Bike Aways

Mandalay to Bagan – Cycling the Irrawaddy

This itinerary is under currently being adjusted but still here for reference whilst we fine tune  our next Myanmar adventure. This is already a perfect itinerary,  but we are working out how to add in Yangon (Since most flights will arrive there) and also include Inle Lake, which is in Shan State Upper Myanmar, and a very worthwhile add on if you’re in the Mandalay region. The itinerary and will be updated soon, but  mark the date as it is when the wet ends, the miasmas disperse and the weather begins to cool.


October 16 – 24 2017
USD 1890 Single supplement USD 389

More famous then the town itself is the road to Mandalay. 

We just go the opposite direction — from Mandalay — to the ancient Buddhist Kingdom of Bagan. A more favourable direction for a bike ride, the road to Bagan follows the Irrawaddy River along a historic route so decorated with pagoda’s, sacred mountains, spirit homes, and ancient kingdoms, that bike is the only way to take in the landscape without becoming overwhelmed.

Spire-fringed skylines, golden sikaras, crumbling ruins, toddy palms, sunsets on the river, monks on teak bridges, buddhas and bougainvilleas, cotton trees, temple macaques, bullock carts and horse drawn carriages – Upper Myanmar is old Asia, romantic and exotic and a feast for the senses served up with the serenity of travel by bike and boat.

Join us for a Chinese New Year ride.  Weather-wise, its the perfect season.

Cost USD 1790
Single supplement 325
5 percent discount for the first 5 people to book.


Indulge in the romance of one of travel’s most evocative place names: Mandalay.
BYO pith helmet, a bottle of gin perhaps, and get nostalgic over the exotica of empire.
Mandalay was the last Burmese Royal Empire, the centre of Brittish colonial life in Upper Burma, as well as the cultural  and spiritual capital of Burma.
It’s worth arriving a day early if you can.

Meet your fellow riders over a welcome drink at the hotel, then test your bike with a pedal about town before dining at our favourite Mandalay restaurant.

Overnight in Mandalay Meals: Dinner
Accommodation: 3 star hotel with character, in the middle of the city near the moat. Can walk to beer stations, tea shops, etc.

Ubein Bridge


We bike out early, to beat the traffic and catch the monks on their way back to their monasteries after the early morning alms collection. The U-Bein Bridge at Amarapura – one of the most iconic images of Myanmar-is our destination. Spanning 1.2 kilometres across the Taung Thaman Lake, this is the world’s longest teak bridge, and one of the most picturesque.

Crossing the Irrawaddy River, one of Asia’s greats. we cycle onward to the stupa-filled hills of Sagaing, former capital of an independent Shan kingdom in the early Fourteenth Century.

A short climb pays off with birds eye views of Mandalay City and the Irrawaddy below.

White and gold pagodas are cloned throughout the hills — a down hill cruise the best way to drink in this spiritual landscape.

Cross the Dokthawaddy River ( ‘Small River’) by another picturesque bridge, then another time by local ferry, we cycle along to Ava, a famed royal city formerly known as Inwa.

Four times the capital of Upper Burma. Ava is now a pastiche of farmlands, crumbling ruins and rustic villages well suited to exploration by bike. Dirt trails and small back roads make for a fun ride. We transfer to our hotel in Myingyan late in the afternoon for a special visit to the resident mummy — an enlightened monk called Sunlun Sayadaw Arahant whose body has been preserved since 1952.-one of many opportunities throughout the day to begin to understand what Buddhism means in contemporary Myanmar.

Overnight in Myingyan.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cycling Distance: Approximately 55-65 km
Clean comfortable rooms 2 star hotel, with hot water.Beautiful Bagan


We set off early this morning to make the most of the cool morning air . The contrast of landscapes is dramatic as we ride into the heart of Myanmar’s ‘dry zone’. At 60 kilometres, we hit the base of Popa, an extinct volcano that is home to many spirit gods — the equivalent of Greece’s Mt Olympus for Burmese people. A short uphill brings us to lunch in a family home, whilst another steep climb brings us to our hotel with …drum roll… an infinity pool overlooking the plains!
Relax in your pool whilst the pilgrims slog it out below.
You deserve it! Or maybe you don’t, and need a penance….Another 777 stairs up the pedestal-like volcanic plug, Taung Kalat, carefully making your way past the grimacing macaque, to pay homage to a brotherhood of spirits called Nats.

37 Great Nats were “recognised” during the 11th century as high-status humans, all but one called Thagyamin who perished in violent or painful circumstances.

Offerings of money are left at the shrines located on the summit, though Min Kyawzwa, a nat known for alcoholism, is most commonly honoured with whisky instead.

Overnight at Mount Popa Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Cycling Distance: 70 km
3 Star bungalows on the mountainside. Leafy garden surroundings, fabulous views and a spring-fed infinity pool.Mt Popa


Bike down Popa faster than the nats can curse you for not leaving your duty free at their shrine. We stop in Kyauk Padaung for a visit to the vibrant local market, taking tea at a popular tea shop. Tea is a big deal in Myanmar, and tea-shops have always been associated with the resistance in the dictatorship years.
It’s a gently rolling terrain that takes us to our next beverage stop — a toddy farm on the outskirts of Bagan. Toddy is the afternoon brew of the locals, a sweet wine made from the liquid of the toddy palm.

Upon reaching Bagan we’ll have a late lunch, check in to the hotel and enjoy a short rest before heading out to watch the classic Bagan temple-top sunset.

Overnight in Bagan
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Cycling Distance: 70 km
Accommodation: 2-3 Stars, Old fashioned but charming bungalows around a small pool. Rooms are very large and with hot water, air con, etc., 10 minute walking distance to bars and the morning market.Beautiful Bagan


Bagan, Pagan, Pugan or my favourite Arimaddana-pura lit. “the City that Tramples on Enemies” is probably the most amazing pagoda-peppered landscape you will see in your life. People wanting to sell you post cards and oil paintings will chip away at that sense of wonder, which is why mountain bikes are an awesome way to take in the splendour.

Dhammayangyi and Ananda Temples, supreme temples from an architectural point of view, are a must-see, but travelling down smaller off roads and sandy pathways takes you back in time like no other mode of exploration.

Two hundred thousand people once lived amidst the 1000 stupas, 10,000 small temples and 3000 monasteries. Mongols, and earthquakes reduced this to a small scattering of active functional temples and villages, and eery but fascinating ruins.

Overnight on Bagan
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Cycling Distance: 30 km

Accommodation: 2-3 Stars, Old fashioned but charming bungalows around a small pool. Rooms are very large and with hot water, air con, etc., 10 minute walking distance to bars and the morning market.Beautiful Bagan


We start this morning with a short ride to the Irrawaddy,crossing by boat to the western bank, cycling through tobacco, chillies, and peanuts for a riverside lunch at the university town of Pakokku. We cruise down the river to Kyauk Gu U Min, a remarkable cave-temple far away from the main temple zone.
Ride back to Bagan or continue by boat, enjoying the another classic Myanmar sunset — this time over the Irrawaddy.

Our last evening together, we celebrate our Myanmar biking adventure with cocktails and dinner.

Overnight in Bagan
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Cycling Distance: 55-75 km
Accommodation: 2-3 Stars, Old fashioned but charming bungalows around a small pool. Rooms are very large and with hot water, air con.
10 minute walking distance to bars and the morning market.Sunset on Mandalay's Waterfront


We leave Bagan early this morning and drive back to Mandalay. Stops will be made at the Mandalay Airport and at hotels in the city centre.

Meals: Breakfast

Group Size

MIN 2 MAX 12


6 nights’ Accommodation in a shared twin/double room

English-speaking Biking Guide

Mechanic on biking days

Bike and helmet rental

Snack breaks on cycling days

Private transportation for all included excursions and support vehicles on cycling days

Entrance fees for all included excursions

Meals as mentioned in program with purified water

Tips for included meals and hotel porters

Myanmar sales tax

Not Included

Myanmar visa

International flights

Tips for guide, mechanics and drivers

o Drivers: 2-3 USD per person per day
o Mechanics: 2-3 USD per person per day o Guides: USD 5 per person per day

Drinks at meals (wine, espresso, etc), laundry, shopping and other personal expenses

Any excursions not mentioned in program

Arrival and departure transfers


Images are slices of much larger and much more stunning prints by Jillian Mitchell and all available on Hill