Cycle Myanmar (Burma)

Trip Code: TTXM

Why we love it

Bask in the golden glow of Yangon's giant Shwedagon Pagoda, Get off the beaten track and into Myanmar’s past cycling around Bagan's temple-strewn landscape, Ride through toddy forest towards Mount Popa, a volcano in the Pegu Range that's revered as the spiritual home of Myanmar's nats, Ditch the Gatorade and rehydrate with fresh coconut and fruit juice, Cruise along the Ayeyarwady to Mingun, a small riverside town situated at the base of an enormous temple

Is this trip right for me?

To complete this trip it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle.

While the cycling distances on this trip are relatively short and the terrain relatively flat the climate is warm and often humid so you’ll need a reasonable level of fitness to enjoy the trip – but remember we will always have the support vehicle on hand if you need to take a break for an hour or a day.

As our riding is done on a mixture of sealed and gravel roads there are no technical cycling skills required - but given the gravel sections we do suggest practicing riding off-road so you are comfortable with this once the trips begins.

There’s the possibility of a few hiccups along the way – a puncture here and there maybe – but there’s no doubt this is an incredibly rewarding adventure.

The weather in this region can be varied depending on the season. Be prepared to get sweaty and for the occasional rainstorm, which may require a change of plans.

Important information

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. Bicycle hire is included in your trip price. Please advise your height at time of booking so as we can organize a suitable sized bike.
3. Due to restrictions on the internal flights clients cannot bring their own bike on this trip.
4. Bike helmets are compulsory on this trip. We are unable to hire bike helmets locally so please ensure you bring your own bike helmet from home.
5. Please provide passport details at time of booking with name as per passport, as these are essential for booking services on this trip.
6. Intrepid can book an optional sunrise balloon ride over the Bagan (operating October to March). Please refer to the itinerary for more information. Places are limited and we recommend advance booking with your agent.

What to bring/pack

Packing for a cycling tour isn’t that different from any other adventure. But if you want to be comfortable and warm, here are a few bike-specific tips.

• Helmet – these are compulsory, but if you don’t have your own you can sometimes purchase an approved and well-fitted one at the start of the trip (our leaders can assist you with this).

There are some destinations where you are unable to purchase or hire appropriate helmets locally so you will need to bring your own - please check the 'Important Notes' section to see if this is the case.

• Padded bike shorts
• Quick-dry jerseys – you can definitely get away with a few cotton t-shirts but having a few light and breathable jerseys will make your cycling a lot more comfortable, especially in warmer/humid climates.
• Quick-dry socks
• Cycling gloves – not essential but recommended as padded cycle gloves will make your riding more comfortable and can help protect you in case of a fall.
• Rain gear – pack a light poncho in case the weather turns when you’re out on the road
• Light breathable waterproof/windproof – especially useful for those early mornings or downhill sections when the wind-chill becomes a factor.
• Water bottle – we don't provide bottles but all our bikes have one bottle holder fitted (and a second one can be fitted if required). Please bring a cycling-specific water bottle as other types will fall out of the holders. A Camelbak will make drinking on-the-go easier.
• Sunglasses – well fitted sports sunglasses help protect against dust, insects and (of course) the sun
• Day pack – our support vehicle will carry your main bag, but a day pack for snacks and clothes is a good idea.
• Suncream – please bring a high protection factor (e.g. SPF 50) sunscreen as long days in the saddle can really expose you to the sun
• Shoes – normal sports shoes can be worn on all of our trips however you may want to consider a flat shoe with a relatively stiff sole as it makes pedalling a lot more efficient. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring their own cycling-specific shoes however we recommended 'mountain bike' style shoes that have grip on the sole rather than road bike' shoes as you will still be walking around while on the rides (cafe/photo/toilet stops, etc.). For safety reasons we require that you wear shoes that completely cover the toes while riding.
• Saddles – are saddles are standard, unisex models –less experienced cyclists may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring your own saddle – our leader will assist in fitting it to your bike
• Pedals – all bikes come with flat pedals. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring their own pedals – our leader will assist in fitting them to your bike

As space in our support vehicle/transport can be limited we request that you bring only a small luggage bag with you rather than larger bags or suitcases., What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.

Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps).

If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.

You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list, CLIMATE & CLOTHING:
Myanmar has a tropical monsoon climate. The dry season runs from November to February, and during this time it can be cool, particularly in the central areas including Bagan, Myaing, Kalaw and Inle Lake. If travelling during this season is advised to bring trousers, a warm jacket and layers, especially for the evenings.
During wet season (approximately May to late October) there can be heavy rain and thunderstorms. We recommend to bring a lightweight waterproof jacket, or an umbrella.
The hottest and driest months are March and April, which experience high temperatures and high humidity. Covering, lightweight clothing is practical for travelling at any time of year in Myanmar., LOCAL DRESS:
When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Myanmar, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers or longyi and women a long skirt or sarong.
Whilst staying at our Community Lodge we ask that you show respect to the locals by wearing conservative clothing. For included cycling and hiking activities comfortable, covering clothing is recommended.
It is also necessary to remove your footwear when entering religious sites, so shoes or sandals that can easily be removed are practical.

Physical rating

3

PHYSICAL PREPARATION
There are regular rest breaks each day, however it is important to note that you will be riding over multiple and consecutive days in a climate and terrain that may be unfamiliar. While it can be tempting to start out riding as hard and fast as you can (we get it!) we recommend taking it easy on the first few days while your body gets used to the rides and the climate.

As a general rule, the more preparation you can do for this type of trip, the more you will enjoy it. Prepare for the trip by doing aerobic type exercises before travelling - jogging or swimming are some options, though cycling is best. If possible take some extended day rides before travelling, or spend time on exercise bikes in the gym. The more your muscles (and bottom) are prepared for the riding on this trip the more you will be able to enjoy the wonderful countryside and people you meet while riding. Note that an enthusiasm for bike riding and adventure is essential!

It is also important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle, both solo and in a group environment.

CYCLING DISTANCES:
The information listed in the itinerary is a guide to the approximate distances and terrain cycled each day. However, this may vary depending on the physical capabilities of the group, and changes to local conditions. For safety reasons we only cycle during daylight hours, so there may be some early morning starts. We take regular rest breaks throughout cycling days.

Joining your group

Grand Laurel Hotel, No. 153/159, Bogyoke Aung San Road (corner of 46th street), Botahtaung, Yangon, Yangon, MYANMAR, Phone: 951 398771

Grand Laurel Hotel is well located in downtown Yangon, just 1km from Sule Pagoda, and 3.2 km from the landmark Shwedagon Pagoda. The Yangon International Airport is 14 km away.

The Grand Laurel Hotel offers guest a 24-hour front desk, luggage storage, on-site laundry and ironing service and restaurant. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel. Each room is complete with air-conditioning, a minibar, a fridge, a flat-screen satellite TV and a private bathroom with a shower and hairdryer.

Joining instructions

A pre-booked airport arrival transfer is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 15 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.

There are 2 exits at Yangon Airport Terminal 1: Exit 6 & 8. Your transfer driver will be waiting for you at Exit 6.

Alternatively, taxis are readily available from the airport, and drivers will often approach you before you have left the airport. From the airport to the Grand Laurel Hotel you can expect the drive to take approximately 20 minutes (depending on traffic) and cost around USD$18.

Finishing your trip

Grand Laurel Hotel, No. 153/159, Bogyoke Aung San Road (corner of 46th street), Botahtaung, Yangon, Yangon, MYANMAR, Phone: 951 398771

A departure transfer from our hotel to the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 15 days prior to your trip start date. If you plan to stay longer, this departure transfer can only be offered in conjunction with post-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.

A taxi from the hotel to the airport should cost around $18USD, and can take anywhere from 20 minutes - 1 hour depending on traffic. Please ask your tour leader for their advice on departure time to ensure you allow sufficient time to reach your flight. You can ask your leader the hotel reception if you would like help arranging a taxi.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 12

Lunches included: 

Dinners included: 1

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

FOOD IN MYANMAR:
The food in Myanmar is described as more mild, and oily than it's neighbouring countries. We will try and give you a taste of traditional cuisine in each region, and the blend of influences including Chinese, Mon and Indian. Breakfasts are often simple (eggs, bread, jam and coffee/tea would be most common), or there may only be local breakfast available.

Many dishes in Myanmar contain peanuts, or are made with peanut oil. Please let your leader know if you have any allergies.

In addition, as tourism is developing, many restaurants are still learning to cater for foreign tourists. Your leader will assist with suggesting restaurants that follow expected food hygiene practices.

Climate & seasonal information

While the weather remains warm and dry for most of the year August and September traditionally bring the monsoon rains to Myanmar. While we continue to run cycling itineraries during this time. For the most part this means you could be riding in warm rain for periods during the day (which is quite lovely) but if it rains heavily and makes cycling too challenging then we will use the support vehicle.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below.

Intrepid’s Local Operator: +95 9 420254468

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

Transportation

While there are occasions we use local public transport such as trains, buses or taxis to cover long distances or attend non-cycling activities we predominantly use the bicycle as our main form of transport. On most of our trips we also have a support vehicle as secondary transport for travelling longer distances, avoiding hazardous areas to cycle, as a backup should we have any incidents and of course an option for those that would prefer not to cycle for an hour or a day. These vehicles range from a minivan in most regions up to a full sized coach or overland vehicle in others.

Your main luggage is transported in the support vehicle

OUR BIKES - MYANMAR
We use Trek Marlin 7 bikes on this trip. These bikes are mountain bike-style with flat bars, front suspension and 27 gears. For more specific information and sizing please see http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bikes/mountain-bikes/sport-mountain-bikes/marlin/marlin-7/p/2021600-2016

BRINGING YOUR OWN BIKE
Due to operational restrictions we are unable to offer you the opportunity to bring your own bike on this tour.

FLIGHTS:
Please provide your name as per passport 45 days prior to the departure date for flight tickets to be issued. For internal flights we fly the following safety audited airlines: Golden Myanmar Airlines, Yangon Airways, Air Kan Baw Za (KBZ) and Mann Yadanarpon Airlines. It is common for airlines to make last-minute changes to our confirmed group bookings on internal flights, and to re-book the group on earlier or later flight times than originally scheduled. In rare instances the group may be split over different flights throughout the day, and you may be unaccompanied on the internal flight. In this case you will be assisted by additional tour escorts on departure and arrival. Some flight routes are indirect, and may involve a stopover enroute to pick up additional passengers. Depending on demand, some flight routes are operated with smaller aircraft.

Checked luggage allowance on domestic flights is a maximum 20kg, with up to 5kg carry on luggage. Any excess luggage charges can be paid directly to the airline at check-in.

TAXIS:
Registered taxis have red licence plates and are readily available Make sure that the fare is agreed with the driver before you depart. Take particular care if using taxis late at night. Registered ride-sharing services operate in Yangon.

LIGHT TRUCK:
A common form of transport in Myanmar, these small trucks generally have two bench seats fixed along either side of the back of the truck facing inwards with a covered roof.

TUK TUK:
These are small three wheeled vehicles and a very common form of transport across South East Asia.

INCLUDED OR HIRE BIKES: CONDITIONS OF USE
You must not mistreat the bicycle and must return it in the same condition as when you received it (excepting ordinary wear and tear). You should immediately inform the supplier in the case of breakdown or loss. The provider is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the bicycle during the period of hire. You must also make sure that the bicycle is secured when not in use. If the equipment is lost or stolen you may be liable for the replacement value of the bicycle. The bicycle remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, rent out or part possession with the bicycle. You must not use the bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


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