Day 1 Yangon
Arrive anytime today. An arrival transfer is included. Today is arrival day so there are no activities planned. You are therefore free to relax and explore the city. Please try to arrive before 6pm for an important group meeting where you can meet the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. Please note that most nationalities requires a visa to enter Myanmar (Burma), please double check this with your travel agent or local Myanmar Embassy prior to your arrival. Following this we have an optional group dinner where you can sample some of the local cuisine.
Day 2 Nyaung Shwe (1B)
Leave Yangon this morning and fly north to Heho. From here, then travel by road a further one-hour to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway village to Inle Lake. Take the rest of the day to explore Nyaung Shwe. Wander the numerous side streets, stupas and restaurants around the town.
Day 3 Inle Lake (1B)
Bike out to Inle Lake today, your first experience of cycling around Burma. Firstly, take a boat down the canal to Inle Lake. Pass villages built on stilts over the lake, inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the leg-rowing fishermen and see their floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles. Inle Lake is the land of the Intha people. These people are known as leg-rowers and as architects of floating villages and gardens. The life of the Intha, who originally came from the south of Burma, revolves completely around the lake. In the afternoon, cycle around the lake itself. Stop for lunch with a local Intha family and admire the views across the lake as we follow the road past paddy fields and tiny villages along the cycle.
Day 4 Kalaw (1B, 1L)
Back in the saddle today for more cycling around Inle Lake. On the way, pass the village of Indien, famous for an icon of buddha on a hill surrounded by a variety of stupas. The bustling market here is rightly renowned, and a good place to stop for a while to relax. Continue on from Indien to the hill station of Kalaw for the night.
Day 5 Pindaya (1B)
Transfer back to Heho this morning, before getting back on the bike to being the cycle to Pindaya. The small town is dominated by the limestone caves that are the most famous site here. Passing the Shwe U min Paya pagoda, the 500 foot caves are filled with thousands of images of buddha, many dating back centuries. The images of buddha are in a variety of materials, from cement to marble. Even wandering into the smaller caves from the main area you might see monks in prayer.
Days 6-7 Mandalay (2B,1L)
Change from two wheels to two feet the next day, with a trek up into the villages in the hills around Pindaya. The scenery around the hills here is quite spectacular, among the best that Burma has to offer. From here, transfer to Mandalay. Day 7 is free to discover the history and culture of Mandalay. Start at the base of Mandalay Hill and visit Shwe Nandaw Kyuang (Golden Palace Monastery) which is noted for its intricate wood carvings and to Kayuk Taw Gyi Pagoda to view the huge marble Buddha. The marble is from Sagyin quarry and took 10,000 men almost two weeks to transfer the rock from the riverside to its current location. Finally visit Kuthodaw Pagoda, home to ‘the world’s largest book’, a collection of more than 700 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings. We then continue to Mahamuni Pagoda which is known for its lumpy Buddha statue. You can also visit some of the craft shops in the area. In the late afternoon head to Mandalay Hill to walk (or take the lift) to the top to see the views over the city, countryside and Irrawaddy River.
Day 8 Monywa (1B, 1L)
Back on the bike today, leaving Mandalay behind and heading for Monwya. Pass through the former Ava Kingdom, that once ruled upper Burma before arriving at the city of Sagaing. The city is known for numerous Buddhist monasteries, so we stop here to wander around the many sites. Looking along the river, pagodas sprout from the trees puncturing the skyline. Continue on to Monywa by bus, and spent the evening there. There are many impressive sites in Monywa, including the Thambuddhei Paya, a huge buddhist temple that dominates the city.
Day 9 Bagan (1B,1L)
Crossing the Chindwin River, cycle out to Lingadaw this morning. This beautiful ride wheels through the lush, verdant countryside passing run down old temples, market stalls selling fruit, and open farmland. It's a fairly flat ride today, so take some time to enjoy the scenery as you pass. From Lingadaw, transfer to Bagan by bus.
Day 10 Popa (1B,1L,1D)
A long challenging day on the bike today, as we negotiate the roads on the way to Mt. Popa. A pilgrimmage site for many in Burma, this volcano is visible from up to 60km away and a central part of the culture here. The cycle here covers almost 50km, and although the route is striaght, it's worth it, and with Mt. Popa looming overhead it's easy to see our destination as we ride. Spend the night here, and watch pilgrims making their way to the mountain for the hike to the summit.
Days 11-12 Bagan (2B)
Return to Bagan today, taking a different route. Stop off at the town of Kyauk Padaung. The rocky outcrops and mountains surrounding the town provide a dramatic backdrop to Kyauk Padaung. Spend the nigh tin Bagan, before a full day exploration of the area. The journey begins with a visit to an elevated temple from where you will have a panoramic view of the magnificent plains of Bagan. Continue to the colorful Nyaung Oo Market where every day the locals come to buy and sell fresh produce and other goods before visiting the golden stupa of Shwezigon Pagoda for an introduction in to Bagan’s rich history. Then, visit to nearby Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi, a cave temple with exquisite jataka mural paintings and the elegant Htilominlo Temple noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations. We’ll then visit a local monastery for a special monk blessing.
Day 13 Yangon (1B)
Transfer to the airport, fly to Yangon. Free afternoon.
Day 14 Yangon (1B)
Depart at any time.