Burma cycling holiday

“Get under the skin of beautiful Burma on two wheels. Pedal the key sights – Inle Lake, Bagan temple complex and U-Bein Bridge – and quiet back roads, with flights to cover more ground, on this two-week guided tour.”

Highlights

Rangoon | Heho | Inle Lake | Nyaungshwe | Inthein pagodas | Intha minority group villages | Inpawkhone | Shan Highland | Pindaya | Ywar Ngan | Mandalay | Mingun | U-Bein Bridge | Myin Mu | Thanbodday temple | Monywa | Pakkoku | Irrwaddy River | Bagan | Mount Popa

Description of Burma cycling holiday

Any trip to Burma is a mind-expanding, photo-album-filling experience, but cycling around this extraordinary nation is truly unique. Get to know the small villages, warm people and extraordinary scenery of this country, which only recently emerged from international isolation.

Our route takes us to tranquil Inle Lake with its famous water-side markets, the striking countryside of the Shan Highlands and the central plains around Mandalay, with time spent cycling through the amazing temple complex at Bagan. The key sites are joined up by some fantastic rural cycling in more remote areas where tourists are still very much a novelty and villagers will be keen to greet you.

The trip involves 10 days cycling on roads that are mostly good, with just a few unsurfaced sections. You’ll occasionally also cycle along main roads, which have minimal traffic, but generally you’ll be pedaling along back roads. The longest day of cycling is a distance of 40 miles, the shortest is nine miles. Taking two internal flights allows you to see more of this fascinating country in just two weeks and the trip has 95% vehicle support to get you to the start of trails and bring you back again. Depending on the time of the year, conditions will be hot and humid, but rest breaks and water are always on the itinerary.

You won’t spend the entire trip in the saddle. Take a cruise on Inle Lake, visit a vineyard, explore Rangoon’s Bogyoke market, watch silk being woven or go to a boat-making workshop. There’s also an optional balloon ride over the 4,000 temples and pagodas at Bagan – a never-forgotten experience. As Kipling put it: ‘This is Burma and it is unlike any land you know.’

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

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14 Oct 2017
£ 2799
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31 Mar 2018
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06 Oct 2018
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17 Nov 2018
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24 Nov 2018
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08 Dec 2018
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15 Dec 2018
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29 Dec 2018
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05 Jan 2019
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19 Jan 2019
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09 Feb 2019
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23 Feb 2019
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18 Mar 2019
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05 Oct 2019
£ 2969
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09 Nov 2019
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16 Nov 2019
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23 Nov 2019
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07 Dec 2019
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14 Dec 2019
£ 3299
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28 Dec 2019
£ 3149
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Accepted
Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Burma cycling holiday

Environment

Activity:
Few holidays have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a cycling trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints (or tyre tracks!) although this tour actively encourages guests to talk to local people, visit local cafes and restaurants, use markets to purchase traditional gifts and crafts and get a real impression of Myanmar.

Water:
Water is a really important issue with cycling trips and, especially as Burma can reach temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees in the Spring months, it is vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. We provide treated water on cycling and walking trips for clients in minimum 10ltr containers and find that this not only reduces our waste but helps us keep the water cool. Guides are also aware of where to top these bottles up e.g. Bagan, Yar Kin Thar hotel.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Community

Community:
We are conscious of the economic welfare of local communities and take as much opportunity as possible to buy local crafts and produce (on at least 6 days of the tour). One of our clients’ favourite locations to do this is the famous floating market on Inle Lake where locals gather with their colourful boats to sell fresh produce and traditional wares. There is a five day cycle for the floating market that literally circles the lake; here people come to sell their traditional wares early in the morning and return to their village for the afternoon. Depending on its current location we will be able to visit it, but if not, there are plenty other places to support cottage industries along the way e.g. purchasing silk products from Inpawkhone village, woven from the stem of the lotus flower.

Act Local:
On this trip we ensure all hotels used are non-regime and we spend each evening in a small restaurant. The advantage of paying locally for a meal is that you ensure the money goes directly to those who are working hard to make our visits welcome. We use local leaders who receive regular training on responsible tourism issues so they can help preserve the way of life in their area. By using local leaders, we also hope they educate their own communities to help them maximise from our visit.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

1 Reviews of Burma cycling holiday

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 03 Aug 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The best part for me was the rides around Inle Lake; really peaceful and interesting riding and the lake a source of life for so much. Great bikes and great group all added to the experience.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Go with the flow; if you choose Monsoon season be prepared to get very very wet; that said it was part of the experience and part of life in Myanmar so it didn't really detract. Just take quick dry clothes and several pairs of shoes/rubber ones help.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes - very little carbon emissions but I do wish hotels would adopt the no change sheets and towels policy. Only a few were up to world standards on this.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Great; for my first ride it was probably a few days too long as the last days had no riding which was kind of boring after such a great trip.

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