At Asia Senses Travel we’re adventurers at heart. Our journeys are all about discovering new places and cultures while creating unforgettable memories through physical activity and breathtaking scenery.
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Join our Burma Family Cycling Explorer on fully escorted Myanmar Cycling tour to the most iconic destinations. Start from Mandalay, discover the iconic U Bein Bridge, traditional craft workshops, ancient pagodas and much more while taking this cycling journey through Mingun, Ava, and Amarapura. Afterwards, embark on a river cruise, boat along the Irrawaddy to experience life in Yandabo pottery village. Then continue ride to Bagan, the greatest archeological treasure of Myanmar with over 2000 pagodas and temples ruins located on the plains of Bagan by the Irrawaddy River. Cycle through temples, local villages, and the beautiful countryside, and wind down with traditional horse cart rides and sunset cruises. Our cycling journey reaches its most challenging point at extinct volcano and spirit-worshipping center Mount Popa. Then take a ride through Kalaw, visit the fantastic Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp. The ride continues east towards Nyaung Shwe, with an exploration through the Myanmar countryside; sample local vineyard products, visit markets, floating gardens and cultural highlights on the lake and the surrounding area. Enjoy some combination cycling and kayaking in this majestic locale before returning back to Yangon where our two-week adventure concludes.
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Day 01: Mandalay Arrival
Upon arrival in Mandalay International Airport, you will be welcomed by our Asia Senses guide, then transferred to your hotel for check in. Depend on your actual arrival time, some soft sightseeing for an orientation tour is suggested.
After a short break at your hotel, we will take a visit to craft shops includes marble masonry, jade and gold-leaf workshop. As is former capital of Myanmar, Mandalay is the centre of skilled craftsmanship. In the past, all skillful craftsman gathered in Mandalay, produced and supplied good to Royal Courts. In this exploration, you would observe excellent quality Buddha images, the process of making the 0.00005 inch thick pieces of gold and watch gems being cut and polished.
Then, we continue to visit Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung (or Golden Palace Monastery) to marvel at its carvings, particularly the interior gilded Jataka scenes (past-life stories of the Buddha) and Kuthodaw Pagoda (also known as the world’s largest book), named after the 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings. In late afternoon, we climb up covered stairways to the top of 240 meters high Mandalay Hill and enjoy a spectacular sunset with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, Irrawaddy River, and city centre.
Enjoy a welcome dinner at local restaurant. Overnight in Mandalay hotel.
Day 02 - Mandalay - Mingun - Sagaing - Ava - Amarapura (Cycling)
After breakfast, we depart for an excursion to explore Mingun, Sagaing, Ava and Amarapura.
First, you will be transferred to pier to catch a boat and transfer to the other side of Irrawaddy river. Then it’s time to unload the bikes and start cycling to the main sites of Mingun, a town in Sagaing Region. Mingun will offers some great sites such as the elegant Hsinbyume Pagoda and incomplete monument stupa of Mingun Pahtodawgyi. We also visit the Mingun Bell which is stored at Pahtodawgyi pagoda. The weight of the bell in Burmese measurement, is 55,555 viss (90,718 kilograms or 199,999 pounds), handed down as a mnemonic "Min Hpyu Hman Hman Pyaw", with the consonants.
We continue biking to Sagaing. On arrival, we will visit Sagaing Hill where you can observe white and gold pagodas along the Irrawaddy River from top of hill. This hill has numerous pagodas, monasteries and meditation centers known as a peaceful place for Buddhist studies. It is a place one can enjoy the magnificent views over Sagaing Myanma. Then visit a Soon Oo Ponya Shin Pagoda, U Min Thonze Caves which are located on the top of the Sagaing Hill.
Stop for lunch at a local restaurant before riding on to Ava, an ancient city near Mandalay. It's well-known for religious structures left over from several reigns as the nation's capital, from the 14th to the 19th centuries. We will take a short ferry ride to cross the river. Your excursion to Ava can be made with a horse cart. We visit to Ava’s Leaning Tower called “Nan Myint”, Maha Aungmyae Bonzan monastery, located inside of Innwa Palace & it's one of remaining buildings from Innwa Dynasty and Bagayar monastery famous for its traditional architecture, with soaring tiered roofs and heavy teak doors carved in high relief of celestial figures bearing lotus buds. There are many small villages located amid Ava’s ruins and, while travelling by horse and cart, get great glimpses of local life in the Burmese countryside.
Afterwards, ride towards Amarapura, a former capital of Myanmar, and now a township of Mandalay. On the way, we will visit handmade silk-weaving workshop which produces exquisite handmade products. Then continue to visit U Bein Bridge. The bridge was built around 1850s and is believed to be the oldest and longest teak wood bridge in the world. This beautiful 1.2 kilometre long was constructed of 984 teak woods. Enjoy a stroll along the bridge and the fabulous views of Taungthaman Lake and the surrounding countryside.
Return to Mandalay late this afternoon and have dinner at local restaurant. Overnight at hotel in Mandalay.
Mandalay City Hotel
Day 3 - Mandalay - Yandabo village (Boat)
This morning, you will be transferred to the pier and board a four-hour cruise down the Irrawaddy River to Yandabo pottery village. It is famous for an Anglo- Myanmar peace treaty that was signed in 1826. It is also a well-known place for its pottery.
Check in your hotel and take a short break. After lunch, take an exploration to Yandabo village, stroll through traditional Burmese house and observe locals’ way of life. Learn how the villagers make their famous terracotta pots from the riverside clay. Then you could try to make a traditional pot, or create a unique design by your own.
In the late afternoon, stroll along the river bank, watch the sun which is going on the river. Capture photos of the memorable moment such as children playing in the water below, girls and women carrying water from river.
Overnight at hotel/guesthouse in Yandabo village
Day 04: Yandabo - Myingyan - Bagan (Cycling)
This day, we say “goodbye” to Yandabo village, jump on the bikes and ride to Myingyan township, located on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy River. It take two hours (22km) for us to pedal from Yandabo to Myingyan.
Have lunch at a local restaurant in Myingyan. Then you will be transferred to Bagan, home to the largest and densest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins in the world. Approximately 2,200 of the originally 4,400 temples that are spread across the plains of Bagan. From the 11th to 13th centuries, Bagan was the capital of Myanmar. Upon arrival, check in your hotel and take a rest.
In the late afternoon, we will visit a lacquer craft workshop to observe the intricate process of making traditional lacquer wares, from cutting bamboo into strips, and carefully build up mixtures of thit-see resin with clay and ash, finally it will be polished with the ash of fossil wood. Afterward, these items will be undergone the process of etching or painting by hand. Depending on the quality desired, between eight and 16 layers of lacquer are applied- a high-end piece of lacquerware can take a year to complete. Each stage will be described in detail, giving a great overview of how this ancient craft has developed into an art form in Bagan. Making fine Burmese lacquerware is time-consuming and labour intensive.
Afterwards, we take a relaxing horse cart ride around Minnanthu village which is located near central Bagan. When we arrive, you will meet friendly and hospitality villagers. They will take us around their village. It is a unique opportunity for us to observe their daily life: girls carrying water from the communal well, men are working in the fields with their ox, women rolling cigars to sell at the market and making woven bamboo picture frames, souvenir to sell to the visitors. We also take a visit to their houses. They are modest, traditional houses made of bamboo and leaves which is very popular in Myanmar’s countryside. We will take a brief look of the house: the living quarter, bedroom, kitchen, bathing area, traditional weaving loom ect.
Finally, proceed to Shwesandaw pagoda, a perfect spot to enjoy a magnificent sunset with views across the Bagan plains. Overnight at hotel in Bagan.
We begin our sightseeing tour by visiting Nyaung-Oo morning market which offers a colourful display of fruit, vegetables, flowers, fish and textiles. Morning time is the best time to visit market, you would see it at its liveliest and ways of life of local people. Then, we move to visit Thatbyinnyu Temple - the tallest temples of all monuments in Bagan; 61m high overlooking the Bagan scene. We continue to visit Dhammayangyi temple - one of massive temples in Bagan. It was built in 12th century by Narathu King. It is infamous for its mysterious, bricked-up inner passageways and cruel history. On the way, we will see the elegant Htilominlo Temple noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations. Afterwards, take a break at the local coffee shop to have cold drink under the shade or return to hotel to relax.
In the afternoon, continue to explore Manuha Temple, which built in the Mon style in 1059 and follow on to Nanbaya Temple, a unique sandstone monument said to have been the palace of King Manuha. Next, we drive to Myinkaba village and visit Gu Byauk Gyi Temple, a Mon-style temple renowned for well-preserved frescoes on its interior walls, the oldest original paintings to be found in Bagan. Then take a visit Nat Hlaung Kyaung temple and Bu Paya pagoda. After that, we board a local boat along Ayeyarwaddy River. Enjoy the sunset by boat. Disembark and be transferred back to your hotel for dinner.
Overnight in Bagan hotel.
Shwe Yee Pwint Hotel
Day 06: Bagan – Mount Popa (Cycling)
We say “goodbye” to the ruins of Bagan and head to the Burmese countryside. Along the way, you would see small fields and farmers who are working hard on their plantations. We also stop to visit a palm tree workshop, see how villagers get juice from palm tree, make candy, wine from palm juice. The palm tree plays an important role in Burmese rural life. Beyond creating juice and sugars for people, it’s also used for making household utensils, construction materials and medicine.
From here, begin to feel the road rising as the cycling tour begins an ascent towards the national park that encompasses Mount Popa, a volcano 1518 metres above sea level, and located in central Myanmar about 50 km southeast of Bagan in the Pegu Range. For those who find the going tough, our support vehicle will be on hand to take the strain. Mount Popa is known as the home of the “Nats” spirits among the locals. The Popa Taungkalat shrine is the favoured home of 37 Mahagiri Nats or aminist spirit entities. To reach the top, you need to remove shoes and socks and climb the 777 steps to the summit.
After that, we head to Popa Mountain Resort which offers fabulous views over the surrounding area. Check in, free at your leisure in the afternoon.
Today, we will drive to Kalaw via the township of Meiktila. Along the way, we will through villages, observe the traditional lifestyle of the rural Burmese. However, their life is lacking in many modern amenities. It would be appreciated if you could help or donate something to improve villagers’ living conditions.
Before reaching Kalaw, we will stop to visit Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp in Magwe village. From the main road, we ride about 5 km to the elephant camp. Upon arrival, a guide of camp will greet and takes us to the main camp base. Enjoy a welcome drink while delivering you some information about mission of the camp, daily activities of staffs in camp and the history of elephants in Myanmar. Then take a short walk to the river, passing through a reforestation project set up by the camp and villagers. Observe elephant in their natural habitat, see the elephant bath and join with the mahouts to bath these gentle giants if you wish. After the walk, spend some time at the yard elephants. There is no better chance to learn about the elephants’ delicate diet and get a chance to feed them, under professional supervision.
In the afternoon, spend more time to explore more on foot with the local trekking guide or interact with the elephants. Then say “goodbye’ to the elephants and mahouts and continue our journey to Kalaw, a charming little town with a mix of local and colonial-style houses in Taunggyi District, Shan State of Burma. It was a very popular hill station during British colonial rule because of its cool and pleasant climate. Kalaw is located 1320m above sea level so the air temperature is usually much cooler than much of the country. Overnight in Kalaw hotel.
Day 08: Kalaw - Naung Tayar - Thar Khaung - Samkar (Cycling)
After breakfast, we take a soft trek around Kalaw and its morning market to get a great insight into daily life of local. Then we leave this charming town and take a short transfer to the famous Myinmahti Cave. It is located on the east of Kalaw, on the Kalaw-Loikaw Highway about four miles as the crow flies from Kalaw. The caves are just over one thousand feet in length, lined by stalactites and natural formations on the walls.
After that, we start our cycling adventures at the starting point of Naung Tayar village. We will pedal through Pa Oh villages, wooden, single-storey shops lined wide, dusty roads of the countryside in Shan State. We will have plenty of opportunities to stop and interact with the friendly locals. Have your picnic on the way before arrive Hmawbi Bridge, the end point of our cycling for today. Then you will be transferred by a traditional long tail boat to Samkar, little remote village which is located at the sourthern shores of Inle Lake. If time permits, we can visit Thar Khaung Buddhist Pagoda.
Check in at your guesthouse and relax for the rest of day.
Overnight at a guesthouse in Samkar village.
Day 09: Samkar - Nampan - Nyaung Shwe (Cycling)
This morning, complete our today’s challenge by cycling from Samkar to Nampan, a traditional floating village which is situated on the stilts over the water. It’s an enjoyable scenic and leisurely ride by passing through the villages that dot the countryside between the parallel mountain ranges, seeing rice fields, tomato and potato plantations on the way.
Upon arrival Nampan village, take a short break and have our lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, we take an excursion by boat on Inle Lake will include seeing the famous leg-rowing fishermen, local methods of fishing and see their floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles. The highlights on the lake are Alodaw Pauk Pagoda, one of the oldest shrines on Inle Lake, stands on stilts, built by King Thri Dhamma. We also visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main sanctuary, which contains five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf and Nga Phe Chaung Monastery, a wooden monastery built on stilts and the oldest & largest one in Inle Lake. Then we visit handicraft workshops such as blacksmiths, silversmiths, weaving looms, etc.
After that, our boat will head to Nyaung Shwe, the main gateway to Inle Lake. Then we take a soft walk to your hotel. Overnight in Nyaung Shwe hotel.
Day 10: Inle Lake Sightseeing - Red Mountain (Cycling)
This day, we will take one more excursion by boat on Inle Lake. We join with local fishermen and observe their daily activities: fishing. They will show us how they use traditional techniques: rowing the boat with one leg while using both hands to fish, corral fish into their nets. These techniques take a lifetime to master the balance. If you want, you could try to catch some fishes for your lunch. Whether or not your fishing expedition is successful, this will be a memorable encounter with the Inthar fishermen.
Afterwards we will visit floating gardens on Inle lake. The floating garden beds are formed by extensive manual labor. The farmers gather up lake-bottom weeds from the deeper parts of the lake, bring them back in boats and make them into floating beds in their garden areas, anchored by bamboo poles. These gardens rise and fall with changes in the water level, and so are resistant to flooding. You will have an opportunity to pick your own choice tomatoes for your upcoming lunch. Next, we take a visit to a traditional Inthar house at Tharlay village. Here, you will spend time to prepare the dishes and learn about their cuisine and culture with a local family. Together you’ll prepare local delights including Inle Style Tomato Salad and other Inthar dishes. Enjoy your lunch which whole members of family. It would be a memorial experience in your journey in Inle lake.
After lunch, we head to Khaung Daing village which is famous for hot springs and making tofu from yellow split peas. Villagers use traditional method to make Shan tofu – fried crackers and folded, triangular tofu treats. Observe steps of tofu making: the soy beans are sifted, boiled, mashed into balls then formed tofu cakes. This is a fabulous taste of local life on Inle Lake.
From there, we will cycle along the banks of Inle Lake and up into the hills to reach Red Mountain Estate Vineyards & Winery, one of Burma’s two wineries. Located 1,000 meters above sea level, Inle Lake is also the perfect place for winemaking in tropical Myanmar with locally grown grapes, sourced from Italy, France, Spain and Israel. The vineyard is founded in 2002, the winery employs French and Australian know-how and French, Spanish and Israeli vines to knock out some fine and varied vintages. Take a stroll through the grounds and in the factory, observing the production of Cabernets and Sauvignon and then sit down to take a try. Enjoy 4 different wines, with a light snack, as you watch the sun glisten on the calm waters of Inle.
Day 11: Inle (Cooking Class) - Ywama (Kayaking)
We will take a one hour tour to Nyaung Shwe morning market for unique insight into the local cultures of the area. Villagers from the surrounding hill tribes come to the market to sell and trade tomatoes, eggplants, scallions, peppers, betel, beans, garlic to cheroots. Buy ingredients, herbs and vegetables which you will be using for your dishes. During this cooking class, a master chef will teach you traditional cooking techniques of Myanmar, while introducing you to the classic food combinations, which are making Myanmar's food so popular worldwide. Enjoy your lunch with dishes which are prepared by your own.
After lunch, you will be transferred to Ywama village, also known as Heya Ywama, is located on the western side of Inle Lake. Observe the everyday lives of local people, a lifestyle that has remained relatively unchanged for generations.
Then head to the village’s pier for our kayaking tour today. Our guide will provide instructions and offer a test-ride before entering canals. Gliding through the narrow waterways between high mountains to quiet and peaceful villages and feel how close to nature you are. Seeing local people catching fishes while paddling a boat is an extraordinary experience in Kayaking.
After about half an hour we disembark for a soft trek through a local village near the lake. We will stop at a local house for a cup of tea and sample some traditional snacks. After exploring the village, head back to the kayaks, paddle through the small channels of the Ywama village. The trip concludes at the same pier where our journey began. Afterwards, transfer bach to Nyaung Shwe. Overnight at hotel in Nyaung Shwe.
Day 12: Nyaung Shwe – Heho airport – Yangon
This morning, you will be transferred to Heho airport for your flight back Yangon. Upon arrival, the guide will pick up and transfer you to the hotel in Yangon’s downtown for check in.
After a short break, we take visit to Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda which is built in 1966 and houses a striking reclining Buddha image that measures an impressive 65 metres long and 16 metres high. We then venture downtown to explore the city centre and its fabulous mix of architecture and sites. We walk around and take some photos of Yangon City Hall, Yangon Region Court, and Independence Monument which is located in Maha Bandula Park. After that, continue visit Saint Mary's Cathedral, a Catholic cathedral located in Yangon. It’s also the largest cathedral in Myanmar. Designed by Dutch architector Jos Cuypers. It’s onwards to Little India and Chinatown, a colorful cacophony of restaurants, temples and markets. Reaching Bogyoke Market (formerly known as Scott Market), where you can find largest selection of Myanmar handicrafts and souvenirs from lacquerware and Shan shoulder bags to puppets and jewellery, slippers, longyi etc.
In the late afternoon, we will visit the famous Shwedagon Pagoda - Yangon’s most famous landmark. The massive 99 meter high gold plated pagoda with the diamond studded spire set on top of a small hill in downtown Yangon. Its massive bell-shaped golden spires are plated with 60 tons of gold, while the tip of the stupa is inset with diamonds, rubies, sapphires and topaz. Wander through this magnificent structure and its courtyards, stupas, bells, temples, and Buddha images, and see religious and secular visitors from all parts of the globe. Enjoy breathtaking views of the golden stupa from this vantage point. Overnight in Yangon hotel.
Today is our final day to do some exploration on bikes! After breakfast, you will be transferred to Kyi Myint Daing train station then take a two hour scenic train ride in the outskirts of Yangon. On the way to Kyi Myint Daing station, we take a soft trek to a colorful bustling market, stroll around and watch many of the market sellers and hawkers boarding the train with their home grown produce... It would be an unforgettable experience in Yangon.
After two hours, we will stop at a small station called Wah Net Chaung station. Then pick up our bikes and start our today’s cycling adventure. Depart from the station, we ride through trails and villages, paddy fields as well as a fun peaceful countryside along the way.The scenery is remarkably different from nearby Yangon, with many trees, local neighborhoods and green fields filling the area. After a 13km ride, we will stop at a local restaurant to have lunch with traditional Myanmar dishes.
After lunch, we continue ride to the Phu Gyi Reservoir, one of the main water resources for Yangon city. It offers an idea spot for amateur and professional photographer to take the best shot of Myanmar nature. We will take a ride on the 3km long reservoir bank and breathe in the fresh air. Then we return to our start point and transfer back to Yangon. After freshening up at your hotel we celebrate our farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at hotel in Yangon.
Breakfast, Farewell dinner
Hotel Grand United (Ahlone Branch)
Day 14: Yangon Departure
Free at leisure until you guide come to pick up and transfer you to Yangon International Airport for your flight home. End our tour!
Private Tour Price (2 Pax Up)
Tour Price Includes
13 hotel night accommodation.
Local English speaking guides.
Meals as mentioned.
01 domestic flight Heho - Yangon.
Boat in Yandabo, Bagan, Inle Lake.
Kayak in Inle Lake (Ywama village).
Cooking class in Inle Lake.
All sightseeing as specified and entrance fees included.
Bottled drinking water per touring days.
Tour Price Excludes
Visas if required.
Other meals not mentioned in the program.
Items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks, etc.
Tips for your guide and driver (discretionary).
Any camera or video fees at any sites.
When to Go
See estimated monthly temperature and rainfall for this itinerary