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Cycling Yangon and Southern Myanmar

Take an unforgettable cycling adventure through rural Myanmar. Delve deep into the culture with a pilgrimage to the sacred Golden Rock. Experience local lifestyles with a ride around charming Bilu Island. And savour the beauty of Myanmar’s landscapes while cycling through endless rice paddies and limestone mountains.Within 10 days, explore Yangon and southern Myanmar with Sonasia Holiday

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • Spend a week biking through rural and might Myanmar
  • Cycle Mawlamyine and its surroundings, exploring the landscape
  • Take part in a spiritual pilgrimage and ride through small villages

Unforgettable moments

  • Chance to appreciate the culture and landscape at a slower pace
  • Uncover the hidden Myanmar for a better understanding of culture
  • Get a closer look at Myanmar to connect with local culture

Nature exploration

  • Enjoy the Burmese countryside from small plantations and tiny villages
  • Passing under Saddan stone cave and amongst endless paddy fields
  • Explore cave with thousands of Buddha images of various size and shape

Culture experience

  • Visit local market, pass mosques and colorful Hindu temples
  • Enjoy breathtaking views of golden stupa from the vantage point
  • Discover Golden Rock - one of Myanmar's main pilgrimage sites

Map

Detailed schedule

Day 1 - Welcome to Yangon

Upon arrival at Yangon International Airport, Sonasia’s guide & driver will pick you up and transfer directly to the hotel in Yangon.

First impressions of Yangon are usually memorable. Its unique blend of rich colonial heritage, conspicuous spirituality and make unique cultural vibes make it one of the most fascinating cities in Southeast Asia.
 

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Day 2 - Yangon - Exploration

The tour begins at the bike depot. Here, clients will be fitted for their bikes and have a chance to test drive before taking off. Leaving the depot, the tour soon loses itself in a maze of alleys around Shwedagon Pagoda. We’ll pass by vendors hawking all sorts of colorful flowers, monk’s robes, and shimmering Buddha statues. The route then heads to Kandawgyi Park. Cycle through trails and over wooden bridges as we circle this picturesque lake in the center of the city.

From Kandawgyi, we’ll delve into the back roads of Yangon. Along the way, we’ll visit a tea shop to experience a daily staple of life in Myanmar, drinking tea. Ride to a local market, past mosques and colorful Hindu temples. Suddenly we will find ourselves in a ‘local village’. Anything can happen as we cycle through this little visited community. We will cross the railway tracks (clients will need to carry their bikes roughly 25 meters, guide will assist) and head south.

Eventually, we’ll pop out near the Yangon River. From here, we’ll have great views as we continue along the water and experience life at the port.

Heading north, we’ll pass by monasteries and stupas on our way to Yangon’s most recognizable landmark, Shwedagon Pagoda. Finally, we’ll cycle directly past Shwedagon and enjoy breathtaking views of the golden stupa from this vantage point. A short cycle takes us to the bike depot to complete the tour.

You are then free for the rest of the day. 
 

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Day 3 - Yangon - Bago - Kyaikhtiyo

After breakfast, we will transfer to Bago, which is located 80kms to the northeast of Yangon, and served as the capital of the Mon Kingdom of Lower Myanmar during the 15th century. Our short visit to Bago begins at Shwethalyaung Temple which houses a beautiful 55-meter long reclining Buddha.  Continue to the Mon-style Shwemawdaw Pagoda, one of the most venerated in Myanmar and whose 114-meter spire is taller than the one at Shwedagon Pagoda. 

We continue our transfer as far as Waw in the Mon State. From here we change to pedal power and enjoy the Burmese countryside as your surroundings alternate from small plantations and tiny villages. We will have plenty of opportunity to interact with the locals as the roadside vendors are ready to sell you anything from watermelons to gasoline.

We enjoy a local lunch along the way.

Then it’s time to continue cycling until we reach the town of Kinpun, also known as ‘basecamp’ for the journey to the Golden Rock. From the base of the mountain we will be transported by a local, open-air truck along a winding road for around 45 minutes and dropped off near the top before continuing on foot to Golden Rock.

A huge boulder covered by over 60 tons of gold leaf and delicately balanced on the edge of a cliff; Golden Rock is one of Myanmar's main pilgrimage sites.  The pagoda here is said to hold a hair of the Buddha and Buddhists from across the country come here to pay homage. 
 

Notes
  • Cycling distance up to: 68KM
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Day 4 - Kyaikhtiyo - Thaton

This morning there is the option to visit the Golden Rock again to see the rising sun and cast its rays upon the rock.

Local pilgrims gather by the rock to make offerings in the solitude of the morning.

Then, return to base camp by foot and open-air truck.

Today we start our ride from Kyaikhto (a 15 mins transfer from the base camp) and head southeast to Tha Hton. In the 3rd century BC, Tha Hton was the capital of the Mon State. Its port was tactically placed as it is situated directly east of Yangon, across the Gulf of Moattama. To the Burmese, however, Tha Hton is known as a spiritual land as it is the origin of the country’s specific form of Buddhism, the Theravada practice. Myanmar is the final remaining country in the world that this form of Buddhism is still practiced. Theravada Buddhism is known as the oldest form of Buddhism and today we will cycle to its ancient origins.

We will arrive Thahton around noon and check in to the hotel and take the refreshment before dinner.

Notes
  • Cycling distance up to: 68km 
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Day 5 - Thaton - Mawlamyine

After breakfast, we begin riding to Mawlamyaing, the first capital of British Burma between 1827 and 1852.

Once known as Moulemein, as written by Rudyard Kipling in his poem Mandalay, the city still retains some of the atmosphere of the colonial times.

We enjoy a local lunch along the way.

In the afternoon, we will arrive in Mawlamyaing and proceed to Mahamuni Pagoda, built in traditional Mon-style and also Kyaikthanlan Pagoda, the city's tallest and most visible stupa. Continue to the beautiful Seindon Mibaya, a wooden monastery over 100 years old. Walk along the town’s Strand Road for a glimpse of the impressive Kaladan Mosque, which was built during the colonial era when many Indians came to work for the British in Mawlamein.

To end the day we head to a temple for a view point that overlooks the town, the Thanlwin River and Belu Island as the sun sets in the background.

Tonight, we savor a Traditional Mon style dinner at a local restaurant.
 

Notes
  • Cycling distance up to: 68km 
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Day 6 - Mawlamyine - Bilu Island

After breakfast, we ride across a new bridge called Bogyoke Aung San Bridge to Bilu Island (aka Ogre Island). Bilu Island, known as Ta Kaw Sa Man in Mon, which translates to ‘Ogre Island’. We will ride around the island passing through local villages and also have the opportunity to observe local lifestyle and visit traditional handicraft workshops producing wooden pipes, bamboo hats, rubber bands and small blackboards.

Lunch at a local restaurant or a packed lunch will be provided.

After completing a full loop of the island, we then return back to Mawlamyaing by coach.

Notes
  • Cycling distance up to: 50km 
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Day 7 - Mawlamyine - Hpa An

After a leisurely morning wandering around Mawlamyaing and perhaps visiting the central market, we will return to our saddle and begin peddling towards Hpa An.

Hpa An is a small town surrounded by beautiful limestone rock formations and is the capital of the Karen state.

En-route, first we will visit Kawhnat-Kadoe, the village of U Nar Ouk. During the colonial times, U Nar Ouk ran a local ferry boat company and fell into competition with the famed Ayeyarwaddy Flotila group.

A price-war ensued, resulting in free ferry travel for all locals. This business tale is famous in Myanmar and taught in the text books of all primary school children. 

Visit to the monastery, built and donated by U Nar Ouk, where we still can see many ancient arts and crafts for decoration.

Local lunch will be served along the way.

This afternoon, we will arrive in Hpa An. Upon arrival we will transfer to the jetty and take a free boat ride across the river to the foot of Par Pu Mountain. We can take an optional 30-minute walk to the top to have stunning views of Hpa An below.
 

Notes
  • Cycling distance up to: 77km 
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Day 8 - Hpa An - Exploration

Set off by bike to visit Shwe Yin Mhyaw Pagoda, located on the bank of Thanlwin River today. We continue to Hpa An market, a vibrant place selling fresh vegetables, meats and household goods. We then continue cycle until we reach Eindu village where we rest and take lunch.

Lunch at local restaurant or lunch box will be provided.

In the afternoon, we ride to Saddan Cave for some exploration, a natural cave that can be traversed by a 20-minute walk through a long dark tunnel (there is Electricity) until we reach the light of day. From the exit we take a short canoe ride passing under a stone cave and amongst endless paddy fields surrounded by lush landscape.

Afterwards, we continue to Lumbini Garden home of a thousand of Buddha Images located at the base of Mt. Zwekabin, this uniquely-shaped mountain is important for local Karen people. Next up is Kyauk Kalatt Pagoda, which is built on layers of natural rock formations and Flanked by a Lake. The scenery guarantees a great photo opportunity. we’ll witness a splendid sunset at Kyauk Kalatt Pagoda. After sunset we ride back to hotel and freshen up before dinner. 
 

Notes
  • Cycling distance up to: 54km 
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Day 9 - Hpa An - Yangon

Spend this morning relaxing and resting our legs and then drive back to Yangon. On the way we visit Kawgun Cave, two miles from Hpa An township. It’s a natural limestone cave and measures 200 feet high and 300 feet in length. Inside the cave there are thousands of Buddha images of various sizes and shapes in ancient styles, carved out of the stone. The scenery is amazing as we travel through the countryside and small townships.  

Upon arrival at Yangon, transfer to hotel.
 

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Day 10 - Yangon - departure

Spend this morning relaxing before transfering to the airport for your departure flight.
 

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Myanmar BLOG ARTICLES

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The “unlocking” statuses vary widely. Travelers entering Asian countries may be required to do everything from going into quarantine, submitting negative COVID-19 test results, presenting proof of health insurance, and proof of vaccination (known a vaccine passports).

There is an understandable uncertainty with how you should travel to the Asian region if you are planning to. This is why we present you the list of 19 Asian countries, along with details on the current travel situation. As each country applies precisely defined regulations, you should always check the official websites listed in the article below for the latest government announcements.

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Myanmar will resume international passenger flights from April 17, the military said on Saturday, lifting a two-year ban on foreign tourists.

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Thanaka or  thanakha is a yellowish-white cosmetic paste made from ground bark. It is a distinctive feature of the culture of Myanmar, seen commonly applied to the face and sometimes the arms of women and girls, and is used to a lesser extent also by men and boys. The use of thanaka has also spread to neighboring countries including Thailand.

Within this article, we will learn everything about Thanaka and the benefits of its powder in making a secret beauty ingredient of Burmese women.

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Burmese Longyi, along with the country’s longtime history, art, and heritage sites has contributed to the richness of the local culture that will grasp your attention whenever you find yourself in strolling around the streets of Myanmar. With just a piece of fabric grasping on the lower part of the body through time, the longyi has made it become an incredible pattern of Myanmar traditional costume for both men and women. In this article, we are going to find out the secret of Myanmar quintessence through Longyi, about why it has been worn for centuries by the Burmese people.

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