19 Days Of Blissful Experience – Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar
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For a rider, biking from Thailand to Myanmar is an experience that would remain close to their heart forever. The experience it offers is not just thrilling, but also spiritually awakening. The rich cultural heritage, traditions, and friendly people all around with a smile on their faces in both Thailand and Myanmar would ensure that you have a good time riding through these beautiful countries, and discovering some of the hidden treasures on the way.

Myanmar, previously known as Burma, is going through rapid development in recent times. It ensures that you would not have to face the grim challenges of dirty and rough roads anymore, as it was the case a few years back. And, even though the country’s tourism is booming in the last few years, most of the tourist spots are not overcrowded, and you can experience each of these spots intimately, learning more about it, interact with friendly locals, and overall, know the country better, without getting the over-touristy vibes.

Riders need to be aware that visa on arrival is not available as of yet as in Myanmar, and thus, people looking to bike their way from Thailand to Myanmar needs to get their visa done in their home country by contacting the local Myanmar consulate.

Few of the highlights of the Thailand-Myanmar tour includes Shwedagon Paya, Inle Lake, Bagan, Sagaing, Mandalay Hill, Saddan cave, Ananda Pahto, Mahagandayone Monastery, Mahamuni Paya, and much more.

Tour Itinerary

Arrival at Chiang Mai (Day 1)

19 Days Of Blissful Experience - Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar

I arrived in Chiang Mai Airport from Bangkok, and after taking my luggage headed straight to Mae Saa Valley, which is around 20 kilometers away from the airport. After having my dinner, I retired to relax at my room to be ready and fresh for the adventure that begins in the morning.

Chiang Mai – Mae Sot (Day 2)

19 Days Of Blissful Experience - Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar

Facts:

Distance – 360 Kms.

Time To Complete – Around 7-8 hours.

Road Conditions – Dual lane highway for the most part. Well constructed roads, easy to ride on.

Difficulty – Easy.

Personal Experience

After completing my breakfast at the hotel, I geared up to ride from Chiang Mai to my next stop at Mae Sot, which lies at the border between Myanmar and Thailand. Even though the roads are excellent and well-constructed, the journey takes up almost the whole day. For the most part, it was a lovely experience riding on the dual lane highway, except for the final stretch of around 80 Kms in the last, which leads into Mae Sot. The last stretch of 80 Km is winding and crisscrossing on the mountain, presenting a lovely view, while also separating Mae Sot from the rest of Thailand. After reaching Mae Sot, I checked into my hotel, had dinner and just dozed off. It was a great start to the tour, and it made me excited.

Mae Sot – Mawlamyine (Day 3)

19 Days Of Blissful Experience - Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar

Facts:

Distance – 190 Kms.

Time To Complete – 6 Hours.

Road Conditions – Excellent for the most part, except for a small stretch right before Mawlamyine.

Difficulty – Moderate.

Personal Experience

After breakfast at my hotel in Mae Sot, I started early to reach the “Goodwill Bridge” first, which connects Thailand to Myanmar. Goodwill Bridge connects Mae Sot with Myawaddy, which falls under the territory of Myanmar. It is where the process of Myanmar immigration takes place, and I had to be patient to complete all the formalities. This is pretty natural for the Myanmar Immigration administrators to take a bit of time, as it is not every day that they deal with bikers looking to travel around their country on a bike.

Once I was done with the immigration, I drive across the region of Myawaddy crossing through the Dawna Mountain Range and also encounter Kawkareik, which is the western front of the mountain range. After crossing the Myawaddy area, I got on the road that is now new, flat and smooth to ride, but which once used to be a very rough road. The Myanmar government had recently built the road as a part of its endeavor to better its infrastructure. The traffic in this stretch is almost negligible. Around lunch time, I stopped by a local restaurant to hog on some local cuisine prepared fresh.

After lunch, I continue towards Thaton and cross Thanlwin River on the way. As we continue to move towards Mawlamyine, I got on the road that is the connecting link between the north and the southern Myanmar. Just before reaching Mawlamyine, which is the capital of Mon State and third largest city of Myanmar too, we cross the longest bridge in the country connecting Mottama and Mawlamyine.

Mawlamyine is a beautiful and multi-cultural city that lies at just the beginning of Salween River and has also served as the British Capital of Myanmar from 1826 to 1852. I had some time left in my hand after reaching and decided to go to Kyaikthanlan Pagoda, which is also featured in the poet Rudyard Kipling’s poems and presents a fantastic view of the sunset that needs to be seen to be believed. I checked in at the hotel after having dinner at a local restaurant.

Mawlamyine – Golden Rock (Day 4)

19 Days Of Blissful Experience - Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar

Facts:

Distance – 150 Kms.

Time To Complete – 5 Hours.

Road Conditions – Not problematic.

Difficulty – Easy.

Personal Experience

After breakfast, I rode for a short distance to Mudon, where there is a huge statue of reclining Buddha. After watching the reclining Buddha and clicking some great pictures of the surrounding, I headed back North and crossed Salween Bridge on the way. The ride to Thaton is an easy one and doesn’t take much time and also gives a glimpse of its past. Thaton was once the capital of Thaton Mon Kingdom, which had the control and authority of the lower Myanmar from 9th to 11th century, and also had parts of Thailand in it. Around lunch time, I stopped by a decent commuter’s eatery to have my lunch.

After lunch, I headed towards Kyaik Hto, which is a small town popular for its rubber plantation and has Golden Rock Pagoda close by. Once I reached my hotel, I went to sleep early after dinner so that I can start early the next day.

Golden Rock – Bago (Day 5)

19 Days Of Blissful Experience - Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar

Facts:

Distance – 150 Kms.

Time To Complete – 4-5 hours.

Road Conditions – Moderately challenging at certain stretches, but mostly easy for the rest part.

Difficulty – Moderate.

Personal Experience

I had a very early breakfast at the hotel and headed to visit the Myanmar’s famous landmark, very popular among the tourists as well as the locals because of its unique position and religious importance – Kyaiktiyo: the Golden Rock. It is a huge boulder that is standing somehow very delicately on the edge of the cliff and is covered with gold leaf. From there we ride to Kin Mon, which is a base camp and from there I ride for another 15 km on a steep road that led me to the upper staging point. This journey is made on a crowded bus but is a good way to interact with the locals here.

I got out of the bus to the summit and walked for another 10-15 minutes to reach Golden Rock. The view of Golden Rock and the religiousness of people at such a beautiful setting would immerse you spiritually as well. I was deeply moved by the way even older people made it this far at Golden Rock and climbed to view the spectacular Boulder. I headed back to the Kin Mon base camp on a truck and had my lunch at one of the restaurants here.

I headed straight to Bago after lunch, which is around 80 km towards the northeast of capital Yangon. Once there, we visit the famous monastery of Kya Khat Wai, where hundreds and thousands of monks from all over the country come to learn Buddhism. Here I also saw the great old Shwemawdaw Pagoda, which is thousands of years old and has a spire taller than the Shwedagon Pagoda. I still had a little time left, so I went to visit the other famous spot here, Shwe Tha Lyaung Buddha. I had my dinner at a local restaurant here before heading back to my hotel.

Yangon (Day 6)

19 Days Of Blissful Experience - Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar

I have my breakfast at the hotel and keep the day, just to check out the capital of Myanmar, Yangon. As the bikes are not allowed in the capital city, I traveled in the bus the whole day and left my bike back in the hotel. The bus took around two hours to reach Yangon, where upon arrival I went to check out Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda that has reclining Buddha image and the peaceful and beautiful Kandawgyi Lake with Karaweik Hall. I take a few pictures of the surrounding to capture the natural beauty. I searched for a traditional Myanmar restaurant to enjoy the traditional dishes of the country for lunch.

After lunch, I boarded the bus to reach the eastern entrance of the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, while enjoying the beautiful city views on the way. I took some great pictures on the way and can say I didn’t miss the bike much for a change.

I enjoyed the sunset from the Shwedagon Pagoda, famous worldwide for its golden stupa. The monument is believed to be over 2,500 years back, and other statutes and buildings beautifully surround the central stupa. It is one of the most famous pagodas in the country and is also visited by thousands of tourists each year. Afterward, I board the bus back to Bago and before reaching hotel have dinner at a local restaurant nearby.

Bago – Pyay (Day 7)

19 Days Of Blissful Experience - Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar

Facts:

Distance – 320 Kms.

Time To Complete – Around 5 hours.

Road Conditions – Smooth and non-problematic.

Difficulty – Easy.

Personal Experience

Today, after early breakfast I leave Bago to reach Pyay, earlier known as Prome. Pyay is located on the bank of Ayeyarwady River. The ride today is mostly through plains, and therefore, not much of a problem as far as biking is concerned. It gave me a chance to experience small villages and towns on the way, which is a beautiful cultural experience in itself. I tried not to lose much time on the way, though so that I can visit the Shwesandaw Pagoda, which is located on the eastern side of the Ayeyarwaddy River. After dinner, I went to the hotel as I was exhausted after the long day of riding.

Pyay – Bagan (Day 8)

19 Days Of Blissful Experience - Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar

Facts:

Distance – 380 Kms.

Time To Complete – Around 8 to 9 hours.

Road Conditions – Mostly flat roads ensuring smooth riding experience.

Difficulty – Easy

Personal Experience

I drive towards the northern direction to reach Bagan today after having early breakfast at the hotel. The road leading to Bagan is arid and flat, but as the Ayeyarwaddy River flows along for most of the road, it provides a beautiful landscape and a great photo opportunity. Most of the day is spent in reaching Bagan, so once reached; I have dinner at a local restaurant before calling it a day at one of the hotels I found in New Bagan.

Bagan (Day 9)

19 Days Of Blissful Experience - Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar

Today, I dedicated entirely to check out the archaeological and historical site of Bagan, and my first stop was to visit Shwezigon Pagoda. It is famous in Bagan as well as in the whole of Myanmar. The other favorite places in Bagan included Gubyaukgyi, which is a small hall with 37 ‘nats’ housed in it, famous cave temples that depict Jataka Tales on its wall through exquisite frescoes, and a famous masterpiece of Mon Architecture, Ananda Temple.

Ananda Temple has a monastery and four standing Buddhas, which is a unique site to watch. After lunch in the local restaurant, I headed to the nearby Myinkaba Village to know more about the unique Burmese handicrafts at a lacquerware workshop. After checking out the workshop, I went to Manuha Temple, supposedly built in 1059, and another famous temple named Myingaba Gu Byaukgyi Temple, which is protected by UNESCO and famous for its age-old mural paintings. The last stop for the day was Shwesandaw Pagoda, where I wanted to relax for a while and enjoy the beautiful sunset view. It’s mesmerizing, to say the least, and with all the spirituality around, helped me retrospect and introspect about life.

After taking a few pictures at the Pagoda, I went to have my dinner at a local riverside restaurant and retired for the day at my hotel.

Bagan – Mandalay (Day 10)

19 Days Of Blissful Experience - Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar

Facts:

Distance – 260 Kms.

Time To Complete – 5 Hours.

Road Conditions – Smooth roads with scenic views all around.

Difficulty – Easy.

Personal Experience

After having early breakfast, I started riding to one of the most exciting drive-throughs in this tour to visit Mount Popa. It is an extinct volcano and has a beautiful shrine dedicated to the spirits known as “Nats” on it. Many people who want can climb all the way up to the shrine, climbing 777 steps. However, I was short of time and was also afraid that it may make me over-tired, with some part of the journey still left. So, I just took a few pictures from a distance and continued to ride through the beautiful plain lands to reach Mandalay.

Mandalay (Day 11)

19 Days Of Blissful Experience - Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar

Today, I dedicated to checking out the historic city of Mandalay. After breakfast, I headed straight to the Mahagandayone Monastery located in Amarapura. The monastery is an education center for the monks and is home to over 1,200 Buddhist monks. It is one of the most visited as well as one of the most reputed Buddhist monasteries, not only in the country but all over the world. After visiting the monastery, I had to check out the famous U Bein Bridge, made of teakwood and presenting a scenic view of the Taungthaman Lake. I head back to Mandalay after that for lunch.

I kept the afternoon to check out Mandalay more closely, and strolled around on the streets and had a talk with the local people and shop owners. I also visited the famous Mahamuni Pagoda, which is a highly revered monument in Myanmar. After Mahamuni Pagoda, I went to Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung, which is also known as the Golden Palace Monastery, which presents a beautiful example of Burmese architecture. It was also amazing to check out Kuthodaw Pagoda, the largest ever book made completely of marble. These are the few things I never heard of before, and when you check out the grandeur of this place, you are forced to think there is so much left to be explored in the world.

Mandalay – Inle Lake (Day 12)

19 Days Of Blissful Experience - Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar

Facts:

Distance – 260 Kms.

Time To Complete – 6 Hours.

Road Conditions – Ride through Mountain and Plateau. Smooth and beautiful with loads of photo opportunities.

Difficulty – Easy for seasoned riders.

Personal Experience

After breakfast, I head towards the famous and serene Inle Lake. The road leading to it crosses the valleys, mountains, and plateaus, and thus, promises to be a scenic and mind-blowing trail that can make any biker fall in love with it. The plateaus around the Southern Shan State are simply too beautiful and presents for an excellent photo opportunity. After riding for few hours without halt, I finally reached the great Nyaungshwe to experience the fabled Inle Lake. I checked in at my hotel and spent the day in leisure.

Inle Lake (Day 13)

19 Days Of Blissful Experience - Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar

After having breakfast at the hotel, I went to Inle lake which is certainly a photographer’s dream come true. The calm waters of the lake are dotted with the fishing canoes, and the high hill on the backdrop make the view even more picturesque. I hired the boat and toured the Inle Lake to closely experience many different lake gardens on the way, where vegetables and fruits grow. I also checked out the unique leg-rowers on the lake, which is a style of rowing the boat standing on one leg and wrapping the other with an oar.

Afterward, I visited Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, which is the holiest of shrines in the Southern Shan State. I stopped by at the local shops to check out the local handicraft items, before having lunch at one of the restaurants on the lake itself. I headed back to the hotel after that and spent the day in leisure.

Inle Lake – Mongping (Day 14)

19 Days Of Blissful Experience - Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar

Facts:

Distance – 370 Kms.

Time To Complete – 9 hours.

Road Conditions – Roads are well-constructed, but are steep and narrow at certain parts like any other mountainous roads.

Difficulty – Moderate due to the steep mountainous region.

Personal Experience

After having breakfast, I headed to the mountainous regions of Taunggyi, which is also the capital of the Southern Shan State. After reaching there, we head on the road which until recently was not open for foreign visitors. The views around these roads are simply mind-blowing with valleys and high hills on the backdrop. There are many minority villages on the way filled with friendly and fun people. Then I headed towards the East, crossing Salween River once again on the way. I had dinner at a local restaurant before retiring for the day at a hotel here.

Mongping – Kengtung (Day 15)

19 Days Of Blissful Experience - Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar

Facts:

Distance – 90 Kms.

Time To Complete – 2 Hours.

Road Conditions – Well-built Tarmac roads.

Difficulty – Easy

Personal Experience

After breakfast, I head for a short journey to Kengtung, which takes us through the same stretch of beautiful valleys and mountainous roads with a picturesque backdrop. Kengtung is the capital of the Eastern Shan State and is a town that has the lake as its focal point. I had lunch after arriving in the town and spent the rest of the day wandering around this gorgeous, charming town.

Kengtung – Chiang Rai (Day 16)

19 Days Of Blissful Experience - Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar

Facts:

Distance – 230 Kms.

Time To Complete – 6 Hours.

Road Conditions – Smooth and well-built.

Difficulty – Easy.

Personal Experience

After having breakfast, I head towards Tachilek and the Thai/Burma Border, passing through the beautiful mountains and valleys. I reach my destination before lunch, so I finished the immigration proceedings early and had my lunch on the Thai side of the border in a restaurant that looks over the famous Goodwill Bridge connecting Thailand and Myanmar. After lunch, I drive for another hour or so and reach my hotel in Chiang Rai.

Chiang Rai – Chiang Mai (Day 17)

19 Days Of Blissful Experience - Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar

Facts:

Distance – 190 Kms.

Time To Complete – 5 hours.

Road Conditions – Smooth highway routes.

Difficulty – Easy.

Personal Experience

Today, I took the liberty to wake up a little late and had breakfast without rushing myself. After breakfast, I headed towards Chiang Mai, and the roads on the way are simply too good to ride on. With a good amount of time in hand, I made several stops for checking out local shops and even went to Wat Rong Khun, which is a white temple with a unique design. The temple consists of some of the unique paintings. After lunch in the local restaurant, I head to my hotel in the Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai (Day 18)

19 Days Of Blissful Experience - Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar

I have the full day at leisure in Chiang Mai today. As I depart tomorrow, I planned to spend the whole day enjoying the vibrant city that has a lot to offer to party goers, shoppers, and culture explorers. I somehow also used my time efficiently to visit Doi Suthep Mountain and the highly revered temple of Wat Doi Suthep. As this is the last day of my lovely tour, I splurged a bit and visited a fancy restaurant to enjoy the favorite Thai cuisine to mark the farewell of my tour.

Chiang Mai, Departure (Day 19)

19 Days Of Blissful Experience - Riding Through The Mesmerizing Thailand And Myanmar

After having an early breakfast, I headed to the Chiang Mai Airport via taxi and bid farewell to the Thailand and Myanmar tour.

The Thailand-Myanmar tour is for riders who are looking for more than just thrilling riding experience. The journey is spirituality dotted throughout with its famous Pagodas and Temples everywhere you go, not to forget the calm and soft-spoken monks who have a lot of insights to offer about life. The mystical Buddhist culture would help you pause for a while and think of the differences in the culture across the world, but how every culture has contributed to the development of the world as we know it, including the teachings of Buddha revered around the world.

The journey has given me some of the most memorable moments, and personally, for me, it has been more than a bike tour. It has in a way helped me discover myself. The long talks with the monks in the temple, the friendly and helpful people who teach you about life without even uttering a word and the simple lifestyle of the people here has made me more humble. However, I did have my wild and fun moments of partying at Chiang Mai and shouting out loud from the valleys of Southern Shan State that echoed back my voice, and so much more.

Overall, it goes without saying that it has been an unforgettable journey for me and everyone who loves to discover and explore something new, this ride is a must. Myanmar has a developing infrastructure, and the government is doing a lot for the tourists these days, so expect things to get even better with time. It has everything one can ask for from a bike riding experience, and beyond. And, do know there are a lot of real surprises on the way as well!

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