Arrive in Mandalay and be transported to your hotel. If you are there early enough there is time to explore before the meeting at the hotel bar and dinner. Over a couple of beers we can talk about the ride ahead.
Old Royal Capitals and the road to Monywa
We ride out of Mandalay crossing the U Bein bridge on the way to Sagaing which has the highest concentration of monasteries in Myanmar. We continue on to Monywa and arrive in time for a swim or stroll in the neighbourhood.
The day starts by visiting the Phowinthuang cave system a centuries old architectural site. Move on through the plains of Sagaing and a noticeable change in the landscape. The area is populated by a mixture of Burmese and Chin people we pass through Tillin and in the afternoon ride through rolling forest hills arriving in Mindat for the night.
Mt Victoria and Kanpetlet
Continuing south today on route to Kanpetlet through beautiful mountain scenery. The road winds up to Mt Victoria the tallest peak in the Chin State. The road leads through jungle and we park the bikes and walk around 300m to the summit. We are at around 3000M above sea level and there are Rhodadendron forests around. Riding for an hour or so more we come to Kantpetlet.
Descending down to the plains through great scenery we head for Bagan where we will have a rest day and explore. Bagan has been granted UNESCO status there are simply thousands of temples and stupas.
Today we continue exploring with e-bikes. As Bagan has a particular regulation forbidding foreigners riding motorcycles in the town. Today we take on the smaller trails connecting villages and temples to show you some of the hidden treasures of this World Heritage site. There are over 3000 temples and monasteries, dating back to 11-13th centuries dotting the vast plain.
Today is a long day and so an early start. After breakfast, we drive out for an hour to old volcano Mt Popa and its volcanic plug which has become one of the most important pilgrimage sites for “nat” spririts worshippers in Myanmar. From Mt. Popa, we continue drive to Shan highland. The road pass through a flat region of Central Myanmar known as ancient heartland of Bamar people from where they settled all across the Ayeyarwaddy river basin. Through Thazi and Meikhtila towns we make it up the serpentine and mountain views again, this time of a Shan plateau. You will arrive in the old British Hillstation of Kalaw at around 1000M in the late afternoon.
Today we will drive to Loikaw, the capital of Kayah State. First we drive in the direction to Pin Laung which is famous for its amazing 360-degree views of breathtaking hills. It is well known for its tea, coffee and pears. There’s a century old sawbwa house still left but in a bad shape, part of it collapsed after years of neglect. After 20 minutes of climbing a narrow mountain road there’s a nice viewpoint opening to the surrounding Karst mountains and endless forest. After lunch near Pinlaung we continue the ride to Loikaw where we will be arriving in the afternoon.
Today we will be exploring the area beginning the day with riding roughly 1,5 hours to Panpet group of villages - home of a few tribes of Kayan people here the ladies still wear brass coils around their necks. We can make a short hike in surrounding hills through Kayan ancestral lands to learn more about local culture. In the afternoon we head back to Loikaw for a barbeque and a beer at a riverside restaurant.
On this day, we drive to Inle lake passing some hidden tribal Lisu and Pao villages on the way. If we have time there are waterfall to visit. After Loiswan town we turn onto smaller roads eventually arriving in Nyaung Shwe. There are options to do a little off road tracks today we will see how everyone feels about that.
In the morning we ride around the lake checking out some of the sites before riding into the mountains. This area is often referred to as the Tuscany of Myanmar. We head for Pindaya cave that houses thousands of golden Buddha images. We ride on through the Danu region considered to be some of the first settlers in Myanmar. In the late afternoon we awill arrive at Ywangan.
Pyin Oo Lwin
We take the scenic road from Ywangan climbing over the mountains to Myogyi. Following the road through plains and then along a river valley before arriving at Pyin Oo Lwin. This was the summer capital for the British in colonial times and was called Maymo. There are shaded roads and mansions to see and a cooler climate than nearby Mandalay.
A short ride to Mandalay allowing the morning to check out more of our surroundings. We will have the usual farewell dinner and recount the many things we have seen and done.