Both Thailand and Myanmar have long histories, but over the last 60 years or so while Thailand has raced ahead economically, Myanmar has suffered decades of political isolation from which it is only now emerging. The itinerary, one of those in Grasshopper Adventures’ ‘Pioneering Tours’ range, is a fascinating journey through two contrasting and fascinating countries.
“Departing Bangkok the trip begins with an overnight train to Uttaradit, where the two wheeled adventure starts. The route through Thailand takes us to the Historical Parks of Si Satchanalai and Sukothai, with theirancient temples and Buddha statues, and onto Ramkhamhaeng National Park, where hot springs await to soothe tired muscles.”
Riding through rolling hills and alongside the Ping River brings us to the town of Tak, from where the route crosses the border to Myanmar and the charmingriverside town of Mawlamyineby minibus.
From here we explore the coast to the south, taking in the villages and bamboo forests of Bilugyun Island and the terminus of the infamous “Death Railway” at Thanbyuzayat., with its accompanying Allied War Cemetary.
Heading north and inland, through ever more remote and verdantlandscapesbrings us to one of Myanmar‘s, if not Asia’s, most bizarre and memorable sights – the balancing golden boulder atKyaikto. Hopping off the bikes at the so-called ‘Base Camp’ travellers join the many Buddhist pilgrims on the regular open-air trucks, which ride the hills like a rollercoaster to the foot of the final climb to the wondrous, gravity-defying rock.
The tour ends with a memorable, if not exactly comfortable, train ride to Myanmar’s capital city of Yangon. The train may be bumpy but the welcome is warm and genuine as you compare notes with locals on the various football teams of the English Premier League, or current political affairs.
Upcoming Departures: 03 Oct 2015
- Cost: US$4200 pp
- Duration: 13 days
- Days Cycling: 9 days
- Cycle distance: 661km
The cycling is on mixed terrain of both sealed and unsealed secondary roads and country lanes, and while there are no sustained climbs there are rolling hills to be negotiated on most days. Ideally suited to those with some cycling experience the riding is broken up with frequent water and snacks stops with the support vehicle always on hand for those with tired legs who need a break from riding.
Being positioned in our ‘Pioneering Tours’ category, the accommodation on most nights, while well run and clean, is simple, however three nights are spent in more comfortable and stylish hotels.