Going back again to Myanmar with a bicycle was sounding like a too big dream to accomplish a few months ago. But after many conversations with friends, I realized that I was stating that this was my ultimate travel dream now: a bike trip in Myanmar, my favorite country, to do one of the things I enjoyed the most while there: ride a bicycle.
I know that riding a bicycle in Myanmar means happy days, that’s why unconsciously I was saying this to friends. Until the day I thought why not? And that is the secret of making it happen: Just do it! Like Nike says, that’s why they are what they are.
I was afraid it was too difficult but decided to go for it anyway. Writing this article now I realize that all the fears weren’t necessary, but as always, you only realize it once it is done. But I wasn’t afraid of what I will find during this bike trip in Myanmar, cause I have been in those places before and I know how smiley people are in Myanmar and welcoming.
I have been in Mandalay, Mingun, Inle Lake, Bagan, Mrauk-U, and Yangon. Only Mingun and Mrauk-U were new for me, but being back to this country can only make me happy. This time I explored it with Ympek bicycle, which leads the experience to be totally different. Bicycle or motorbike still be the best way, for me, to explore this magical land. It means you will experience the country in a closer way to the locals. And that’s one of the things I really like in Myanmar. The contact with the locals.
The highlight of this bike trip in Myanmar was definitely Mrauk-U. I have seen some pictures and videos about this place, and couldn’t get more excited to visit a place than this. Especially the video below helped a lot:
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There are no words to describe Mrauk-U. You really need to experience it to understand how special this place is. The sounds around you, the smiles of the locals, the greetings on the street, the farm animals walking around. It’s an experience that probably you can’t have anywhere else in the world. And the sunrise, OMG. This sunrise might look wonderful in the picture, but being there and listening to the sounds around you while the fog disappears it’s surreal.
I’m so glad that I visited such a place while it is still off the beaten track. It’s an unforgettable place.
I met many interesting travelers during this bike trip in Myanmar that helped my stay to be even better. People really matter!! The first time I was in Yangon I didn’t enjoy it so much because I haven’t met anyone, but this time the feeling was totally different. I had super fun nights and even discovered new places that I haven’t been before. Being back to the same places on this bike trip in Myanmar doesn’t mean I’m going to do exactly the same. I have done so many different things.
The first time I was in Myanmar I was the most part of the time exploring the places by bicycle, so I know this is a great way to explore the country. I thought that carrying my own bicycle could turn out to be expensive and a barrier to travel to some places, but is actually pretty easy. There was never a problem to put my folding bicycle on the bus luggage. Being a foldable bicycle makes things so much easier for its transport. Sometimes the bus luggage was very full, but all the time I had a place for the bicycle. The usual fare for this extra buddy was usually 5000 Kyats, about 3€. It’s not usual to see a bicycle as a piece of luggage, so sometimes they didn’t know how much to charge. Carrying it meanwhile wasn’t also so hard like that. The bus company always has someone that takes care of bringing the luggage from where I am to inside the bus. On the car, they put the bicycle on the roof. On the train, as soon as I reach the train station I have one helpful Burmese man that approaches to help. He carries the bicycle in his shoulders until the train. That was super useful as I had no idea how will I carry it to the train. There was a lot of stairs until the train so I couldn’t do it on my own as I have two more bags with me. I paid this guy 1500 kyats, that is not even 1€. The rest of the time I’m riding it.
Foreigners also get very curious about the bicycle, I have seen no one else with his own bicycle, so it gets many attentions. At the hostels, it was never a problem to park it and let it outside during the night, and some of them inclusively let me save it in a safer place inside. Such a gentle act. Like in Ostello Bello Mandalay where the staff was cheerful and so cool. I even stayed at a hostel that allowed me to wash the bicycle in the ground floor bathroom haha. In Ostello Bello Nyaung Shwe, they have a bike tour around the area and invited me for it, but unfortunately, I can’t join as my bicycle is smaller than average and I can’t keep up their rhythm.
Everywhere I hear compliments to the bicycle. I think the words I heard the most while in Myanmar were: Nice bicycle or something with the same meaning. Other curious people were asking for the price. Many times I didn’t tell, cause for them this is a lot of money.
In Yangon, it was fun to ride the bicycle as you don’t see any other foreigners exploring the city on a bicycle. The traffic is chaotic in some areas as you need to deal with cars, motorbikes, and people that are walking in the street too as the sidewalks are always occupied with street sellers or whatever. But the city is very easy to ride as the ground is plain.
It was a fun adventure that made me like Myanmar even more and wanting to go back soon for more happy days. I’m very thankful to my partners Ostello Bello and Ympek as without them this could never happen. The moment I receive their emails was pure enjoy that couldn’t fit inside me. So, if you really want something, you can get it as long as you do something for it to happen. I will try to not forget this quote 🙂