MYANMAR TRAVEL: DRIVING an E-Bike and E-Motorcycle

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Over thousands of motorbikes in the Philippines are used as a convenient transport for most locals. Dumaguete City which is located in the central part of the country has been tagged as the “Motorcycle Capital in the Philippines”. The place where my family lives, which, unfortunately, I had no experience sweeping motorbike on this laid back city.

Having said all of that, arriving in Myanmar with an information that tourists were only allowed taking e-motorbike or an e-bike to different areas in the country had myself into trouble, other types of motorbikes are only for locals and those tour operators offering cycling tours. Why in trouble? I hate the idea of driving motorcycles, especially with no skills and because renting a car with a driver would slash a huge amount from my travel budget. It’s not also a common thing for most solo travelers I met to hitched on a tour group (maybe some solo travelers do) and my experience joining a tour group in Phuket Thailand made my decision to stop blending in tour groups even when in another country.

Driving the E-Motorcycle alone in Bagan Myanmar
Driving the E-Motorcycle alone in Bagan Myanmar

As a first time user, I was so unsure of what to expect with this kind of electric transportation. Still, I took the shot to delve into this kind of vehicle, thinking it’s the best way to see this homey place apart from no other option. Renting an e-bike in Inlay town was the first thing I did. The very friendly Burmese people helped in familiarizing the electric bike since yours truly decided to take this e-bike to a far distance. I know how to ride a traditional bike so balancing was not an issue on my part, yet, I find the e-bike so heavy and hard. Regardless of what the local had spoken that it’s light and easy to maneuver, I was not convinced.

Through varied discussion with the owner of the bike, I come out some ideas on what are the advantages and disadvantages of using an e-bike. Here are the Pros and Cons of e-bike in my opinion base on my first encounter.

PROS: No contamination, Comfortable, Can last up to 30-50km depending on the type of bike, Runs smoothly.Can still be useful even when it’s out of battery.Still useful even if it runs out of battery. The work of the pedal.

CONS: Batteries made the bike heavy (in my opinion), hard to maneuver to high peaks and have a limited life. Mostly made of fiberglass which can crack easily.

Going uphill with the E-Bike in Myanmar
Going uphill with the E-Bike in Myanmar

On my first day using this bike, I went up to the hill to have a glass of wine to the famous vineyard named as Red Mountain. In going up, I really had a hard time moving the vehicle so I stepped out from it and walked with it to the top of the hill.

How was the experience? Though it was so heavy at first that I had a difficulty manipulating for a while, yet, minutes after using, I felt very comfortable working with it, in fact, no accidents happened. The battery lasted for so long, I used for 25 km in a day.

Took a Photo after I fell down at the dry area in Bagan Myanmar
Took a Photo after I fell down at the dry area in Bagan Myanmar

After staying 4 days in (Inlay) Nyaungshwe Township, I transferred to Bagan for another adventure. Thus, in Bagan, I opted to rent for an e-motorbike for 2 days just to change course. With Bagan’s fascinating Pagodas plus its excruciating heat of the sun, lurking the whole place with e-motorcycles fits well. (Visited Myanmar on dry season).

Unfortunately, I fell not only once but more with the electric motorcycle. Manipulating this machine to the very dry area covered with fine-grained sand on the road had led myself dropped a couple of times. The disaster resulted in a number of bruises everywhere in my body. Since the weather was so dry, shifting gears even from resting to starting was unstable, especially when going to the uphill on a dry & sandy road.

Practicing to be comfortable with an e-bike in Myanmar
Practicing to be comfortable with an e-bike in Myanmar

How was the experience? Extremely challenging, it’s light to handle when it’s running, either slow or as fast. Nevertheless, it’s not the best option in my opinion base on my experience when it’s in the area same as Bagan during a dry season. Clearly, there is a need on my side to engage more with e-motorcycle. Technically, checking its pros and cons, the only thing I could relate to as it’s being such an eco-friendly vehicle and its disadvantage is when losing control in monitoring the battery which was the typical problem of the tourists.

While this kind of activity was so new to me, I still think there is need to try this again to understand if this suits myself to my future travel. Nonetheless, traveling to Myanmar as a solo traveler satisfyingly share a very good exposure, knowledge, and the type of activity we must learn.

Have you tried traveling to a country with an e-bike? Or how about an e-motorbike?

For those who own bikes, you may want to check out best metzeler motorcycle tires at bikebandit.com

Author: Ferna Mae

Ferna is from the Philippines who travel spontaneously. Thrives to be more independent in her own skin. She first traveled The Philippines before she embarked to other countries. She believes that by traveling, her undying crave for learning excites her in a more profound way. Her flexibility had proven her that time is genuine. As a former tour guide in the Philippines, she hopes that her travel experiences will give value to the aspiring travelers. Connect with her at everywherewithferna@gmail.com,

42 thoughts on “MYANMAR TRAVEL: DRIVING an E-Bike and E-Motorcycle

  1. Hahaha, getting to experience something new is always exciting. I personally haven’t experienced driving an e-bike and even a gas-powered motorcycle, though I’m confident with my biking skills. But given the chance to drive one, then why not? Also, I believe bicycles are one of the best ways to discover every corner of a place. It does not speed-up much that you’ll miss some small interesting spots and neither does slow you down especially if you are after a specific timing like sunsets or events on a specific spot. By the way, your international travels are so inspiring. I wanna try it out soon. *crosses fingers* 😉

    1. Awww.. Thank you WanderingFeetPh! Appreciate a lot. I am sure you will travel soon outside the country, but I am also proud that you are willing to see the wonders of our country and share it with others. Kudos!

    1. I didn’t had a driver’s license but they asked for a passport or an ID, I gave an ID. :) maybe they will be asking these days, not sure of that.

  2. We were in Bagan 4 months ago Ferna Mae. Loved seeing those quiet, outright silent e-bikes whiz by. I walked or cycled via old school bike but did enjoy the scenery, the temples and the overall vibe. LONG time motorbike driver from my years spent in Thailand and Bali. 3 years between the 2 places. Love hitting the road with the moto but I drive cautiously, slowly and calmly too. So I stay alive LOL.

    1. That’s a really good one Ryan. SouthEastAsia is just one of the places to ride a motorbike on a risk too. 😀

  3. I like this initiative in Myanmar but I agree that the bikes are heavy and a little difficult to handle, well done on travelling solo!

  4. This sounds terrifying, but I’m still trying to learn how to ride a regular bike with some confidence. It seems like you did fairly well with them though! Great work!

  5. My husband and I did an e-motorcycle in 2009 for a few months but I found out that I could not sit in it for long…just about 15 minutes was my limit.

    1. oh.. sorry to hear about that. I wonder why there was a limit. but, I absolutely didn’t like sitting for long in a motorbike too

  6. From your experience, it seems like the e-bike was easier to manage. I’m wondering about the heat. I know this part of Asia can be super hot and humid. Did the e-bike feel like you were really exerting yourself? I have driven Vespas and motos but would definitely want to give an e-bike a try.

  7. WEll, it was not an e-bike but a bike that I did in Goa. It was a fun fun experience. It made the smaller corners of Goa even more accessible. Loved doing it and would possibly do it over again!

  8. Interesting to read about the e bikes. I always wondered how they work, but never have tried! Thank you for sharing this info, I now know which is best.

  9. This is really interesting. I’ve never heard of an e-bike, but I’d love to give it a try on my upcoming trip to Myanmar. I love that you’re honest about the fact that it did make the bike heavier. Thanks for the great, honest info.

  10. We rented e-bikes to explore Bagan. They were mostly great for zipping around such a large site in pretty much the shortest amount of time possible other than hiring the driver. The only issue we had was after watching sunset from on top of a temple, we had to drive through a really sandy wash back to a paved road and the e-bikes weren’t great in the deeper, fine sand. But out of a full 12+ hour day of exploring in Bagan, we really only had issues for maybe 30 minutes. It’s an option I’d recommend.

  11. Have not driven an e-bike, but as it appears, it seems to be the mode of choice in Myanmar. I am sure you enjoyed the experience in spite of all its challenges. Hope to get to Myanmar and experience first hand traveling with the ebike.

  12. I like that even though you took few falls, you got back up and are happy trying it again for the next trip. I would love to visit Myanmar, though I also haven’t ridden motorcycles before. Hopefully an eletric bike wouldn’t be too difficult, but I’m glad to know in advance that it’s a challenge – something I think I would try at least

  13. We were there May last year (monsoon season), and we also tried the e-bike. I hope you’re okay after your accident. The e-bike is quite heavy and most of us were a bit scared to try it. But for the thrill of it and because it’s a cheap option to visit pagodas and temples, we tried it. We enjoyed visiting pagodas and temples on two wheels. But it would have been perfect if not for the rain. We hope we can come back during the dry season to see hot air balloons over Bagan.

  14. Hey Ferna Mae

    Well, Great post. I know that you are interesting about bike riding. But your selected road are not suitable for your e-bikes.It was a fun fun experience. You must ride this bike in Goa.

    Best of Luck.

  15. You are 100% correct about the batteries making these things super heavy. I experienced the same thing recently when trying out my first E-bike. I’m a motorcycle enthusiast, so for me, it wasn’t really my cup of tea. But they are awesome for people who want to get a taste of what its like to ride a motorcycle.
    Nice article!

    1. Thank you, Jack, appreciate a feedback from a motorcycle enthusiast, I am so honored. I wonder, where did you try your first e-bike?

    1. Hi Marie, unfortunately, I am not the right person to ask about motorcycles for daily commuting, although I am using the scooter when I am in the Philippines for daily commuting which for me is really fine for women using in the South East Asia, and personally, scooters suits well my needs. :) If you want to see more about scooters, you may check this site, this might help you decide. https://www.bikebandit.com/scooter-gear Hope this helps.

  16. Myanmar. So much in the news lately. Would love to travel the countryside but a little concerned.

    Thak you for your take on it, and for your tips and hints. Very much appreciated.

    1. Absolutely there is so much news lately, but the place mentioned in the news is not that near of those spots or places where tourists are allowed, I am just not sure if there are some changes. I went there last year, from Myawaddy to Inlay to Bagan and then Yangon. I love Myanmar and the people too. Hope you could visit the place.

  17. Thanks for your great share. After reading your article I am very interested travel in Myanmar. Can you give me some pro tips? Did you feel any problem in Myanmar?

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