7 Days 6 Nights
A memorable, active family adventure by bike through one of the most intriguing destinations in Southeast Asia. Seven days of activities, cycle touring, sights and adventure travel in Myanmar, that will have the family talking for years to come!
This family bike tour departs from Yangon to Bagan
A family adventure through the exciting country of Myanmar, this excursion is a great way for the whole family to get to know the country.
Starting from the beautiful Inle Lake we cycle through the highlands of the Shan state, concluding at the plains of Bagan. The trip has a great deal of scenic diversity and a range of fun activities, including light kayaking, biking, walking, boating and even a scavenger hunt to add to the excitement. We pack a lot into seven days, but you’ll never feel rushed on this trip. It’s all about balance and keeping the kids engaged.
We meet in the domestic terminal of the Yangon Airport at 9am. There are a number of inbound international flights that will get you there in time. The flight and subsequent drive up to Inle takes around two hours, so by 1pm, we'll be enjoying our first Myanmar meal before we try out the bikes. In the late afternoon, we take a ride of the countryside surrounding the town of Nyaung Shwe to see what the locals are up to. There is always lots happening and often we encounter some snack vendors, selling freshly made treats. We conclude back at the hotel to enjoy a delicious dinner.
A great day of adventure awaits! We set out while there is still a little mist on top of the hills around the lake and as the markets are still in full swing. We ride around the lake on a quiet road that hugs the shore. In the first sizeable village, we find our kayaks and while the bikes are motored away on a boat, we kayak peacefully through the stilt villages and floating gardens. It is a really lovely experience and instead of chugging through people's front yards, we glide through eliciting giggles from the locals. If the rotating market roster permits, we can stop and visit a bustling local market that sets up in a different location each day and we might even visit the Burmese Cat House. We paddle all the way to an early lunch, then after a short rest, we ride up along the east bank to return to the hotel.
After breakfast, we will farewell Inle and drive up the winding mountain road to exit the valley. Up in the hills, the landscape feels quite different with rolling fields off into the distance and farmers working them with cattle and traditional plows. We find a quiet place to set up and then enjoy a scenic ride on rolling hills, on a mostly downward trend, into the next valley where Pindaya sits. This is not a well-known town, but it is in a lovely position at the foot of limestone cliffs, set by a lake. After checking into our accommodation, we can visit the town's main attraction, the Golden Cave, where hundreds of Buddha statues occupy this extensive cave and where something of a fairy tale is set, involving princesses in distress, giant spiders and a saviour prince.
We make an early start with a breakfast box as we have a 45 minute drive to the airport for a short flight to Mandalay. Arriving late morning, we check into the hotel that sits next to Mandalay Hill and is named after the same. Lunch is had nearby and as the afternoon cools down a little, we set out on foot. Climbing the hill is a popular activity with locals for their afternoon exercise and tourists for the hilltop view. We are going to add a dimension by completing a scavenger hunt along the way. We'll learn a bit about Theravada Buddhism and also some Mandalay History as the town begins to reveal itself through our climb. Cold drinks, and prizes await us at the top of the hill as well as some great views. As the sun sets, we'll pile into the car for the trip back down.
Downstream on the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay is Ava, the ruins of a walled city that was the seat of power for Burmese regimes between the 14th and 19th centuries. Today, it is almost like a large, walled garden with a few ruins still remaining. It is a charming place for a bike ride on traffic-less backroads and trails where we enjoy some shade and get to stop and chat with local villagers. We'll stop along the way to see a few village industries like copper bowl making and mat weaving as well as some more food related stops. It is a full and fun morning of riding, learning and eating, so when it is time to take the 3.5 hour drive to Bagan, you will be more than ready for some relaxing time in the van.
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 four most remarkable temples: Shwezigon, Sulamani, Htilominlo, Dhammayazika. Don't worry about getting "templed out", these structures are amazing and whilst the adults might like to hear the full story, the kids will find lots of interest in clambering around the grounds and interiors. In the late morning we find a shady tree to enjoy lunch under and then have an afternoon for free time before we board a little boat out on the Irrawaddy River to take in sunset with snacks and drinks.
Note: Day 6 or 7 are ideal timing for Balloons Over Bagan, a professional ballooning operation based in Bagan. They run sunrise balloon flights that are 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.
On this last ride of the tour, we don't visit any temples this morning. Our focus is more on the villages and what the villagers are making. We ride over to Nyaung U, the main commercial area of Bagan, and stop in on some village workshops and factories. Here we are among a collection of British colonial-era buildings that are still quite intact. We take a short ride on the local style rickshaw to explore the busier areas, then head back to the hotel by car for a shower. Check out time is extended just slightly and the tour concludes with lunch. From Bagan, flights to Yangon are relatively frequent as are those to the coast and Ngapali Beach. Please feel free to inquire at the time of booking about onward travel plans which are best made well in advance.