Cycle Myanmar (Burma)
With its softly rolling terrain, quiet roads, abundance of outdoor attractions and idyllic rural countryside, Myanmar is the perfect place to get to know by bike. After a couple of days checking out Yangon's attractions, head north to the ancient city of Bagan – a landscape defined by thousands of ornate ochre-coloured temples. Cycle through toddy forest to Mount Popa, the reputed home of the country's spirits, watch fishermen working their trade on Inle Lake and creep through limestone caves stocked with Buddha effigies. Exploring Myanmar and its provincial backroads by bike opens up the country's essence in myriad ways.
Ages: 14 - 99
Theme: Active Adventures, Cycling
Accommodation: Hotel (11 nights), guesthouse (1 night)
Min Gala Ba! Welcome to Myanmar. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please check with the hotel reception or look on the reception noticeboard for where and when the meeting will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you have free time to explore before the meeting, we recommend stepping out onto the streets of Yangon. Why not take the Yangon Circle Line train for a three-hour local journey, or head over to Bogyoke Market and haggle with the locals? There’s also Sule Paya Pagoda, a 2000-year-old golden temple, and the Gems Museum, which houses some of the world’s largest sapphire, ruby and jade pieces. You may need a taxi to travel between some of these attractions; a one-way trip should cost about MMK 4,000. Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel in time for the meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). Riding distance: none
Start the day with a city walking tour of Yangon. Your leader will show you the city centre and some major attractions around town. In the afternoon, you’ll visit the holiest shrine in the country, the Shwedagon Paya. This gold-gilded pagoda is studded with diamonds and gems, and said to contain eight hairs of the Buddha. It’s a particularly impressive sight at sunset, when the lights come on and the stupa shines beautifully. We also head down to Kandawgyi Lake, where you’ll see Karaweik Hall, a reconstruction of a golden royal barge floating on the eastern side. If you’re still feeling adventurous at the end of the day, consider doing an optional Urban Adventures tour - Yangon’s Streets By Night. Riding distance: none
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for the flight to Bagan. Prepare to be astounded by Bagan, a grassy plain scattered with literally hundreds of ancient pagodas. A full day of cycling will take us to the city's most fascinating sites, including the teeming Nyaung Oo Market, the glittering Shwezigon Pagoda, and the atmospheric cave temple of Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi. In the afternoon we visit a traditional workshop to observe how lacquer ware is made, then continue to the architecturally magnificent monastery of Amanda. Riding distance: approx. 30 kms
Today we cycle through groves of towering palm trees, which you'll probably see the local men scaling for the juice they distil liquor from, to Mount Popa. The countryside we ride through is very picturesque, so be sure to bring your camera along. Sitting 1,518 metres above sea-level, Mount Popa is actually a volcano in the Pegu Range (and the mythical home of nats, Myanmar's 37 spirits). Riding distance: approx. 60 kms
Today's ride to Myingyan is a scenic one along the narrow, quiet roads that are typical of Myanmar's central dry zone. Though mostly flat, the route passes many unbridged sand creeks that wind through toddy forest towards Mount Popa. On the way we will pass the townships of Taungtha. Riding distance: approx. 85 kms
There's a lot of distance to cover today, so you (and your bike) will be driven some of the way. Cycle along well maintained roads through small villages to Tada-U on the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy, before re-boarding our vehicle and taking the highway north to Mandalay. Riding distance: approx. 80 kms
After breakfast we start cycling out of downtown Mandalay to the small town of Amarapura, home of the U-Bein Bridge, the longest teak bridge in the world. Continue on to Mingun, a small riverside town situated at the base of an enormous, uncompleted temple. Originally designed to be 152 metres high, Mingun's stupa, had it been completed, would have been the world's largest. According to local legend, work on it was halted when a local astronomer prophesied its completion would spell end of the country. From Mingun we board a boat for a cruise along the Ayeyarwady back to Mandalay, where we leave our bikes behind and take private transport to visit Mahamuni Pagoda. Other stop-ins for the day include a gold leaf workshop and Mandalay Hill, where Lord Buddha is said to have left a footprint. Stay here for sunset and be treated to superb views over city's lake and glittering stupas. For some evening entertainment, consider catching a traditional show by the Mandalay Marionettes, or a non-conformist comedy show by the Moustache Brothers. Riding distance: approx. 40 kms
Leaving Mandalay, cycle approx. 50kms through rural Myanmar, past fields, small, lively villages and beautiful landscapes, then drive on to Pindaya, a town famous for thousands of Buddha effigies stocked inside its limestone caves. Riding distance: approx. 50 kms
Following breakfast at the hotel, drive to the Pindaya caves for an explore of its caverns and tunnels. There are more than 8,000 Buddha images contained inside this labyrinth of tunnels and meditation chambers, with visiting pilgrims adding to the collection each day. Cycle over the rolling hills of the Shan plateau to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway to Inle Lake. 14 miles long and 7 miles wide, this is the second largest natural lake in Myanmar. It sits 2,900 feet above sea level, nestled among the hazy Blue Mountains. The route up into the Shan Highland includes a couple of tough ascents. Riding distance: approx. 50 kms
This morning we ride along Inle Lake's western banks to the hillside pagoda complex of Indein. After a bit of time spent exploring the site's hundreds of Shan style stupas, we'll cross the lake by motor boat. From here our route follows an undulating road through dense farmland. You'll pass Intha villages (a local people known for their unusual style of leg-rowing), rice paddies, fields of sugarcane and traditional wooden houses. In the afternoon we'll travel by private car to a local winery for a tasting. Tonight we spend in Nyaung Shwe. Riding distance: approx. 50 kms
Today we explore Inle Lake and visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake's main sanctuary of Buddha images and royal barges. Cruising around Inle Lake by boat offers a chance to see local life from a different angle. You'll pass cottage industries and see the lake's famous leg-rowing fishermen. Their unique technique of rowing standing up, with a long paddle in one hand and their leg wrapped around it lower down, leaves a fishermen free to cast their conical fishing nets while moving. This unique style evolved due to the lake's covering of reeds and floating plants, which makes it difficult for someone to see and steer while seated. Next up we'll arrive in the village of Inpawkhone, a place famous for its traditional method of weaving silk from the stems of lotus flowers. It's a time consuming process, but one that results in high quality materials. After watching the weavers at work we'll visit a cheroot factory and see cigars being rolled by hand. In the evening we'll return to Nyaung Shwe, where you'll be treated to a Shan traditional dinner. Riding distance: none
Enjoy a morning soaking up Inle Lake's serenity before farewelling your support crew and transferring to Heho for the fly back to Yangon. An included arrival transfer will take you from the airport to your hotel. Riding distance: none
Your cycling adventure through Myanmar concludes today in Yangon, There are no activities planned so you are free to depart at any time. Riding distance: none
- Inle Lake - Traditional Shan dinner
Grand Laurel Hotel
No. 153/159, Bogyoke Aung San Road (corner of 46th street)
Phone: 951 398771
Grand Laurel Hotel
No. 153/159, Bogyoke Aung San Road (corner of 46th street)
Phone: 951 398771
There are regular rest breaks each day, however it is important to note that you will be riding over multiple and consecutive days in a climate and terrain that may be unfamiliar. While it can be tempting to start out riding as hard and fast as you can (we get it!) we recommend taking it easy on the first few days while your body gets used to the rides and the climate.
As a general rule, the more preparation you can do for this type of trip, the more you will enjoy it. Prepare for the trip by doing aerobic type exercises before travelling - jogging or swimming are some options, though cycling is best. If possible take some extended day rides before travelling, or spend time on exercise bikes in the gym. The more your muscles (and bottom) are prepared for the riding on this trip the more you will be able to enjoy the wonderful countryside and people you meet while riding. Note that an enthusiasm for bike riding and adventure is essential!
It is also important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle, both solo and in a group environment.
The information listed in the itinerary is a guide to the approximate distances and terrain cycled each day. However, this may vary depending on the physical capabilities of the group, and changes to local conditions. For safety reasons we only cycle during daylight hours, so there may be some early morning starts. We take regular rest breaks throughout cycling days.
1. A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.
2. Bicycle hire is included in your trip price. Please advise your height at time of booking so as we can organise a suitable sized bike.
3. Due to restrictions on the internal flights clients cannot bring their own bike on this trip.
4. Bike helmets are compulsory on this trip. We are unable to hire bike helmets locally so please ensure you bring your own bike helmet from home.
5. Please provide passport details at time of booking with name as per passport, as these are essential for booking services on this trip.
6. Intrepid can book an optional sunrise balloon ride over the Bagan (operating October to March). Please refer to the itinerary for more information. Places are limited and we recommend advance booking with your agent.
All Intrepid cycling group trips are accompanied by one of our cycling leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Our cycling leaders are all passionate cyclists, as you’d expect, but they also go through some pretty rigorous cycle-trip specific training. Each one has undergone on-road training and supervision and knows how to do safety checks, basic repairs and emergency first-aid. And at the end of the day they’re still regular Intrepid leaders, which means they will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
We take safety seriously on all our trips, but cycling tours deserve a few special considerations. HELMETS: Helmets are compulsory and we do not allow anyone to ride without one (including our own staff!). You can bring your own, or purchase one that meets international safety standards on the ground. Your leader can assist with this. FOOTWEAR For safety reasons we strongly recommend that you wear shoes that cover the toes while riding. SUPPORT VEHICLES We usually have a support vehicle following us if first-aid is ever necessary or people are feeling too tired to ride. BIKES: Our bikes are serviced regularly, and we get them checked by experts before each and every trip. Should you choose to bring your own please note that while we are happy to assist where we can with repairs you are responsible for the safety and suitability of your own equipment. TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware! There are times when traffic conditions make sections of our planned riding route unsafe – in this instance we will use the support vehicle. WEATHER Due to inclement weather posing a serious health or safety issue there may be times when we use the support vehicle instead of doing the planned ride. We will endeavour to reroute if possible but at times may have to cancel the planned ride.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts. PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. MOTORBIKE BAG SNATCHING: Be particularly aware of motorbike bag snatching, especially in the bigger cities.
MOBILE PHONES AND INTERNET:
Communication services in Myanmar are improving. Internet services are available but are unreliable outside cities and large towns. The telephone network is also unreliable and limited to cities and large towns. International GSM roaming is available for a limited number of international mobile phone carriers. Many travellers choose to buy a local SIM card upon arrival and top up with credit as needed.
As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required.
Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.
Most nationalities require a tourist visa in advance to visit Myanmar. eVisas are available for most nationalities via the Government website: http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/
Important to note when applying for an eVisa:
- Passport validity must have at least (6) months validity from date of return.
- You will need to present one colour photo (4cm X 6cm) taken within the last 3 months and a copy of your return ticket.
- Length of stay is 28 days from the date of arrival in Myanmar.
- The eVisa fee is US$50 per person, payable by credit card (note: visa fee is non-refundable should the eVisa be denied)
- The processing time is approximately 3 working days for granting an eVisa however we recommend allowing longer in the event of delays.
- The validity of eVisa approval letter is 90 days from the date of issue. If it has expired, entry will be denied.
- eVisas are applicable for single entry into Myanmar only and you will not be permitted to re-enter on an eVisa that you have previously entered on (multiple entries not possible).
- eVisas are only obtainable if you are arriving into Yangon International Airport, Nay Pyi Taw International Aiport and Mandalay International Airport, as well as land border crossings at Tachileik, Myawaddy and Kawthaung. If arriving into another Myanmar entry point you will need to apply for your visa in advance through a Myanmar Embassy.
Nationalities who are unable to obtain an eVisa should contact the Myanmar embassy in their country of residency.
Why we love it
Bask in the golden glow of Yangon's giant Shwedagon Pagoda
Get off the beaten track and into Myanmar’s past cycling around Bagan's temple-strewn landscape
Ride through toddy forest towards Mount Popa, a volcano in the Pegu Range that's revered as the spiritual home of Myanmar's nats
Ditch the Gatorade and rehydrate with fresh coconut and fruit juice
Cruise along the Ayeyarwady to Mingun, a small riverside town situated at the base of an enormous temple
Is this trip right for you
To complete this trip it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle.
While the cycling distances on this trip are relatively short and the terrain relatively flat the climate is warm and often humid so you’ll need a reasonable level of fitness to enjoy the trip – but remember we will always have the support vehicle on hand if you need to take a break for an hour or a day.
As our riding is done on a mixture of sealed and gravel roads there are no technical cycling skills required - but given the gravel sections we do suggest practicing riding off-road so you are comfortable with this once the trips begins.
There’s the possibility of a few hiccups along the way – a puncture here and there maybe – but there’s no doubt this is an incredibly rewarding adventure.
The weather in this region can be varied depending on the season. Be prepared to get sweaty and for the occasional rainstorm, which may require a change of plans.
All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.
Riding across unfamiliar terrain in weather conditions that you are not used to can potentially lead to cycling-related health issues.
By far the most common issue is that of dehydration. While this is most common on warm/hot days, it is also a factor during cold weather as you continue to sweat. Research shows most riders will typically lose 500-1000 ml of water per hour. While we schedule in frequent rest stops and encourage you to refill water bottles at every opportunity, it is the responsibility of each cyclist to monitor their own levels of hydration while cycling. The key point to remember is not to wait until you’re thirsty but to drink small amounts regularly from the start of your ride.
Adding an electrolyte solution can aid in replenishing the salts/electrolytes lost through physical activity. This is especially important on days when you are drinking a lot of the bike.
Food and dietary requirements
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
FOOD IN MYANMAR:
The food in Myanmar is described as more mild, and oily than it's neighbouring countries. We will try and give you a taste of traditional cuisine in each region, and the blend of influences including Chinese, Mon and Indian. Breakfasts are often simple (eggs, bread, jam and coffee/tea would be most common), or there may only be local breakfast available.
Many dishes in Myanmar contain peanuts, or are made with peanut oil. Please let your leader know if you have any allergies.
In addition, as tourism is developing, many restaurants are still learning to cater for foreign tourists. Your leader will assist with suggesting restaurants that follow expected food hygiene practices.
When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).
Budget for meals not included:
We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier.
The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$3 per day for local guides.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-US$2 per day for drivers.
Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
Optional Tipping Kitty:
At your group meeting on Day 1 your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty at your own discretion.
Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult
What to take
Packing for a cycling tour isn’t that different from any other adventure. But if you want to be comfortable and warm, here are a few bike-specific tips. • Helmet – these are compulsory, but if you don’t have your own you can sometimes purchase an approved and well-fitted one at the start of the trip (our leaders can assist you with this). There are some destinations where you are unable to purchase or hire appropriate helmets locally so you will need to bring your own - please check the 'Important Notes' section to see if this is the case. • Padded bike shorts • Quick-dry jerseys – you can definitely get away with a few cotton t-shirts but having a few light and breathable jerseys will make your cycling a lot more comfortable, especially in warmer/humid climates. • Quick-dry socks • Cycling gloves – not essential but recommended as padded cycle gloves will make your riding more comfortable and can help protect you in case of a fall. • Rain gear – pack a light poncho in case the weather turns when you’re out on the road • Light breathable waterproof/windproof – especially useful for those early mornings or downhill sections when the wind-chill becomes a factor. • Water bottle – we don't provide bottles but all our bikes have one bottle holder fitted (and a second one can be fitted if required). Please bring a cycling-specific water bottle as other types will fall out of the holders. A Camelbak will make drinking on-the-go easier. • Sunglasses – well fitted sports sunglasses help protect against dust, insects and (of course) the sun • Day pack – our support vehicle will carry your main bag, but a day pack for snacks and clothes is a good idea. • Suncream – please bring a high protection factor (e.g. SPF 50) sunscreen as long days in the saddle can really expose you to the sun • Shoes – normal sports shoes can be worn on all of our trips however you may want to consider a flat shoe with a relatively stiff sole as it makes pedalling a lot more efficient. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring their own cycling-specific shoes however we recommended 'mountain bike' style shoes that have grip on the sole rather than road bike' shoes as you will still be walking around while on the rides (cafe/photo/toilet stops, etc.). For safety reasons we require that you wear shoes that completely cover the toes while riding. • Saddles – are saddles are standard, unisex models –less experienced cyclists may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring your own saddle – our leader will assist in fitting it to your bike • Pedals – all bikes come with flat pedals. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring their own pedals – our leader will assist in fitting them to your bike As space in our support vehicle/transport can be limited we request that you bring only a small luggage bag with you rather than larger bags or suitcases.
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes). Many travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are also convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:
CLIMATE & CLOTHING: Myanmar has a tropical monsoon climate. The dry season runs from November to February, and during this time it can be cool, particularly in the central areas including Bagan, Myaing, Kalaw and Inle Lake. If travelling during this season is advised to bring trousers, a warm jacket and layers, especially for the evenings. During wet season (approximately May to late October) there can be heavy rain and thunderstorms. We recommend to bring a lightweight waterproof jacket, or an umbrella. The hottest and driest months are March and April, which experience high temperatures and high humidity. Covering, lightweight clothing is practical for travelling at any time of year in Myanmar.
LOCAL DRESS: When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Myanmar, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers or longyi and women a long skirt or sarong. Whilst staying at our Community Lodge we ask that you show respect to the locals by wearing conservative clothing. For included cycling and hiking activities comfortable, covering clothing is recommended. It is also necessary to remove your footwear when entering religious sites, so shoes or sandals that can easily be removed are practical.
Climate and seasonal
While the weather remains warm and dry for most of the year August and September traditionally bring the monsoon rains to Myanmar. While we continue to run cycling itineraries during this time. For the most part this means you could be riding in warm rain for periods during the day (which is quite lovely) but if it rains heavily and makes cycling too challenging then we will use the support vehicle.
A couple of rules
Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.
Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.
The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.
By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.
If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.
While we do accept children under 18 on this trip we do have a couple of rules. From a safety and enjoyment perspective they should be confident and competent cyclists capable of completing the riding part of the itinerary without additional assistance. Minors under 18 years old must always be accompanied by a parent/legal guardian. This includes when the minor rides in the support vehicle.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us
In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.
Intrepid’s Local Operator: +95 9 420254468
Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.
Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:
Wearing tank-top style garments and shorts in Myanmar is not common and may cause offence as it is a conservative society. Avoid wearing short-sleeved garments and shorts (for both men and women), especially when visiting Buddhist pagodas. Always remove shoes and socks before entering religious buildings and compounds.
Myanmar is a majority Buddhist nation and laws apply to entering or exiting Myanmar with religious materials, 'insulting religion' and mistreatment of images of Buddha. If you have a Buddhist related tattoo, or tattoo of Buddha, you should keep it covered at all times. Respect religious customs when visiting Buddhist religious sites and follow the advice of your leader regarding religious customs.
These and other customs are explained on this website:
HOW TRAVELLERS CAN HELP THE SITUATION IN MYANMAR
Since late August 2017, hundreds of thousands of people have crossed the border from Myanmar into Bangladesh to seek refuge after violence broke out in Rakhine State; it’s estimated the humanitarian situation in the region is likely to get worse. Temporary settlements and camps in Bangladesh are overflowing, with people seeking shelter wherever they can; in makeshift tents, on hillsides, and on side of the road.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
Donate to Australian Red Cross Myanmar Crisis Appeal through The Intrepid Foundation. We’ll match every dollar you give (up to donations of $20,000), which will go towards assisting Red Cross to provide humanitarian support to all those effected by violence in Rakhine State, including those who have sought safety in neighbouring countries. Red Cross and Red Crescent are currently on the ground providing aid to people caught up in the violence on both sides of the border. In Bangladesh, this includes providing first aid and medical care, emergency shelter, food and safe drinking water, as well as establishing safe spaces for women and children who may be at risk of abuse and exploitation. Red Cross teams in Myanmar are providing first aid and medical supplies to those who have been injured, as well as distributing clean drinking water and food. They are also helping those who are currently stranded at the border waiting to cross. Red Cross is working with communities to strengthen local resilience, and is sending specialist aid workers to assist in relief, recovery, and crisis management operations. They are also working tirelessly to reconnect families who have become separated as they fled the violence.
SHOULD WE STILL TRAVEL TO MYANMAR?
Intrepid has never travelled into, or near, Rakhine State. We don’t take sides nor support discrimination of any kind. We are concerned about violence wherever it takes place, and the effect that this has on all people, including those in Rakhine State. We are committed to supporting impartial, independent, and inclusive responses to situations of crisis that complies with International Humanitarian Law. However, we genuinely believe that travel can be a force for good, it builds understanding, and it makes us less prejudiced and more empathetic. This is something that the world desperately needs right now. We strive to include as much genuine real-life local interaction as we can on our trips, as this exposes both our travellers and local communities to different cultures and views, and the reality that we are all human.
Visit www.theintrepidfoundation.org/myanmar-emergency-appeal to donate to The Intrepid Foundation’s Myanmar Crisis appeal.
As part of our commitment to responsible travel a portion of your trip cost will be donated to Bicycles for Humanity – a not-for-profit, volunteer run, grass roots charity organisation focused on the alleviation of poverty through sustainable transport – in the form of a bicycle.
In the developing world a bicycle is life changing, allowing access to health care, education, economic opportunity and wider community. A bicycle means you can travel twice as far, twice as fast and carry four times the load, providing a profound and lasting positive effect for the individual as well as their community. Bicycles For Humanity collect donated (used or new) bicycles, repair them if needed and send them to Africa.
Along with donated bicycles each of the 40 ft shipping containers that Bicycles For Humanity sends becomes a bike workshop, providing employment, skills, training, business, opportunity and economic development for the community in which it's placed, helping the community to move away from aid dependence.
For more information see http://www.bicyclesforhumanity.com/
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
Throughout the trip we request that our lodgings prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
A single supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information. Please note that on the following nights the supplement is not available:
Day 6 - Community Lodge
Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.
A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
Hotel (11 nights),guesthouse (1 night)