Cycle the beautiful flatlands of Myanmar's central west. Meet the warm people, discover their lifestyle, and see the amazing temples of Bagan. This trip runs Mandalay to Bagan.
The recent interest in Myanmar as a destination means that everyone is talking about it but only a few will have the pleasure of seeing it in its current form. Now is the time to visit a country that has been shrouded in mystery for too long.
Cycle from Myanmar's last royal capital, Mandalay, down to the ancient 9th-13th century capital, Bagan. Along the way, experience genuine, rural Myanmar as we ride through the charming town of Myingyan, visit a dry zone community, and cruise on the impressive Irrawaddy River.
We cycle to the famous Mount Popa, a volcanic mountain from which we see a stunning view of the surrounding countryside and where we can learn about the 37 Nat spirits and their importance to Burmese people. We then finish off this great trip by exploring the Bagan Plain where ancient temples stretch out over the sandy expanse.
This is a compact trip, packed with highlights including some outstanding accommodation! The riding is easily achievable by most, making this a great excursion for anyone wanting to see the best of Myanmar.
6 days duration
224 km distance
Trip Features & Tour Inclusions
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Top quality, well maintained Merida or Trek mountain bikes in a full range of sizes are included in your tour, fitted with hybrid tyres for touring. Handlebar bags for your personal possessions are also provided.
4 nights are spent in supremely comfortable and well run hotels which are a great and sometimes unexpected part of this tour. 1 night is in a clean, 2 star hotel with private bathroom.
An experienced English speaking, local leader will host you on this trip who is well spoken, very well informed, and charming. Our leaders are often cited as being the main highlight of the tour. We use local leaders who have a passion for their country and are always well informed on topics ranging from history, politics, cuisine and importantly local customs and cultures. Our leaders will take pride in introducing you to every aspect of their country and will help you to connect with the villagers you meet along the way.
For groups of 5+ people a bike mechanic will join the group. Whilst not a master of linguistics, our technical team always make an effort to form a bond with the group and provide not just mechanical support, but additional encouragement to those who may find themselves at the back of the group. Our drivers support the group by ensuring that the freshest fruit and tastiest snacks are picked up along the way.
An air conditioned backup support vehicle is always available in case you want a break from riding, and to carry your luggage.
Burmese cuisine has a distinct flavor and theme. We will introduce you to authentic Burmese and Shan cuisine which is less about the central dish and more about the array of side dishes and condiments that it is accompanied by. Included meals are listed in the day by day itinerary, and drinking water is always included with meals. Any soft or alcoholic drinks are not included and will be at your own expense.
Energy bars and local snacks are provided to keep your energy levels up for the riding, and clean water and electrolyte drinks are always available to keep you well hydrated.
Take It Home
A beautiful souvenir Grasshopper cycling jersey is yours to wear and take home. We also provide a Grasshopper drink bottle as an extra memento.
2 to 10
This tour is guaranteed for a minimum of just 2 travellers. And we limit the group size to only 10 travellers so that you get all the attention you want in an intimate group.
There is no surcharge for single travellers - we will match you with another same sex single traveller. If you want a single room there is a an optional upgrade that you can book.
for Kingdoms of the Irrawaddy
Arrival Day in Mandalay
Arrive in Mandalay at any time today where you'll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Alternatively, you may want to arrive a day early and take some time to explore the city. In the late afternoon the group will meet at the hotel and you will have a chance to try out your bike and make any adjustments necessary. After a briefing, we head to dinner. Meals: D
Bike and Boat to Mingun, Sagaing, Ava & Amarapura, Transfer to Myingyan
We are in for a real treat today as we avoid roads as much as possible. We first travel upstream on the Irrawaddy River by boat and then explore from Mingun down to Sagaing, along a fantastic road running parallel to the river. A short, challenging climb takes us to the top of Sagaing Hill for a fabulous view of the monastery-dotted hill and Mandalay in the distance.
From here, we cross over the river returning to smaller trails, leading us past the ancient former capital Ava, banana groves, weaving villages and countryside views. We make it all the way to the longest teak wood bridge in the world, a structure that has withstood the ravages of time remarkably well. After some time at the bridge we travel by car to our home for the evening, the small town of Myingyan, where a simple, but adequate hotel awaits. Meals: BLD
Cycle to Mount Popa
A pleasant ride takes us through the dry zone, terrain that is markedly different from the rest of Myanmar. We pass villages along the way and as the day progresses, the gently rolling hills become more pronounced. As we pass the last of the flat fields, we find Mount Popa and a sharp, but relatively short climb to the lovely resort with its pool perched on the edge of the mountain overlooking the Taung Kalat temple. In the afternoon, you will have the option to visit this temple and hear the stories of the 37 Nats - spirits who call this place home. Meals: BLD
Cycle to Bagan via Kyauk Padaung
A flying downhill starts us off into the valley and into Kyauk Padaung. After a stop at the local tea house for snacks, we will look through the produce market before riding onto Bagan. As we ride in, the red bricks of the pagodas come into view and the become more and more numerous as we near the hotel which is located on the edge of the Bagan Plain. After lunch we will head out to a scenic spot to catch the sunset. Meals: BLD
Cycle the Pagodas of Bagan
The pagodas of the Bagan Plain are best visited early in the morning as the sandy landscape heats up by the middle of the day. We make good use of an early start and focus our visit on the temples that were built between 14th and 19th centuries: Shwezigon, Dhamagyangyi and Ananda to name a few. In the late morning we find a local restaurant to have lunch then return to the hotel where an afternoon by the pool may be a good way to unwind and enjoy the warm temperatures. Meals: BL
Note: Day 11 is the ideal timing for a sunrise hot air balloon flight over Bagan, considered some of the best ballooning in the world. We can arrange this for you. Prices are approximately US$360 per person and the balloon rides operate between 01 Oct and 15 Apr each year. Please inquire when booking on the tour if this interests you.
Tour Concludes in Bagan
The tour concludes after a hearty breakfast. Options for onward travel are many and include domestic flights from Nyaung-u Airport in Bagan (NYU). A quick 30 minute flight to Mandalay or a 50 minute flight to Yangon will bring you to your connecting international flight. For those in no hurry to leave, the beaches of Myanmar beckon. Please feel free to inquire at the time of booking about onward travel plans. Meals: B
What's the Riding Like?
Mostly flat + 2 short hills
Some dirt tracks & sand
4 days riding
224 km distance
The terrain is a mix of sealed and unsealed roads on secondary roads and quiet country lanes. We aim, wherever possible to be away from main roads with traffic and have adjusted the itinerary over time to achieve this. There is only one sustained climb over the trip, and the length of this is around 6km split into two sections with a flattish bit in between. It is important to understand that you must be comfortable with riding on rough surfaces. The dirt trails do feature holes, gravel, sand and other obstacles, while the roads are often potholed. There is always a support vehicle on hand to give you a lift if you need a break from the riding.
Coolest time: Nov-Feb
Wettest time: Jul-Aug
Our favourite: Oct-Nov
Given that Myanmar is the biggest country in 'mainland' South East Asia, (about the size of Texas, or the size of Germany and Italy put together) it should be no surprise that there are great regional differences in weather. The Wet Season in Upper Myanmar might mean rain two or three times a week while Yangon and Lower Myanmar might get it two or three times a day!
Generally the coolest time of year is from November to February, with temperatures rising to a peak in April and May. With the arrival of the rains in June temperatures fall but humidity rises. July and August are the wettest months with a return to dry conditions in November.
Our Recommendation: The combination of lower numbers of tourists together with the lush countryside that blooms from the monsoon season means October and November are great months to cycle in Myanmar.
Create Your Own Date
Don't see the date for this tour to suite your schedule? No problem - create your own date. Chose the dates that you would like to travel and as long as you are happy to open the tour to other people joining we will charge the standard tour price - no markups!
1. You must have booked and paid your deposit for travel dates that are at least 3 months in the future. This just gives us time to promote the trip and find other people to join you.
2. Create Your Own Date for this tour applies for bookings of two or more people only. If you are a solo traveller we can do our best to get a group for the dates you choose but we cannot guarantee standard pricing until we achieve a minimum of 2 people.
3. This offer is subject to availability. In peak season we may not have the capability to add tour dates to our already busy schedule.
What our guests tell us...
Just a selection of our great reviews!
We did the Kingdoms of the Irrawaddy tour, and it was just sensational. The opportunity to ride through local villages, explore temples and to experience Myanmar was unforgettable. I've travelled with Grasshopper before, and think they do an outstanding job with all aspects of the pre trip organization, enroute support, accommodation, and local knowledge, and this trip more than lived up to expectations.
We had a very nice trip traveling with Grasshopper tours in Myanmar. The staff were excellent, all of them!
It was a perfect bike trip. Well organized, surprisingly nice hotels, super friendly staff and good biking.
My friend and I did the Kingdoms of Irrawaddy cycle tour in early April and it was the most enjoyable experience! With a small group size that ensured we all received personal attention, a phenomenal local guide named Lu Wine, excellent bikes and equipment and stellar accommodation, there is really nothing I could have advised to change about this tour.
Myanmar is such a beautiful country with very warm people and great food and the best way to see it is of course by bike!!! Nay was such an amazing guide! He took care of us every step of the way even when unexpected things happened!
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