A Cyclist’s Guide to Exploring Yangon

A congested, colorful alleyway in downtown Yangon, Myanmar | © Sean Pavone / Shutterstock
A congested, colorful alleyway in downtown Yangon, Myanmar | © Sean Pavone / Shutterstock
Photo of Chase Chisholm
Blogger21 December 2018

One of the best ways to experience a city is by hopping on a bicycle and pedaling through the sights, sounds and smells that surround you. This biking guide to Yangon, Myanmar’s largest hub, will have you discovering everything from impressive temples and vibrant neighborhoods to beautiful colonial architecture.

Taking a break from biking around Yangon in front of crumbling colonial architecture | © Chase Chisholm

Biker safety and cycling tips for Yangon

Cycling in Yangon can be dangerous, even for the most experienced bikers. Streets and sidewalks are improving, but there’s still extremely uneven pavement everywhere. And drivers don’t necessarily yield for bikers.

Get a bike with front suspension while exploring Myanmar; wear bright clothing and use flashing lights even in the daytime. Shoulders are often nonexistent in Yangon, so sometimes it’s actually safer to bike in the middle of a bigger road—between traffic—as crazy as it sounds.

Seeking advice from Bike World, Myanmar’s leading bike shop and bicycle tour operator, is highly recommended. Bike World Bike Shop in Yangon has bicycles and gear available for purchase or rental, and a “buy back” option is possible. It’s open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

A sunny, aerial view of downtown Yangon, Myanmar | © GlebSStock / Shutterstock

Biking in Yangon is exhilarating. There are many fascinating streets to explore and views to catch. Early mornings are less chaotic and drenched in gorgeous sunlight for a captivating solo trek. Head to areas of colonial downtown before the city fully wakes for the chance to see gorgeously gritty details of Yangon without distraction. A more open stretch along Strand Road between Thein Phyu Road and Sule Road is also architecturally impressive.

Community bike rides and biking events in Yangon

Consider joining sponsored bike events in Yangon alongside fellow cyclists. Bike World’s weekly Friday night city tour and Sunday cross-country biking excursion are perfect for travelers seeking a more unique way to get to know the culture of Yangon and its surrounding area.

Immerse yourself in the grit, glitz and glam of Yangon: Friday night rides with Bike World

Bike World’s Friday night community ride departs from the Bike World Guesthouse (Bike World Explores Myanmar Inn) at 9:30 p.m., or from the bike shop at 10 p.m. The route is free for riders with bikes. A bicycle and helmet can be rented from Bike World for US $15.

This approximately 17-mile path goes to downtown Yangon passing by the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, through bustling Chinatown, around Kandawgyi Lake, in front of Aung San Suu Kyi’s house and then back to Bike World at midnight.

There are three breaks along the way—including a shop where beverages and snacks can be purchased.

Yangon's Shwedagon Pagoda at night | © Yuichi Shiraishi / Flickr

Cycle on the outskirts of Yangon: Sunday rides with Bike World

Interested in cycling outside of Yangon for a day? Bike World’s Sunday trip departs from the guesthouse at 6:30 a.m. After stopping for breakfast at a local tea shop and traveling approximately 40 miles away from the city by vehicle, this off-road adventure begins.

Biking around the countryside of Myanmar on an excursion with Bike World | © Bike World

Depending on the time of year (and weather), cyclists on Bike World’s Sunday ride will cover anywhere from 12 to 35 miles in a rural setting. This course is a wonderful opportunity to see and learn more about the countryside of Myanmar. A swim break and even a school visit are normally included as well.

The fee is US $15 for bike owners to participate, or US $35 to rent a bike and helmet and join. Expect to return to Yangon by 4 p.m.

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