Start in the former royal capital of Mandalay, cycling past ancient pagodas and through rural neighborhoods stopping to chat with locals and dine at a Buddhist nunnery. Drift down a meandering river, soaking in the views of the Shan Hills then head up to those very hills for a memorable trek through ethnic villages and highland farms. Spend a night in charming Pyin Oo Lwin, soaking up the atmosphere of this former British hill station and sampling locally-grown produce. Wrap up the journey with one last adventure, a short trek to a hidden waterfall for a swim and a picnic lunch.
|Day 1||Arrival in Mandalay||Mandalay|
|Day 2||Cycling Inwa, U Bein Bridge, and Sagaing||Mandalay|
|Day 3||Countryside Biking and River Tubing||Mandalay|
|Day 4||Mandalay - Gokteik Viaduct Train Trip - Kyaukme||Kyaukme|
|Day 5||Trekking and Homestay in the Hills||Village Homestay|
|Day 6||Trekking back to Kyaukme - Pyin Oo Lwin||Pyin Oo Lwin|
|Day 7||Waterfall Trek - Return to Mandalay|
Day 1: Arrival in Mandalay
Welcome to Mandalay, Myanmar’s former royal capital. Although a modern city in many ways, Mandalay is steeped in tradition and loaded with historic sites. We get right into it today with a walking tour, starting at a local market to browse the exotic produce on offer then continuing through a residential neighborhood to the city’s main sites. Along the way, we will stop at a local restaurant for a truly authentic Myanmar meal.
Day 2: Cycling Inwa, U Bein Bridge, and Sagaing
Transfer to the outskirts of town to escape the morning rush hour then hop on our bikes for a fabulous ride through the lanes of Inwa and Amarapura. Aside from seeing the sites, we will stop and chat with the friendly locals and discover scenes of rural village life.
Then we pedal across the mighty Irrawaddy River to Sagaing, the Buddhist center of Myanmar. A delicious picnic lunch will be served along the way before heading up to the top of Sagaing Hill for sweeping views accompanied by the sounds of bells tinkling in the temple spires.
Day 3: Countryside Biking and Waterfall Trekking
Back on the bikes today, head out to the countryside to ride through rice paddies and quiet back lanes. Arrive at a Buddhist nunnery late this morning in time for an early lunch prepared by the nuns. This is a fabulous chance to learn about Buddhism and support the community service projects of the nuns.
Then we drive a bit further into the countryside, passing through a rock quarry on the way to a hidden trail. A short by steep climb takes you to a beautiful turquoise pool at the base of a waterfall. Go for a swim or continue up another 20 min to the natural infinity pool at the top of the falls.
After cooling off, return to the car and drive back to Mandalay (app 45 min driving)
Day 4: Mandalay - Gokteik Viaduct Train Trip - Kyaukme
Today is a travel day, leaving from Mandalay and driving to Pyin Oo Lwin where we then board a train to Kyaukme. This stunning train journey crosses over the Gokteik Viaduct, a historic rail trestle with jaw-dropping views, and passes through many small villages. After disembarking we head to our simple but clean hotel for the evening.
Day 5: Trekking and Homestay in the Hills
This morning we take a stroll through the vibrant Kyaukme market then transfer by tuk tuk away from town. Once in the hills, we commence our trek, walking through villages inhabited by the Shan, Palaung and Pa-oh people. Fabulous views of the Shan Hills will be seen throughout the day with plenty of time to stop for photos.
This evening we will sleep in a family home or monastery. Although the accommodation is basic (mattresses on the floor, bedding, shared squat-style toilet outside) the experience is unforgettable.
Day 6: Trekking back to Kyaukme - Pyin Oo Lwin
We wake up early this morning, enjoying a local breakfast before resuming our trek. The morning is filled with more breath-taking vistas and chance encounters with farmers and families.
After lunch time we’ll return to Kyaukme and collect our bags. Then it’s back down the road to Pyin Oo Lwin, a former British hill station that still echoes of hits colonial past. We’ll take a short walking tour around town, stopping to sample a fresh juice from the nearby farms then head to a local restaurant for our final night dinner.
Day 7: Waterfall Trek - Return to Mandalay
After breakfast at the hotel, we head out on our last adventure. We transfer south of Pyin Oo Lwin town and then lace up our boots for a walk down to Dat Taw Gyaint Waterfall. The walk is short and downhill and when we reach the bottom a stunning waterfall awaits.
Relax in the cool breeze from the falls or jump in one of the clear pools for a swim. We have plenty of time to soak up the natural beauty and a light picnic-style lunch of local foods will be served on sight.
Once we have had our fill of fresh air we trek up the hill to where our car is waiting for the drive back to Mandalay. The tour concludes with a drop off at your hotel.