues, Pindaya is also where traditional Shan paper umbrellas are manufactured. This is a very picturesque and relaxing ride and most of the route apart from a stretch of 7km is surfaced. You can expect to get into Pindaya a little after lunch. It's a beautiful place to stay and you have the opportunity to visit the Pindaya Caves. Although they are one of the town's main attractions, we will see few tourists as Pindaya is visited mainly by Burmese pilgrims. The many images of Buddha are made of white marble, bronze or plaster, coated with gold leaf. Many legends are told about the caves including a tale of seven princesses bathing in a lake who were captured by a giant spider and trapped in the cave only to be rescued by Prince Kummabhaya of Yawnghwe.

Cycling Distance: 62km (38.5 miles)
Cycling Climb: 733m (2,404ft)
Cycling Descent: 479m (1,571ft)
Accommodation: Guest House (B,L,D)  

Day 4: Pindaya - Ywar Ngan

We continue cycling on the tour today towards Mandalay, first on quiet back roads, then on the main road which is main only by name, not by nature. We will encounter very little traffic here due to the surface being unsuitable for large vehicles who take an alternative route. The cycling terrain is fairly up and down, with nothing too challenging in the way of climbs.

Cycling Distance: 76km (47 miles)
Cycling Climb: 1,097m (3,599ft)
Cycling Descent: 958m (3,143ft)
Accommodation: Guest House (B,L,D)

Day 5: Ywar Ngan - Kyaukse

We cycle on to Kyaukse through forested areas with rice fields, banana and coconut trees. Our route includes over 500m of uphill cycling but also a mighty 1,737m downhill. As we reach the 43km mark leaving the mountains behind our descent ends and we really begin to feel the heat. Kyaukse is a small peaceful town 25 miles (40 km) south of Mandalay located on the Zawgyi River, although it is in Burma's dry zone. The Kyaukse area is known for its turmeric, mango and onions. You can walk out to visit the town pagoda and enjoy a lovely view of the area.

Cycling Distance: 79.8km (50 miles)
Cycling Climb:  1,689m (5,541ft)
Cycling Descent: 506m (1,660ft) 
Accommodation: Hotel (B,L,D

Day 6: Kyaukse to Myingyan

Leaving Kyaukse behind we head for Myingyan, cycling on through remote Burma. There is a 20km stretch along busy road. You can take the support vehicle to avoid cycling this stretch of the route if you prefer. Along the way, we pass through many villages and have unparalleled opportunities to observe traditional lifestyles of the rural Burmese. We can stop to meet friendly locals. Farmers here grow crops such as peanuts, sesame and peas, there are many toddy palm trees. The route is flat, but we will need stamina to contend with the heat. Myingyan lies in the valley of the Ayeyarwady River, to the south of Mandalay, on the east bank of the river.

Cycling Distance: 105km (65 miles)
Cycling Climb 505m (1,656ft)
Cycling Descent: 525m (1,722ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 7: Myingyan - Mount Popa

Today our cycling tour continues through the rural landscape, we ride past fields of millet, sesame, cotton, maize, rice and a great variety of peas and beans. We head south east enjoying the landscapes of Burma’s dry zone; the first part of the route is fairly flat with a few gently undulating slopes. We will see Mount Popa in the distance, an imposing extinct volcano. 

Cycling Distance: 81km (50 miles)
Cycling Climb: 960m (3,150ft)

Cycling Descent: 430m (1,410ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 8 : Mount Popa to Bagan

We start the day cycling to Mount Popa, a 1518 metre-high volcanic mountain with stunning views of the surrounding area. Popa Taungkalat monastery is perched on the top of the volcano and reputedly home to 37 Mahagrini Nats (spirits). At the foot of the mountain you will find a shrine to the spirits. A climb of 777 steps to the top of Popa is well worth the effort for the awe inspiring panoramic views. As we ascend we will pass pilgrims, souvenir shops and Mt Popa monkeys. Back on the bikes we cycle on to Bagan.

We pass through villages where the locals produce a range of products using the juices of the Toddy palm trees, including sweet molasses and wine. As we cycle by we see the farmers in action as they climb the trees to collect the juice. Traditional farming methods are practiced here and oxen are still used to help grind corn and rice. We approach Bagan on the banks of the Ayeyarwady River with temples dotted all along the waterfront.

Cycle Distance: 53km (33 miles)
Cycling Climb: 119m (390ft)
Cycling Descent: 631m (2,070ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B)

Day 9: Bagan Rest Day

We begin with an early morning guided ride (on local bikes) to visit the local Pagodas before the heat of the day sets in. You are free this afternoon to enjoy the sights. There are options to visit Nyaung Oo Market, and the Shwezigon Pagoda which many of Burma's later stupas were modelled on. You can join an organised tour of some of the major temples in the Bagan area or just relax by the pool in the hotel. This evening you will enjoy the sunset over Bagan's imposing ancient monuments.

Accommodation: Hotel (B)

Day 10: Bagan to Ngapali Beach

Today we take a flight south to the beautiful Ngapali Beach which is a short distance from Thandwe in Rakhine State. Ngapali beach is Burma's most popular and well known coastal resort. As you relax here with the deep blue waters of the Bengal Sea, white sands and beautiful palm trees you really will feel you've arrived in paradise. This evening we can watch a beautiful sunset whilst sipping a cocktail on the sands before dinner. There is a wonderful variety of local fresh fish and seafood of offer in the restaurants.

Accommodation: Guest House (B)

Day 11: Ngapali Beach Local area

Ngapali's remote tranquil surroundings offer a variety of activities. Today you have options to take a boat trip to do some fishing or snorkelling. Alternatively, you can stroll around the surrounding villages, visiting traditional markets or hire a local bike and ride along the entire stretch of sand, experiencing traditional life alongside ox-drawn carts.  Returning to the beach this evening there's time for a sunset stroll along the sands.

Accommodation: Guest House (B)

Day 12: Ngapali - local area

More time to enjoy your relaxed surroundings. There is the option to join a day trip to one of the nearby fishing villages and learn about traditional life for the local fisherman. After lunch you can relax and enjoy a beautiful unspoiled beach with more options for swimming snorkelling or kayaking before returning to Ngapali. If you prefer to stay in the local area you can walk to the far end of the bay to a large hilltop Buddha, the final stretch to the hill top is steep and rocky but you will be rewarded with panoramic views.

Accommodation: Guest House (B)

Day 13: Ngapali - Yangon

We will take a flight back to Yangon this morning. This afternoon we have time for a walking tour of Little India and Chinatown.

Accommodation: Hotel (B, D)

Day 14: Yangon

The tour ends today. You will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.

Meals: B

If you need assistance or wish to discuss the tour, please feel free to call us on +44 (0) 1463 417707.

Alternatively, you can email us on office@redspokes.co.uk for more information on this adventure holiday.