Alternative transport

Sometimes, you just don’t feel like biking for one or more days and you want to keep going. Or, there is no accommodation available in the town you’ve arrived late at night. Transport to the next town can be necessary in that case. Also, cycling out of a big city like Yangon can be quite challenging: taking an outbound train and start off your cycling adventure from there can be a very attractive alternative. What are the options for alternative transport whilst taking your bike along?

Arranging alternative transport for you and your bike is easy in Myanmar, like it is in almost any country on the Asian continent. We’ve been transporting our bikes on top of buses, in minvans, in airplanes and in Toyota Proboxes, and in every case the drivers involved have been very considerate, flexible but above all very proficient in securing and fastening the bike on or in wherever it fitted. In most cases, there is some extra payment involved: varying between half, one fifth or not even one tenth of the passenger fee.

For taking our bike from Ye to Dawei on top of a minivan (a four to five-hour trip) we payed 4.000 kyats (almost 3 euro’s) per bike extra, on top of the passenger fee of 8.000 kyats. Bikes were fastened quickly and professionally on top of and in between pieces of furniture, bags with rice and groceries. In most cases, no preparation for transport is required, but twisting the handlebars might be wise and appreciated. Also, don’t forget to remove your drinking bottles (or fasten them with tape to frame-clips or containers), because they might fall out otherwise.

For taking two bikes with us on the flight from Dawei to Yangon, we had to pay for excess luggage of 13 kilo’s, which costed us 26.000 kyats (not even 20 euro’s; the passenger tickets costed around 200 euro’s for two persons in total). These costs were calculated based on the total allowance in kilo’s for two persons, and the total excess was charged, independent of dimensions or amount of pieces we carried (in our case: four per person, including the bike). First, ground personnel agreed to transport the bike with just pedals removed and handlebars twisted, but finally the bike had to fit the security scanning machine. This resulted in removing and twisting the handlebars to a lower position, lowering the saddle and removing the stand as well. No packing material or covers were required, and both bikes endured the trip in fine condition. Taking your bike on an international or intercontinental flight is a different story. Read about that in the preparation section of this blog.

Taking your bike by train is also easy in our experience: the train from Yangon to Kyaiktho contained a separate cargo carriage in which the two bikes were transported for a charge of 1608 kyats (the price was calculated based on a roughly estimated weight of 50 kilo’s for two bikes). The passenger fee was 2400 kyats for each person – including a life insurance fee of 0,99 kyats. No alterations or preparations required, bikewise. We tried to arrange the whole trip on the day before at the station manager’s office, but nothing formal happened: we were just told to show up the next morning at his office 1,5 hours before departure – and by doing so everything was arranged timely and smoothly: we were shown to the cargo entrance of the station, bikes were checked in and labelled with the destination city, personnel carried luggage to the passenger carriage and the bikes were loaded into the cargo carriage. At, Kyaiktho, bikes were unloaded and off we went!

Do you want to take your bike in a taxi? Toyota Proboxes, the most widely used taxi-types can carry your boxed bike! You’ll find more on that in the preparation section of this blog.

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