About the challenge
This poignant and challenging cycle ride takes us from Thailand into Burma, focussing on the region’s WW2 history. As well as the famed Burma Railway, also known as the Death Railway, we take in sites of conflict en-route to Yangon, Burma’s capital, including the site of the Battle of Pegu.
Our route takes in Kanchanaburi of Bridge on the River Kwai fame, and Hellfire Pass, before crossing the border and riding north, paying our respects at battle-sites and cemeteries to Allied prisoners of War and their Asian co-labourers.
Our route commemorates a tragic and inhumane history, but also allows us to discover the natural beauty and friendly culture of these two welcoming and spectacular countries – and provides some truly fantastic cycling. This will be a truly unforgettable challenge.
The tour cost includes all flights, transport, accommodation, all meals except three as specified in the itinerary, and any other sites visited as part of the itinerary. A bike is also included. It also includes full trip support of experienced Discover Adventure leaders/mechanics, and doctor (depending on final group size) as well as local guides, support vehicles and drivers. There will also be talks about the battle sites we pass.
It does not include personal travel insurance, airline fuel supplement charged by the airline, meals as specified, tip for local support crew, Burma entry visa, or international airport tax. It also does not include snacks, drinks, personal spending or any optional tourist activities.
We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
Group flights leave from London Heathrow and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are most likely to fly with Singapore or Malaysian Airlines, however, we don’t always fly with the same airline so this is a guideline only. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.
We stay in clean, comfortable hotels throughout the ride; some are quite simple, others very good, so expect some variation. Rooms are on a twin-share basis.
All food is included except three meals. The food is local in style and very tasty; there is plenty of it. Please let us know any dietary requirements well in advance.
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we will be in rural areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally when we are in towns or cities and you are free to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit every budget.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. They are also trained in expedition first-aid. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader. Depending on group size, an expedition doctor or medic will also accompany the group.
Local Support Crew
Our local support crew is made up of a friendly team of local guides and drivers. Your local guide is a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely.
Support vehicles will be with the group at all times. All luggage and spares will be carried in the vehicles
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency satellite phones, extensive medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
Preparing for the challenge
Our trips are graded from 1 (Moderate) to 5 (Extreme). This ride is Grade 2. The terrain is varied, from flat plains to rolling hills; Day 4 to Hellfire Pass has some particularly long hills. Cycling distances range from 65km to 80km. You should ensure that you have trained enough to manage these distances over consecutive days. Our route is mainly on tarmac roads of varying quality; some sections will be very good, others may be pot-holed with loose gravel or dirt. Traffic is relatively light most of the time, and we will cycle at our own pace, but we may re-group at times for busy sections. We are travelling through remote areas and weather may have an impact on road conditions. We will be riding 21-speed mountain bikes with semi-slick tyres. It is imperative that you supply your own helmet and wear it at all times while cycling, with straps done up.
Clothing & Equipment
We are travelling through remote areas where we could be exposed to bad weather at any time so be prepared for everything! Weather conditions can change quickly. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice. It is imperative that you supply your own helmet and wear it at all times while cycling, with straps done up.
It will be hot and dry in the lowlands, and gets a little cooler when we reach the hills; it can be a little chilly at the start and end of the day, especially on Lake Inle. We don’t travel at the wet times of year, but rain is more likely towards the end of the trip – it’s green and lush in the hills for a reason!
This ride is designed to be challenging for those of good health and fitness, and is achievable for most people provided they train well in advance. We will supply you with a thorough training guide when you have registered. Training for the challenge is all part of the preparation and requires commitment! Without it, you will find the ride less enjoyable – and we want you to have the time of your life!
Passport & Visa
A ten-year passport is essential and must be valid for at least 6 months after entry into Burma. UK citizens require a visa which should be obtained in advance.
You must have had a Tetanus injection in the last ten years, and we highly recommend protection against Polio, Hepatitis A and Typhoid.
For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We are very privileged to live in a country with a high standard of living, and travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow cyclists and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you!
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through.
In November 2010, Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader of Burma signalled the end of a tourism boycott which started in 1995. At Discover Adventure we have witnessed the rise in interest in the country and are pleased to have visited in May 2014 to reconnoitre two challenges.
It is important to us that we’ve selected privately-owned ground operators for all of our services and have planned itineraries which, to the best of the knowledge at our disposal, are not affiliated with the government of former military junta. We strongly believe we will be contributing to the local economy in a positive way
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.