Often referred to as ‘The Golden Land’, Burma is one of the most mysterious and undiscovered countries in the world. Having only recently opened its borders to tourists, this magical country is on the cusp of great change and we urge you to visit Burma now before everyone else goes.
We ran our first ‘Burma Motorcycle Adventure’ in January 2015 and it was a great success. We secured the necessary government permissions, permits and guides to allow us to ride in this very secretive country and we spent 2 weeks visiting the ancient temples and pagodas of Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake.
We were all completely enchanted by Burma and we’re extremely excited about returning to this incredible country in 2016. Here are 5 reasons why The Big Adventure Company loves Burma.
1. The People
One of the most memorable things about our trip in January 2015 was meeting the local people who were all incredibly friendly and cheerful. They were extremely polite and willing to go out of their way to help. The children were the same and during our trip we never saw children complain or misbehave.
The locals in some of the remote places were fascinated by us and as we travelled through their small towns/villages they all came to the roadside to see us. Whenever we stopped, a small crowd would gather round us and the bikes. It was wonderful to be able to engage with such warm and welcoming people who have been largely cut off from the international community for many years.
2. The Temples & Pagodas
Our ‘Burma Motorcycle Adventure’ includes several visits to stunning Buddhist temples and pagodas, however the highlight is most definitely breathtaking Bagan which has more than 3,000 temples dating back to the 11th century. Rosie Furse was our medic on our trip in early 2015 and she said that Bagan was one of the most beautiful and emotive places she has ever been to. With beautiful gilded spires spread out across the horizon, the landscape looks like something out of a dream.
On our trip in January we found a pagoda that allowed people to climb up it to witness the most incredible vista of these temples of every shape and size for as far as the eyes can see and we sat there at sunset in awe as these stone temples seemed to catch on fire and turn a deep burnt orange. Rosie said ‘this has to be one of the highlights of the trip and for me - I would not have missed it for the world’.
3. The breathtaking scenery
Our ‘Burma Motorcycle Adventure’ starts in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand where we pick up our modern adventure bikes, and then we head on to the southern part of the famous Mae Hong Son Loop. On our previous trip everyone loved the thrill of riding on the steep, twisty mountain roads as we crossed the border from Thailand to Burma. The panoramic mountain views are absolutely spectacular and the riding is epic.
During our time in Burma we were amazed by the diverse scenery and landscapes. We rode through tropical forests, then flat paddy plains, then teak and sugar plantations.
We completely agree with Rudyard Kipling’s famous quote ‘This is Burma and it is unlike any land you know about’.
4. Inle Lake
Inle lake is one of the most magical places in Myanmar. This vast lake is located in the heart of Shan State at an altitude of 900 metres above sea level. The lake is known for its scenic beauty and the unique leg-rowing technique of the Inthas, the native lake-dwellers.
Our itinerary includes a rest day at Inle Lake where you can relax and unwind. We recommend a day boating around the lake where you can visit pagodas and villages where local craftsmen make their living producing anything from silks and linens to cheroots, traditional Burmese cigars. Personally we loved exploring the floating villages and gardens and colourful daily markets by local riverboat.
5. The Food
Burmese cuisine is some of the best in Asia. There is a definite Chinese influence with cashew nuts, ginger and sweet and sour type flavours. We didn’t see any coconut milk used but they do tend to use more spice and chilli than classical Chinese food. They do wonderful fried tofu crisps which are completely addictive!
WE LOVE BURMA, but don’t just take our word for it. Here are some testimonials from clients who have previously joined us our Burma Motorcycle Adventure.
"The Burmese people are so warm and welcoming. It was a pleasure and a privilege to ride with such accomplished leaders and riders, a truly amazing experience" - Julie Hunter
"A diverse group of people brought together by a great tour leader and tour guide to make a great trip. Thank you Big Adventure Company!" - Don Leigh
"The best motorcycle trip I have done, and I've done a few!" - Andrew Wood