Burma on two wheels, visiting Rangoon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake
In the words of Rudyard Kipling 'this is Burma and it is unlike any land you know about'. This is even more true as we get to explore by bike, away from the returning tourist crowds and main roads, passing villages who have had little contact with foreigners.
Bagan, one of Asia's holiest cities along with Lhasa and Varanasi, is the nerve centre of ancient Burmese culture and a must on any itinerary. Again we arrive on two wheels, rather than stepping off a bus.
The impromptu stops possible en route whilst cycling the Shan Highlands, crossing the central plains around Mandalay or descending from Mt Popa allow us to see this country only now emerging from its international isolation differently.
We take a break from cycling journeying down the Irrwaddy River and exploring Inle Lake with its floating markets. Experience this incredible country as the locals do, sharing the road with ox carts, other cyclists and excited children.
Articles in the Press about Burma ...
What makes this trip responsible?
There are many sensitive issues in returning to Burma and many questions asked about whether tour operators such as ourselves should be going back following years of boycott. We have chosen to return since a press release from the National League for Democracy in May 2011 stated 'the NLD would welcome visitors who are keen to promote the welfare of the common people and the conservation of the environment and to acquire an insight into the cultural, political and social life of the country'. This statement echoes true with Exodus' long standing responsible tourism policy that states we will design and operate our holidays in a way that gives the highest degree of long-term economic benefit to the host communities, whilst also maintaining and/or improving the environment.
We have also taken advice from industry experts and organisations on our stance, Justin Francis the respected Managing Director of Responsibletravel.com and a leading voice in sustainable operations has endorsed our return stating 'The message from Aung San Suu Kyi is clear - she only wants tourism that will help the people of Burma and the conservation of the environment. Exodus, past winner of our Responsible Tourism Awards, has always excelled in this regard and I support their return to Burma and continuing commitment to responsible tourism.'
Burma countryside solo cyclist