Adventure in Myanmar: Our Top Picks
It’s no secret that Myanmar is teeming with incredible architecture, cultural heritage and fascinating history. But here is a little secret you may not know! The best way to experience the country and its endless wonders is through adventurous excursions! But don’t worry- these adventures are not strenuous mountain climbs or grueling long-distance cycling. The type of adventures that showcase Myanmar’s magic can be enjoyed by everyone- gentle bike rides on flat plains, easy paddles over tranquil waters and more. These active half-day excursions will open your eyes to a side of Myanmar that is more authentic and leave you feeling like you have truly experienced the wonders of the country.
So if you want to add a touch of adventure to your Myanmar holiday, read on to discover our favorite active excursions!
Bagan on Two Wheels
Of all the archeological wonders in the world, Bagan is the best for biking! The town is home to more than 2000 Buddhist monuments scattered around a flat plain. Many of the monuments are linked by tar roads but there are dozens of small dirt and sand tracks criss-crossing the landscapes. The result: Flat, quiet cycling paths surrounded by incredible sites!
Pedaling through Bagan let’s you soak up the atmosphere and absorb the wonders of this historic site at your own pace. But it also requires a bit of effort! If you don’t like the idea of sweating a bit on your holiday, then e-bikes are the perfect alternative. Like scooters, these two-wheeled battery-powered bikes are a fun, easy way to get the same experience! And best of all, they don’t make a sound- you can still enjoy the serenity of Bagan’s plains.
Cycle Through Mandalay’s Ancient Capitals
Mandalay’s downtown may be a congested mix of busy roads and tall, concrete buildings but it’s countryside is completely different! The former royal capitals of Amarapura and Ava are sleepy villages relatively untouched by time. And with incredible sites to see, it is an ideal area for a bike ride! A half day ride starts at U Bein Bridge, the country’s iconic teak bridge, and meanders past small family-run weaving centers in the heart of Amarapura. A short ride on a sealed road takes you to the banks of the Dokhthawaddy River where a ferry boat journey leads to Ava. Ava stood as Myanmar’s capital five times from the 14th-19th centuries and, as a result, there are many amazing historic sites in the village. Explore the former palace, admire crumbling brick monasteries and see traditional craftsmen at work as you cycle along quiet laneways.
Hit the trails near Ngapali Beach
Trekking at the beach? It may sound strange, but it is possible at Ngapali! The coastal resort town lays near the edge of the Rakhine Mountain range and several jungle-covered hills touch the edges of town. Our favorite half-day trek at the beach sets off in the morning, first passing through farming villages and rice paddies the heading up walking trails to the hills. Learn about the native flora and fauna- possibly spotting exotic birds as well- while ascending in to thicker jungle. The path ends at a clearing at a mountain top, with sweeping views over the surrounding Rakhine Mountains to the east and the shimmering sea to the west. Catch your breath and snap some photos before returning downhill and transfer to the hotel in time for a refreshing swim in the Bay of Bengal!
Explore Inle Lake’s Shores by Bike
Adventures at Inle Lake are not limited to those on the water! The lake’s shoreline is dotted with villages that are connected by a quiet, sealed road. An easy cycling ride showcases the beauty and culture that lies beyond the waters’ edge!
The adventure starts with a boat ride to Khaung Daing, a village on the western shores of the lake. A short walk through the village reveals scenes of daily life and, if you are lucky, you may get a chance to see the residents producing their famous tofu. Then walk to a nearby pagoda to make a wish, just like the locals do, and start pedaling! The ride passes by small villages and lush farmland with occasional views of Inle Lake’s waters. Stop often to explore or snap photos of this bucolic landscape before reaching the town of Nyaung Shwe. The ride ends here but if you still are keen to pedal there are many more small lanes and villages to explore!
Kayaking Inle Lake
The classic way to explore Inle Lake is by motorboat, helping you see as much as possible in a single day. But for those looking for a closer look at the lake’s a magical mix of quiet villages, cultural traditions and beautiful landscapes, kayaking is the perfect solution!
Journey to a quiet corner of the lake, far from the busier main waterway. Climb into a two-person kayak, stable boats that are perfect for skimming the placid waters of Inle Lake. Grab a paddle and off you go! Follow your guide through small channels, getting a closer look at the lake’s villages and the houses built on stilts. Glide past floating gardens and canoes loaded with passengers or goods from the market. From the seat of your kayak you will gain a deeper appreciate for what life is like on Inle Lake and, best of all, enjoy the tranquil atmosphere without an engine roaring behind you!
Sea Kayaking at Ngapali Beach
Time at the beach is all about relaxation and Ngapali certainly is an ideal destination for unwinding. But if you can gather up a bit of energy and drag yourself away from the stunning sandy beaches, a kayaking excursion at Ngapali is well-worth the effort! Using easy-to-navigate sea-kayaks, cross the smooth waters of the Bay of Bengal toward Pearl Island. Enjoy spectacular views of Ngapali’s shore, with swaying palm trees fringing the white sandy beach. Paddle onwards through the open sea to Pearl Island and take a rest on this uninhabited tropical paradise- go for a swim or sip on a fresh coconut for extra energy. Then paddle your way back to Ngapali for more R&R!