Biking Along the Ancient Dhammazedi Road of Kings
Enjoy a fantastic bicycle adventure that takes you to see countryside communities, local villages and rural families living along parts of the old Dhammazedi Road, once used by the kings of Bago’s Hanthawaddy Kingdom to visit Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar.
We start out early in the morning from Yangon with a two-hour drive to Kawa Township in the Bago Region, about 70 km from the capital. From here we switch to mountain bikes that are waiting for us, and start our bike ride through the countryside to Ohn Ne, a small village surrounded by emerald-green rice fields, ox carts and farmers toiling in the rice paddies. We then take an adventurous river crossing via a small boat and continue on our journey.
The bicycle ride is about three hours long (29 km) and takes you to see a number of stunning stupas and monasteries that are rarely visited in this region. We ride along mostly unpaved roads, but the going is easy as the whole trip is over relatively flat and even terrain. After the morning’s cycling, we take a short trip by car to Thakala village. From here, we continue by bike, boat, motorbike or even on foot – it all depends on the season and the condition of the roads and trails we are taking!
We then arrive in the isolated farming village of Htee Tan, a place where village life hasn’t changed for centuries. The village has a small school and community center, but there is no electricity or running water, so during the rainy season water is collected in the village pond and used for drinking, washing and cooking during the dry spell. Here we stop for a home-cooked lunch in a family home and meet some of the local villagers eager to see us.
After our meal, we continue by car to Thongwa Township where we visit a lively local market, before crossing the river on a route that takes us back to the bustling city life of downtown Yangon – a stunning contrast to the age-old rural communities that lie only a short journey from the city.
This tour program, which was set up to benefit local communities in the region, has received a Community Based Tourism (CBT) award for its innovation and community involvement.
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