Day 1 Departure from the UK.
Day 2 Morning arrival in Yangon (Rangoon) and check-in to a comfortable, downtown hotel close to the famous Scott Market. Afternoon at leisure: check out some of the City’s decaying Victorian splendour; the National Museum or perhaps revisit the awesome Shwedagon Pagoda?
Day 3 Morning departure by local train for the ancient Mon capital of Pegu, now Bago. From here we’ll continue to Kyaiktiyo and the foot of the mountain, departure point for our Golden Rock visit. Yes, the gold leaf covered boulder balanced precariously on a mountain top is spectacular for 10 minutes or so, but it’s the whole experience that’s so wonderful. Ride half way up the mountain on an open-topped truck crammed with locals before continuing on foot with the pilgrims for the rest of the way. Truly awesome views and overnight in a ridge-top hotel almost as absurdly situated as the rock itself. You’ll probably curse, scream, sweat, laugh, meet plenty of people and you certainly won’t forget it! (Note, transport can be arranged for the less energetic).
Day 4 Down the mountain and off south to Hpa-an Town, capital of Karen State. Stop off on route to visit some spectacular cave temples and hot springs, with the afternoon to explore the bustling and friendly town before a sunset visit to a beautiful riverside pagoda.
Day 5 Hpa-an is surrounded by dramatic limestone karst scenery including the sacred Zwegabin Mountain, symbol of Karen State, and we’ll spend the day exploring the area’s caves, tunnels, temples and mountains by road, boat and on foot, as well as passing through some of the area’s traditional Karen villages.
Day 6 Early morning departure by boat, for a journey down the scenic Salween River to Moulmein, now Mawlamlyine, capital of Mon State with a stop at a riverside Karen fishing village on the way. Formerly home for several years to George Orwell and immortalized by Kipling, we reckon it's one of the country’s friendliest and most scenic towns. Visit the lively fruit and vegetable market before heading up for sunset at one of the hill-top pagodas overlooking the town and Gulf of Martaban.
Day 7 Off by local boat for a day trip trip to nearby Bilu Kyun - ‘Ogre Island’ - where we’ll visit the very traditional Mon villages and discover some of the local handicrafts and cottage industries. They don’t see many tourists yet, but the villagers will be happy to show you how they make cane walking sticks, typical Burmese style bamboo hats, slate blackboards and even back-garden rubber band making! (Sounds odd but it is absolutely fascinating). Afternoon return to Moulmein for perhaps some sundowners at a waterfront café?
Day 8 We’ll begin with a visit to the town’s lively morning market before heading south to visit some of the region’s attractions: Kyauktalon Taung Pagoda perched Mount Popa style atop a sheer limestone outcrop; the incredible sight of the world’s largest reclining Buddha, Win Sein Taw Ya; a stop at Thanbyuzayat which was the terminus of the infamous WW2 ‘Death Railway’ from Kanchanaburi. You can still see the old Japanese train, plus the cemetery for the Allied POWs who lost their lives building the railway. Last but not least, we visit the iconic Kyaikkami Monastery located in the old colonial period town of Amherst, situated on a rock outcrop jutting into the sea. Continue to the charming little seaside town of Setse for our night's accommodation in beachfront chalets.
Day 9 A short drive south brings us to the delightful little town of Ye. Until late 2013 the town had been off limits to foreigners since independence in 1948 due to perceived security issues with Mon and Karen autonomists. (So to say it’s off the beaten track is an understatement.) We’ll visit the spectacular temple site atop charmingly named Banana Mountain as well as taking in the rustic riverside market before continuing in the afternoon to Dawei, formerly Tavoy.
Day 10 Our day tour of Dawei starts out with another lively waterfront market before heading to the nearby Dawei Peninsula. There can’t be many stretches of coast left in Southeast Asia as spectacular, but yet so little developed. Now is the time to visit, as in 10 years time it's fishing villages, deserted bays and seaside pagodas will be a distant memory.
Day 11 After a morning drive, the next stop is the old colonial port of Mergui, now renamed Myeik. In the afternoon we’ll do a walking tour through streets barely changed in 70 years and take in sunset views of the bustling port from one of the hilltop pagodas.
Day 12 A fascinating day discovering, by road and by boat, some of the area’s traditional industries such as lobster and crab farming, bird’s nest processing, a traditional style shipyard and a visit to a cashew plantation.
Day 13 For our final day in Myeik we’ll offer an optional day cruise by boat through some of the myriad isles of the spectacular Mergui Archipelago (weather permitting). Activities include swimming and snorkelling, a picnic lunch on the beach and a chance to explore some islands on foot. An alternative day in Myeik allows you to explore the town’s ancient temples and windy lanes, mingle in some of the friendly tea-shops and stroll around a lily covered lake with perhaps an afternoon trip to visit the nearby ancient Mon ruins of Tanintharyi.
Day 14 Return flight to Rangoon for your connecting flight home.
Day 15 Arrival in the UK
Note: This tour is offered with or without a return flight from London. Persons not wishing to take up the flight option should join the tour in Yangon on day 2 of the itinerary and depart in Yangon on day 14.
Please note these are photos of sample hotels and resorts; accommodation options may vary and are subject to availability
Spectacular night time view of the incredible Shwedagon Pagoda from the rooftop bar of the centrally located Asia Plaza Hotel, Rangoon.
The very aptly named Mountain Top Hotel is almost as precariously perched as the nearby Golden Rock itself. Extraordinary views, great location and good service!
New on Hpa-an’s hotel scene the well-designed, comfortable Gabbana was a great find with ideal location between the town’s scenic lake and the old town. Walking distance of all the town’s sites; an added bonus is that it possesses the best coffee shop in Hpa-an!
Cinderella Hotel. Not only our favourite hotel in Moulmein but one of our favourites anywhere in Burma! Central location, comfy rooms, helpful and friendly service and it’s even got workable Wi-Fi which you can’t say for every hotel in the country!
The delightful, and perfectly situated, Paradise Hotel has a great seafront location on Setse Beach. There’s not much choice at this fledgling, and very much local style, sea-side resort so fortunately it’s a good one!
Port views are subject to availability of course but you’re guaranteed a great view either of the busy waterfront or across the historic old town from their well appointed rooms or their spectacular rooftop cafe. Perfect spot for breakfast or a end of day sundowner!
The view across central Dawei from the roof-top cafe at the well appointed and comfortable Golden Guesthouse. A central location in the small town makes a great base for exploring Dawei’s quite lanes lined with fantastic colonial period architecture.
"Thank you Mark for a fabulous tour of South Burma – it was magical experiencing the “untouched”areas. The people were warm and engaging in areas where there are few tourists. It was a privilege to travel among them………everyday a highlight for us!"
Glen and Rosanne, January 2014
Please find below a list of suggested extensions for this tour. For reservations please use the tour booking form on the same page
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