With everything from history and culture to rolling hills and sprawling landscapes, Myanmar literally has something for everyone. It’s endless miles of unfrequented paths and off the beaten track trails spoil adventure seekers with views to die for and the intimate luxury of experiencing small villages and local life.
The perfect way to explore everything Myanmar has to offer is by foot or bicycle. With a multitude of shorter day hikes, longer more adventurous treks and exciting cycle trails to discover, Myanmar really is the perfect place for both a culturally indulgent and an excitingly active holiday.
November through to early March prove to be the best times for hiking, trekking and cycling. The weather is calm and not too warm and overnight stays and refreshment stops will mainly be enjoyed in local homestays.
Myanmar boasts some of the best walking and cycling in South East Asia. Trails vary in intensity and range from culturally indulgent hikes, like that around the ancient city of Bagan, to stunning mountain treks in the more strenuous Putao region.
Whatever trail you choose, you’re bound to be greeted by friendly hill tribes, atmospheric stupas and temples, and rewarded with stunning views across Myanmar’s beautiful, rolling landscapes.
Bagan and Mount Popa
Undeniably one of the best ways to truly appreciate and take in everything this ancient UNESCO world heritage site has to offer is by foot. It is worth noting that Bagan can be extremely hot during the middle of the day so early morning hiking is highly recommended, not least because of the amazing sunrises over the plains of this breath-taking ancient city.
The thousands of temples littered all over Bagan make it the perfect hiking spot. Tie up your walking boots and get exploring.
Whilst you’re in the area, be sure to visit the nearby Mount Popa. About one hour from Bagan, this impressive extinct volcano offers a wonderful opportunity for scenic hiking and rewards adventure seekers with stunning views from the monastery of Taung Kalat at the top. One of Myanmar’s most sacred Nat sites, Taung Kalat has a high importance to the Burmese population, meaning this hike can sometimes be busy.
Total elevation to the summit is about 700 metres, this challenging 5.5km hike will take you about an hour or so to reach the top depending on fitness levels.
For a really authentic Myanmar hiking experience through lush green countryside and local hill tribes, Hsipaw is an absolute must. Although Hsipaw is also popular for trekkers seeking overnight adventures, Hsipaw also boasts an abundant of wonderful trails for day hikes.
One of the most popular is the Pan Kam route. Easily done in one day this stunning Hsipaw hike will take you through farmers’ fields, rice paddies, seasonal vegetable crops and small local Shan villages to really give you a taste of local life in the wonderful Shan State.
Located just outside of the beautiful city of Pyin-O Lwin, the Pyin-O Lwin National Park offers the perfect opportunity for rural hiking and waterfall chasing.
One of Myanmar’s most beautiful spots for rural hiking, Pyin-O Lwin offers hikers a glimpse into a time gone by with the opportunity to hike to small local villages through sugar cane fields and working farms. The area is littered with waterfalls including the impressive Dat Taw Gyaint waterfall and the more accessible, easily walkable cascading waterfall of Pwe Kauk.
The cool, fresh and insanely unique Inle Lake and the nearby colonial hill station of Kalaw make the perfect getaway from the low land Myanmar heat. The Kalaw- Inle Lake trekking route is one of Myanmar’s most popular and most memorable trails.
Usually done over 2-3 days this scenic trek will take you through unforgettable landscapes, peaks, rolling hills and farm land. Revel in the sights of working water buffalo and rice paddies. Along the way, stop for tea in the local Shan villages and spend your evenings chatting with locals, indulging in Shan cuisine and sleeping in family run homestays.
It’s no surprise that this trekking trail is so popular.
Khaw Nau Sone (Mount Victoria)
Hill tribe villages, flora and fauna, pagodas, wild animals, stunning valleys, mountainous backdrops, unforgettable vantage points, trekking at Khaw Nau Sone has it all.
Located in the Southern Chin State, trekking around and up Khaw Nau Sone promises to impress adventure seekers and nature lovers alike. At over 3,000 metres tall, Khaw Nau Sone stands proudly as the highest peak in the Chin district. The hike up Khaw Nau Sone itself will take you about 4-5 hours to the summit and back and although not technically difficult, it is best climbed in the cool seasons between November and February.
Located at 457 metres and within a flat valley, Putao town offers trekkers some unique and untouched trails. Little know on the tourist map, Putao is worth the visit for it’s one of a kind tranquillity and authenticity.
Enveloped by the Himalayan mountains, Putao is the perfect base to take on some of South East Asia’s most adventurous, mountainous trekking. The region is a haven for wildlife as well as an array of stunning flora and fauna. During shorter treks, enjoy local village life and staying in family homestays, longer mountainous excursions usually require some experience and wilderness camping.
With opportunities to trek at altitude this is the place for more experienced, adventurous trekkers who long for alpine forests, rhododendron trees and low laying cloud.
There is no better way to discover everything Loikaw has to offer than by bicycle. Cycle through tranquil mountain ranges, thriving countryside and enjoy the fresh Burmese air whilst indulging in local food and stopping by hill tribe villages.
The garden-like city nestled in the peaceful Kayah State has successfully retained its old village charm and rich cultural background. The unique combination of stunning scenes and quiet trails make Loikaw the most superb place to embark on a cycling adventure.
With thousands of temples, miles of empty roads and an unbelievably peaceful atmosphere, Bagan is the perfect spot to explore by bicycle. Enjoy the freedom of stopping to discover something amazing beyond every corner.
Bicycles are easy to rent here and provide visitors with a great way of exploring the dense population of temples. Meander through seemingly endless roads, take shelter from the heat in the shady temples and spend an evening cycling down to the river for sunset.
One of Myanmar’s best spots to explore by bicycle is the country’s second largest fresh water lake. Inle Lake is crammed full of culture and beauty just waiting to be explored.
With designated cycling trails, there is something for everyone. Set off on short cycles to explore the local villages and meet friendly locals, or to the stunning Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery. For a slightly more challenging cycle try the scenic route to the Red Mountain Winery and enjoy one of Myanmar’s world-renowned sunsets with a well-deserved, locally sourced wine in hand.