3 of the best cycling routes in Myanmar (Burma)

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Burma is a huge country with dramatic landscapes. There are remote dusty savannahs dotted with villages, and stilted houses atop vast lakes. Tangled forests, and an archipelago's white beaches. Flat plains housing thousands of pagodas, and steep mountains leaning in to deep valleys... Phew! Where to start? On two wheels we reckon.

Biking

1. Cycling through Bagan

Burma trip September 2014

The plains of Bagan are simply spectacular. With jaw-dropping scenery and flat roads that wind past, through, and around countless pagodas, hopping on the humble bicycle is the best way to appreciate this unique landscape.

The freedom of two wheels means you can hop off and explore any one of the thousands of stupas that take your fancy. Take regular shady breaks and the occasional spontaneous detour to make the most of this experience. Often e-bikes are also touted. A welcome alternative to a push bike on a hot day that are more akin to scooters than electric bikes. Double check your travel insurance to make sure you’recovered, just in case.

2. Cycling to Dhala and Twante

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Starting from the bustling city of Yangon, take to the water on a ferry to the quiet village of Dhala. From here you can jump on two wheels in search of Twante, a township that was once home to George Orwell. Cycle through rural villages, past rice paddies and spot houses tucked away in the heart of bamboo forests.

Rest your legs with a break at the Yadana Labamuni Hsu-taungpye Paya, otherwise known as the Snake Temple. Pilgrims travel from far and wide to see Burmese pythons - thought to be reincarnations of local monks - sprawl through the temple. Lovingly cared for and completely harmless, you won't forget meeting the snakes in a hurry. After become acquainted with these new scaly friends, cycle on to Twante and grab some lunch before boarding a boat back to Yangon.

3. Cycling Middle Burma (Myanmar)

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While it’s true that flying domestically in Burma is as easy as hopping on a bus in many other countries, the slow and steady cycle between Mandalay and Bagan is well worth seeing from two wheels. Travel with a guide to make the most of the journey; they are well-versed in the twists and turns of the route and will keep you on track.

They also have the benefit of a handy back-up vehicle to relieve you of your luggage. The highlight of this trip is stopping in Monywa. While there are thousands of Buddhas throughout Burma, the second tallest standing Buddha in the world - accompanied by a reclining Buddha that stretches along the horizon - really is something else.

Daydreaming about hitting the open road with nothing but a mountain bike, a glorious mountainous backdrop and the odd friendly face to help you on your way? Our team has a fair few Burma bike rides under their belt and are happy to help. Do get in touch.

Cycling around Mandalay 11

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