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The Mandalay Bike Tour – Grasshopper Tours, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma) – part 4 of 4

By on March 24, 2017 in Myanmar/Burma

After the farm we ventured on down dirt tracks into the countryside and the rice fields where we saw both traditional, and ‘Chinese Water Buffalo” (see photo below) at work.

mandalay bike tour farm chinese water buffalo

Chinese Water Buffalo working the rice fields

The rice fields were amazing. They were quiet (apart from the noise of the engine of the Chinese Water Buffalo), and oddly there didn’t seem to be much wildlife about. With all the standing water I expected there to be a lot of insects and associated birds, but there didn’t seem to be many insects about (I bet it was a different story in the evening). I also expected to see birds following the ploughs in the field snapping up disturbed insects, but again there were none.

mandalay bike tour farm rice fields

Rice fields being ploughed with a Chinese Water Buffalo

The track through the fields was dry and bumpy, and I was told that in the wet season it becomes thick with mud.

mandalay bike tour farm track

Farm track – dry and bumpy

I did like the green of the planted fields. The young rice plants have a very fresh green colour.

mandalay bike tour paddy field

The fresh green of new rice plants

mandalay bike tour farm rice

Rice fields

From the fields, we cycled on through another small village and past a waterway that was full of kids playing.

We eventually emerged on to a wide main road, and we stopped for a mid-morning snack at a local tea shop – couple.befitting.develop.

At the tea shop, we had the hot sweet local tea.

mandalay bike tour tea

Hot sweet tea

Tea-leaf salad, banana pancakes and local bread.  It was all excellent.

mandalay bike tour snack

The bike tour ‘breakfast’

I particularly enjoyed the hot sweet banana pancakes.

mandalay bike tour pancake

Banana Pancake

Tea Leaf Salad - bike tour of Mandalay

Tea Leaf Salad

From the tea-shop we continued down the busy road (thankfully it was very wide and so there was plenty of room for cars and bikes, however, you did have to keep your eyes open for mopeds coming at you on your side of the road) until we came across another tent (see earlier post – The Mandalay Bike Tour – Grasshopper Tours, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma) – part 2 of 4) that was being used for a big party to celebrate the children going off to become monks and nuns.  This time the tent was built in the road, and completely blocked one carriageway (token.shorts.represent). I stopped to take a photo of the tent and was invited in for food and to meet the guests.

Party tent - mandalay bike tour

Party tent

Everyone at the party looked stunning.  Lots of photos and videos were being taken.  I looked like a real scruff (I was in ‘trekking gear’ and had been cycling for over 3 hours) and tried to excuse my self, but the host insisted I stay for food and drink.

mandalay bike tour celebration

Party hosts

The place was stunning.

mandalay bike tour celebration

Party gifts and flowers

And the food was very good.

mandalay bike tour celebration food

Party food

However, for some of the kids, it was all just too much.

mandalay bike tour celebration sleep

A party sleeper

mandalay bike tour celebration party

Stunningly dressed party goers

mandalay bike tour celebration

Smartly dressed party goers

And as I left I was presented with a souvenir fan.

mandalay bike tour celebration

Souvenir fan from the party

mandalay bike tour celebration

Souvenir fan from the party

Getting invited to the celebration felt really odd, but the people seemed genuinely delighted to see us, and insisted we come in for food. I really enjoyed the experience.


Well, I had another fun morning.

The bike ride started at 7:30 am. I was on a 21-speed mountain bike, and we went right out into the country. It was excellent. We visited a local farm. Met the farmer. Stopped in a small village for a snack and visited a couple of temples.

Out in the country, the kids kept waving and saying hello. They seemed delighted to see a fat old European sweating on a bike.

I also saw the guy who peddled me around the other day on the breakfast tour. He seemed very amused to see me on a bike.

On the way back we got invited to a big religious celebration. I had stopped to take a photo and they insisted we come in and have some food and water.

All-in-all it was an excellent trip. We were out for 4.5 hours, it was superb fun, I got to see a lot of the countryside, my guide was excellent (again), and it was a bargain at $35 USD.

I thoroughly recommend it.

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Nick's continued wanderings can be followed on Twitter: @nickswanderings.
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