Around the world in 80 ways: Electric bike 

The sheer number of temples spread over such a large area in Bagan presents a challenge to visitors. In the 40 plus degree heat, walking around would be impossible. While bicycles are available to hire, they aren’t much better given the sandy paths.

Sandy path, complete with cactus lining

In Myanmar, it is now illegal to hire scooters to tourists, so e bikes are by far the best option. Available for hire for 5000-8000 kyats per day ($5-8) virtually every where around the Nyaung U area, an e bike is basically an electric powered scooter. They have pedals like a normal bike, but on ours at least they were entirely vestigial and didn’t actually do anything. I assume they need to have them so that they can avoid being classified as scooters.

The e bikes aren’t super quick, maybe 30kmh top speed. Although at times you might hope for something a bit faster, this is enough on most of the sandy trails. If you are riding them flat out, which you probably will be, you will get maybe half a day out of the battery. No matter, you can go back to the shop you hired it from and they will replace it for you for the rest of the day. Just try to avoid running out of charge several kms away, as one guy did that we spoke to.

The Bagan area was surprisingly arid at the time we were there. Where we expected lush vegetation we got cacti and sand dunes. The sand at times made it difficult to stay upright. On the plus side though you could fishtail it around the sandy trails and imagine you were in the Dakar rally. Only Myles fell off, just once, and it was into a sand dune so no damage done.

Given the number of idiots who come off scooters in Bali and Phuket (and not into nice soft sand dunes) and do themselves serious damage, most travel insurance policies don’t cover you to ride scooters overseas unless you hold a motorbike licence in Australia. Therefore in case my travel insurance company is listening in, I need to point out one more time this is an ebike and absolutely not a scooter.

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