Day 1: Chieng Mai – Mae Sot – 420 km
It is a long but excellent ride from Chiang Mai to Mae Sot, the border town where we cross over into Myanmar. We spend one night in Mae Sot before entering the Mon State of Burma the following morning.
Dinner and overnight in a Hotel stay.
Day 2: Crossing Border to Myanmar ( Burma )- 180 km
We cross into Burma and make our way across the Dawna Mountain Range on a road so narrow it can only handle one-way traffic – the flow has to be reversed on alternate days.
We sleep in Kyaikhto, a small town at the base of the Golden Rock.
Dinner and overnight in hotel
Day 3: Kyaikhto Ride to Yangon – 200 km
Today’s highlight is an early visit to the Golden Rock, one of Burma’s holiest and most famous shrines. The Golden Rock is a giant, gold-gilded boulder precariously balanced on the peak of a mountaintop. It supposedly stays propped up as it does because a single strand of the Buddha’s hair is encased in the stupa built atop the Golden Rock and this brings the Golden Rock into heavenly balance.
The Golden Rock is one of Burma’s most sacred Buddhist sites and you will see religious pilgrims from all over the country and the rest of the Buddhist world. This is a fantastic place for people watching; one of the true spectacles of humankind.
After we finish with the Golden Rock, we drive to the outskirts of the old capital city, Yangon, for a 2-night stay. Unfortunately we must leave our motorcycles on the outskirts of Yangon because motorcycles are not permitted inside the city. Despite this, Yangon must not be skipped over even on a motorcycle trip into Burma.
Overnight in Yangon – Hotel stay.
Day 4: Yangon Sightseeing
Today is a sightseeing day in Yangon and there is a lot to cram in. We start the day off with a visit to Asia’s most important and dazzling religious monument, the Shwedagon Paya. Wander around and you will witness endless instances of touching religious devotion by the devotees who flock there to earn merit. Fantastic photos are everywhere and anywhere you point your camera. (The Shwedagon Paya is so mesmerizing you might want to return here in the evening for another session.)
Another don’t-miss attraction is Scott’s Market. Over 2,000 shops sell everything under the sun, including antiques, gems, textiles, lacquerware, artwork, etc. In fact, the entire range of traditional crafts that Burma has perfected over the centuries is available at prices not to be believed. Even if you hate shopping you will love Scott’s Market.
These two places are enough to fill the day, but several other excursions are planned to Yangon’s other highlights. Probably the most enjoyable thing you can do is simply wander around the streets of old Yangon on your own and at your leisure and soak in the sights, sounds, and smells of one of the most exotic cities in all of Asia.
We spend a second night in Yangon.
Day 5: Yangon Ride To Pyay -280 km
Our destination is Pyay, an important small city on the Irrawaddy River. Pyay is also famous for another large hilltop temple with stunning views across the wide river valley. And there is the huge, ancient Sri Kshetra stupa to visit, situated inside an ancient city undergoing restoration.
Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 6 and Day 7 :Ride to Bagan and City visiting – 350 km
We’re off for a two-night stay in Bagan, another one of the signature stops in all of Southeast Asia. Bagan is often compared to Angkor in Cambodia for the breadth and scope of the antiquities; over 2,200 temples spread across 100 square kilometers. It would be impossible to visit them all but we will ride our motorcycles to the most important and interesting ones.
Several small towns are situated within the Bagan Archeological zone and the locals are friendly and hospitable to strangers, especially those who arrive on motorcycles and have some money to spend on trinkets.
Bagan is another one of those point-you-camera-anywhere-and-shoot places.
Dinner and Overnight in Hotel.
Day 8 : Bagan Ride To Mandalay – 150 km
There just isn’t a lot of tourist infrastructure in Burma at this point, so we are forced to overnight in Monwa, a smallish town on the road to Mandalay. Few foreigners have a reason to visit Monwa so it is relatively untouched. A walk through Monwa’s back streets might wind up being one of those unforgettable moments on a tour filled with them.
Overnight in hotel.
Day 9 and Day 10 :Mandalay Exploring
We spend two nights in Mandalay, Burma’s second-largest city and its last capital before British domination began. It is a hustling, bustling place but easy to find your way around because the British laid out the city on a grid. Mandalay is also Burma’s cultural capital.
A scenic temple on top of the hill in the center of town is definitely worth a visit. And watching the activity on the banks of the Irrawaddy River that flows through the city is a scene little changed from biblical days.
Mandalay has their own unique cuisine and we will sample some of the most flavorful dishes during our stay.
Mandalay is another one of those cities where just wandering around is eminently enjoyable.
Dinner and Overnight in hotel.
Day 11 and Day 12 : Mandalay – Inle Lake – 250 km
Inle Lake is a delightful stop and worthy of a two night stay. The lake dwellers, who predominantly belong to the Intha ethnic group, have worked out a unique way to garner subsistence from the lake’s waters—they build floating gardens on top of the water in a low-tech version of hydroponics. It works real well because the produce it produces is delicious.
The Inthas build their homes high above the lake’s surface on wooden posts driven into the lake bed. Entire towns have no connection to the land at all, and below everyone’s house is tied a canoe or two because there is no other way to get around. Even the children have kid-sized canoes.
The Inthas have also worked out a unique way of propelling their boats—they row them with one leg and this frees up their hands to fish and cast throw nets.
A cruise around the lake is scheduled when we arrive and the following day there is a terrific day ride to some secluded antiquities and hilltribe villages on the far side of the lake.
Hotel stay in Inle Lake
Day 13 : Inle Lke Ride To Shan State – 280 km
Today we head into newly-opened-up terrain in the Shan State and overnight in the tiny town of Mongping.
Few foreign travelers have ever entered these lands. We ride into high ountains and today is the best riding we will experience on this tour. We start to encounter hilltribes in many varieties mixed up with the predominant ethnic group, the Shans, a very old race themselves. The first city of note is Taunggyi, situated high up on a mountain ridge. The people there are famous for their ruby processing and cutting.
Our sleeping quarters tonight are in a simple guesthouse because there simply are not any other lodging facilities available. To say we are in a remote region of the world is a tremendous understatement. And what better to get there than on a motorcycle.
Dinner and Stay overnight in hotel.
Day 14: Explore Shan Capital – 90 km
We spend most of this day and the night in the old Shan capital of Kengtung. Kengtung was once a small kingdom in its own right and the predominant population here is a Thai-speaking people. Several beautiful temples survived the ethnic cleansings of the military junta. And another highlight is the big market in the center of town.
Dinner and stay overnight in hotel.
Day 15 : Back to Thailand Border – 160 km
Today we reenter Thailand at its most northern point, Mae Sai, and return to a civilization we are more accustomed to.
Dinner and stay overnight in hotel in Mae Sai
Day 16 : Mae Sai – Chieng Mai – 320 km
Return to Chiang Mai and tour is over.