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Explore tribal villages, waterfalls and trails of northern Shan state from Lashio. Ride to beautiful Inle Lake valley and discover unique life on the lake and along its shores. Descend from fertile Shan highlands to Irrawaddy valley to visit cultural treasures of ancient kingdoms and cap the amazing trip with a loop to Chin hills and the Mt Victoria, home region of tattoo faced Chin ladies.
Your accommodation will be in various 3 or 4-stars hotels as follows:
Welcome to Myanmar! Your guide will meet you at the Mandalay International Airport (MDL) and transfer you to your hotel in town. Settle in and then enjoy free time to explore Mandalay. Welcome dinner, trip briefing, and meet the local team tonight.
Early in the morning, after checking the bikes, you start to head to the Mandalay - Lashio road that serves as a main overland way connection between Myanmar and China. In about two hours, check out the historic Goteik viaduct; a railway bridge built by the British over a century ago. Ride further to Lashio. The view of surrounding mountain valleys is great and the road is in good condition, but traffic gets quite busy in parts.
Your Lashio team will meet you near the junction between Hsipaw and Lashio and you will ride to a huge waterfall (we will need to evaluate closer to actual date whether it’s safe enough to go, given monsoon ending and situation with rains). No worries though, there are many more gorgeous places here. Arrive to Lashio town for the night and settle into your hotel.
After breakfast, you begin the day with a walk through the bustling Lashio market where you can observe ethnic minority ladies in their decorative garments trading their produce from their respective hill tribe villages. After visiting the morning market, the day’s adventure starts with a 45-minute drive from Lashio, across rural landscapes and through Palaung, Lahu, and Lisu minority villages.
After a snack in local tea shop and briefing, you take a 15-minute hike to a spectacular waterfall. This natural water park is at its best from December to May when currents are not too strong for swimming. The rest of the day, you spend exploring hidden caverns and cascades and enjoy swimming in refreshing natural pools. Packed lunch will be served by the falls. In the late afternoon, you head back to Lashio, where you can rest and enjoy free time in the evening.
Early morning ride to Pyin Oo Lwin, hill station town built by the British. Arrive in town in the afternoon and explore the tree shaded lanes with quaint colonial mansions and the lovely Botanical Garden, tea, and coffee plantations. There is also a herbal medicine farm (Fame) and factory which makes an interesting visit for the curious. For a wonderful sundowner, head to View Restaurant overlooking the multi-tiered Anisakan Waterfalls.
This morning, you drive south to Kyaukse on old Mandalay Yangon highway and take a scenic country side road to Ywagan climbing over a mountain range. After lunch in Ywagan, you head off and continue to Pindaya crossing over a limestone mountain range. You will pass through Danu minority region to Palaung and Pao peoples' area. You will recognize Pao ladies easily who wear black tunic and orange towel or scarft as turban on their heads.
Pindaya is home to a large Danu population and is well known for its limestone caves housing thousands of Buddha images. Visit the caves this afternoon and stop at an umbrella shop to see how Myanmar parasols are hand made the same way like hundreds of years ago. Settle in for the night at the charming Pindaya Inle Inn Resort.
Leave in the morning and drive from Pindaya to Inle Lake along small road scenic which travels through region that is often said to be the “Tuscany” of Myanmar. You will stop in a local village to visit farmers and to see what fruits and produce are in the season. The ride is beautiful and the fields are covered in yellow mustard flowers in November.
The road ends in Heho by a buffalo market. On a market day, you will see locals negotiating and checking out the merchandise, water buffaloes, which are local tractors used for field work everywhere in Myanmar. A short scenic ride of 45 minutes will bring you to Inle Lake valley where you spend rest of the day on the lake touring by boat and marveling life on the lake.
Witness local fishermen’s unique rowing techniques, villages built on stilts, and the floating gardens where most of Myanmar’s tomatoes come from. Try on this evening, a delicious Shan tasting menu at the best restaurant by the lake.
Early departure and long driving day to Ann town which is located between Mrauk U and Mt Victoria. There is nothing much to see in Ann. There is quite a big army base and surely some beer stations that get busy in the evening and have football on.
Wake up early for your pickup at 5 a.m. for the hot air balloon flight. Imagine flying over the ancient temples of Bagan as the sun rises in the distant horizon. Bagan hot air balloon flights are a unique experience. The flight takes normally 45 minutes to one hour depending on air currents.
After a celebratory glass of bubbly and light snack, return to your hotel for breakfast. Today's ride will take you first southbound to Chauk; the texas of Myanmar, where oil exploration was started over 100 years ago by the British. You can take a short detour to a village where locals are employed in stone carving industry.
Then, continue riding through dry and flat plains of Magway state to border lands of Chin State where lush mountain ranges and Chin Hills region begins. Your destination, Kanpetlet, is situated halfway up to the tallest peak of Mt Victoria or Nat Ma Taung as its called in Myanmar. Time permitting, you will visit some villages by Kanpetlet town.
After breakfast, drive up to the summit of Mt Victoria along a small jeep road for great views over surrounding valleys. The next stretch of the journey is an adventurous one traversing through national park forest along the mountain range and through the dense jungle. Stop at the road curves to enjoy breathtaking views of rolling mountain landscape below; and in some parts, you can be well above the clouds.
On your way, you will visit some Chin villages, of the Moon tribe. In this part of Southern Chin State, the tradition of women facial tattoo is still preserved, and you can see tattoo patterns on elderly ladies faces.
It’s possible to take the main dirt road which is rather wide, or one of the many narrow rocky trails connecting villages along the steep slopes; more challenging but fantastic views are guaranteed. Arrive in Mindat town in the late afternoon. The road is unpaved but wide at some parts. Every year, after a rainy season parts of it need to be rebuilt.
In the morning, begin the slow descent down from the hills, and ride further via Tilin, which is one of main towns in Yaw region; a hilly country side adjacent from the East to Chin Hills and populated by a mix of Burmese and Chin people.
As you pass two low lying ranges, Ponnya - Ponthaung, you return onto dry planes of Sagaing Region. Just before reaching Monywa, stop at Phowinthaung cave temples; an old Buddhist archeological site and the top place to visit in Monywa region.
This morning's ride takes you back to Mandalay. You can visit the most famous temples of Monywa with countless little Buddhas decorating the walls. Also, approximately 15 kilometers outside of Monywa, you will pass the Bodhi Tataung; which could be described as buddhalandia.
You will find here the tallest Buddha at 13 floors high, a massive reclining Buddha, and countless smaller ones. All are quite recent creations and show how keen some wealthy people have been making merit before passing onto the next life. Your guide is happy to tell more on this.
Next, you will reach Sagaing which serves as a center of monastic education in Myanmar and is home to thousands of monks. Nice views of the central plain and Ayeyarwaddy river open from the top of Sagaing Hill. Sagaing is known as a meditation centre. Myanmars all over the country would visit Sagaing for the purpose of religious retreat.
You are also going to visit a monastery to meet monks if they are free from studies and daily duties. Have a cup of tea and learn about monastic life and Theravada Buddhism practiced in Myanmar and Vipassana meditation practice. You can then try meditation yourself; usually half an hour is more than enough for beginners to try to keep their mind clear and under control.
After a lunch break, you cross the river and visit ancient kingdoms of Ava or Inwa and Amarapura, former royal capitals before Mandalay. A few remaining ancient structures are still intact. Visit U-Bein Bridge, an iconic sunset spot and head to Mandalay which is only short distance away. All fun must come to an end. Enjoy a celebratory farewell dinner with the team in a local restaurant.
No riding on this day. You will have free time until your transfer to the airport for onward departure.
You will go off the beaten trails of Myanmar: Mandalay, Lashio, Pyin Oo Lwin, Kyaukse, Ywagan, Pindaya, Inle Lake, Heho, Ann town, Bagan, Chauk, Magway State, Chin State, Chin Hills, Mt Victoria, Kanpetlet, Mindat, Monywa, Yaw Region, and Sagaing Region.
This tour includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. On the first day, you will only have dinner and on the last day, you will only have breakfast.
Mandalay International Airport
Please book your flight to arrive at Mandalay International Airport (MDL). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Discovery Destination Management will pick you up from the airport.
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