Into The Shan Highlands – Motorcycle Tour

On this motorcycle tour you will ride through some of the most culturally and ethnically diverse regions on Myanmar – Shan highland. It’s a fascinating journey passing scenic valleys, tribal villages and gorgeous mountain ranges. We begin in Mandalay and ride up to the plateau along the old China-Myanmar road all the way to Lashio and even beyond. Then we go back and continue down south to recently opened Kayah hills. From there we loop up north to Inle Lake and via hill station town Kalaw and rustic Pindaya return back to Mandalay.


  • Explore lush landscapes and colorful ethnic tribes in Shan State
  • Taste traditional local cuisines
  • Have fun in by the mighty waterfalls near Lashio
  • Visit off the beaten track Loikaw town and villages with long-neck ladies
  • Experience the serene beauty of Inle Lake and hospitality of local Intha people
  • Cool down in the picturesque hill station of Kalaw
  • Stop over by fascinating limestone caves of Pindaya, an important Buddhist pilgrimage site

Duration :  13 days
Trip Type :  Cultural motorcycle tour
Guide : English speaking local motorbike guide
Grading : Moderate
Tour price: On request
Departures:  TBA
Starts : In Mandalay
Ends :  In Mandalay





shan highland myanmar motorcycle tour


Welcome to Myanmar! Your guide will meet you at the Mandalay airport and transfer to your hotel in town.

Settle in and then enjoy free time to explore Mandalay. Welcome dinner, trip briefing and meet the local team tonight.
Meals included       : Dinner
Overnight               : Hotel in Mandalay


shan highland myanmar motorcycle tour


Early in the morning, after checking the bikes, we take a short safety briefing drive through Mandalay and head in the eastern direction passing paddy fields. We take a narrow and scenic road don along the river valley. Photo stops and visit a beautiful waterfall on the way, then continue a small back road that climbs up to Anisakan and Pyin Oo Lwin through rugged landscape, where the views are great and traffic almost non-existent.

Late afternoon explore Pyin Oo Lwin riding along the tree shaded lanes with quaint colonial mansions. You may want to stop by at the botanical gardens, or to check out the impressive multi-tiered Anisakan waterfall.

 Meals included      : Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
 Overnight              : Hotel in Pyin Oo Lwin

shan highland myanmar motorcycle tour


Leave Pyin Oo Lwin early today and take the Mandalay-Lashio road that serves as a main overland way connection Myanmar and China. In about 1,5 hrs check out the historic Goteik viaduct – a railway bridge buildt by the British over a century ago. Ride further to Lashio, the view of surrounding mountain valleys is great and road is in good condition. Arrive in town late in the afternoon, rest of the day free and chill.

 Meals included      : Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
 Overnight              : Hotel in Lashio


shan highland myanmar motorcycle tour


Today we take a detour up north to Hsenwi, former capital of a powerful Shan kingdom back in the days – huge agricultural valley – and ride up the plateau to the Kachin town of Kutkai (conditions permitting), to try delicious local food and enjoy cooler weather. The views from the top are amazing, with rolling mountains stretching far beyond, towards border with China. We return to Lashio in the afternoon, to take a walk around the old quarter, visit night market and taste the popular Shan buffet dinner.

Meals included      : Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight              : Hotel in Lashio

shan highland myanmar motorcycle tour


Take a nice secondary road to the big waterfall some 20 km outside of Lashio and spend the morning swimming and jumping, before we take the road back. Stop in Hsipaw for lunch and some sightseeing, and continue to Kyaukme, a small town at the foot of mountain range, here we stay overnight.

Meals included      : Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight              : Hotel in Kyaukme

shan highland myanmar motorcycle tour


This is going to be a long riding day. Get packed lunch to go in the morning as there are not many places along the way. First you will drive to Naungcho along the main road and from Nyaungcho head down south towards Taunggyi and Inle Lake. This road had been paved only couple years ago and until now sees very limited use, so most of the way will be just to ourselves. After scenic gorge with the river and serpentine road you will ride through some forested hills, and then through the rare Shan and Danu villages. Near Intaw we pass a reservoir lake on the way. Further from this point the landscape is quite flat with some mountains in the distance. Short distance before reaching Taunggyi we can visit Ayethayar vineyard which is situated on the mountain slopes just beneath the town.

 Meals included      : Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
 Overnight              : Hotel in Taungyi

shan highland motorcycle tourDAY 7 > TAUNGGYI TO LOIKAW

Early breakfast and begin ride southward along the secondary road to Kakku pagoda complex, a popular Buddhist pilgrimage site. Continue to the valley beneath and take the highway down to Loikaw, on the way we can visit large market in Pao town Loisawn. Time permitting some waterfalls and caves along the way closer to Loikaw. Arrive in town late in the afternoon or early evening. Watch sunset from the top of Taung Kwe pagoda built on the karst outcrop in the middle of town, the views of surrounding valley and distant ranges are simply amazing.

 Meals included      : Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
 Overnight              : Hotel in Loikaw


chin local peopleDAY 8 > VISIT KAYAN VILLAGES

Today we begin the day with riding roughly 1,5 hours to Panpet group of villages – home of a few tribes of Kayan people, whose ladies still wear brass coils around their necks. Lunch can be in a village or in Loikaw on the way back, then continue for roughly half an hour east to see the mysterious Kyet Cave containing centuries old teak wood coffins of unknown origin. Late afternoon/early evening return to the town.


 Meals included      : Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
 Overnight              : Hotel in Loikaw


Morning market visit and start riding up to Phekon and further on to Pinlaung, which is the highest altitude town in Southern Shan State, well known for it’s tea and pears, as well as new emerging area for coffee plantations. Take a scenic mountainous road leading down to the lake valley, cross the bridge and continue another 1,5 hours ride to Nyaung Shwe town at the northern end of Inle Lake. Should we get to the switch motorcycles to boats and embark on a short trip over the lake to learn about Intha floating gardens, leg rowers, perhaps visit couple local craft shops. Evening is free for some walk around town.

 Meals included      : Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
 Overnight              : Hotel in Nyaung Shwe


shan highland myanmar motorcycle tour


Wake up early – depending on day of the week, there might be a rotating 5-day market somewhere in the area which is a good opportunity to see local tribal people coming the the market place to trade their produce. Half day boat trip to the wonderful Indein pagoda complex across the lake, before we get back to our motorbikes and take a nice secondary road up the mountains that leads through Pao and Taung Yo farmlands. In Aungban we turn onto the main road and continue for another 15 minutes to Kalaw, the old British hill station town with century old colonial mansions and pine tree groves. Spend rest of the day riding to nearby villages or take a walk through the towns quiet streets.

 Meals included      : Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
 Overnight              : Hotel in Kalaw


shan highland myanmar motorcycle tour


Another great riding day in Shan hills. Drive down the plateau to Aungban and Heho. Where we can stop at little shop where local family makes Shan paper and umbrellas. From Heho we take small single lane road through region with beautiful rolling hills that is often called the Tuscany of Myanmar for resembling the famous region in Italy. The fields are covered with various colors in November which best season to visit here. In Pindaya you can visit the limestone temple cave housing thousands of Buddhas placed there by pilgrims.

 Meals included      : Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
 Overnight              : Hotel in Pindaya


shan highland myanmar motorcycle tour


In the morning we ride out of town and take a shortcut that connects to the nice road with eucalyptus trees, it’s possible to make a quick detour to visit a blue pond hidden in the groves. Lunch stop in Ywangan and we can check out local coffee initiative, Genius Coffee that works closely with a community of Danu small growers. Shortly after leaving the town, road climbs up the mountain, and another 1,5 hours would be a serpentine ride which is partially under reconstruction, offering great view anyway. Once back in the lowlands, it’s just half an hour until we reach the old Yangon-Mandalay highway, from where it’s another 1,5 hours to Mandalay via Kyaukhse.

 Meals included      : Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
 Overnight              : Hotel in Mandalay


shan highland myanmar motorcycle tour


Last day of the program. No riding. Depending on your departure flight time there will be a transfer to airport.

Meals: Breakfast




* English speaking local motorcycle guide
* Motorbike and helmets for each participant
* Accommodation
* Meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner, except Days 1 & 13)
* For 4 and more participants – support truck
* Fuel charges
* Entrance fees for sites visited

Not included:

• Visa to Myanmar
• International air fare or domestic air fares
• Early check-in, late check-out, services
• Meals or any other item not described in the itinerary
• Personal expenses
• Drinks during meals, hotel extras and personal spending

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Tour name: Into The Shan Highlands – Motorcycle Tour

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