Southern Myanmar (Burma) Revealed

15 days
from
£2,549
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Trip code: 
AKM
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Discover the temples, history and landscapes of this unexplored corner of Myanmar

Southern Myanmar is a mystical and relatively untouched corner of the country that extends along the border of Thailand and is lapped by the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. We begin our tour in the lively city of Yangon, where we can see the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, and then venture south into a region that few tourists ever reach but yet has many incredible sights and experiences to offer. This is a trip that rewards a spirit of adventure and along the way you will enjoy highlights such as watching sunset at the unusual pilgrimage site of Golden Rock, canoeing through the enormous Saddan Cave onto a hidden lake and then further south, the reefs and golden beaches of the remote Mergui Archipelago.

Highlights

  • Sunset at the revered Golden Rock
  • Mergui Archipelago’s reefs and golden beaches
  • The magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda
  • Canoeing through Saddan Cave

  • Myeik's local markets and old teak houses

Key information

  • 11 nights hotels and 1 night full-service camping
  • Travel by private bus and boat
  • Some long drives
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 years
  • Bagan extension available

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 1 dinner included
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Depart London.

  • Day 2

    Arrive Yangon; city tour including Shwedagon Pagoda.

    We have some free time to recover from the flight before enjoying a short tour of this teeming city which ends at the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda. The pagoda is 2,500 years old and the most religious site in Myanmar that is said to contain eight hairs of the Buddha as well as 5500 diamonds and other precious stones. There will be a welcome briefing this evening with an optional group dinner at a local restaurant.

    Grand United Hotel or similar

  • Day 3

    Bago City and Golden Rock.

    This morning we leave Yangon and drive to Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda (Golden Rock).  Along the way we visit the former capital, Bago City and see some of the Buddha statues and temples that it is famous for. In the afternoon we begin our approach to the Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda which involves boarding an open truck at the foot of Mount Kyaikhtiyo for an 11km drive along dirt roads followed by a 45 minute walk up to the important pilgrimage site. Completely covered in gold leaf and delicately balanced on the edge of a cliff high above the coastal plains, this renowned monument is an experience to rival the Shwedagon Pagoda or the breath-taking beauty of Bagan, particularly when the sun begins to set.

    Mountain Top Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Visit Kawgun Cave and Kyauk Ka Latt; transfer to Hpa An.

    After breakfast we descend along the dirt tracks back to our vehicle and then proceed to Hpa An, the capital city of Karen (Kayin) state. On arrival, we visit Kawgun Cave where we can view thousands of tiny Buddha carvings dating back to the 7th century all over the walls of this open cavern. We then move on to Kyauk Ka Latt, a pagoda mounted on a striking pinnacle of rock balancing vertically on its own in the middle of a lake. We then end the day enjoying sunset from the Shwe Yin Myaw Pagoda, located on the bank of Than Lwin River.

    Hotel Gabana or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Canoe through Saddan Cave; transfer to Mawlamyaine.

    Today we depart for Mawlamyaine, the capital of Mon State. On the way we stop to visit Saddan Cave, one of the highlights of the area. As you enter the enormous limestone cavern you will be greeted by statues of the Buddha, a couple of pagodas and (if you venture far enough) truck-sized stalactites and walls of crystal. We board canoes and then emerge from the far side of the cave onto an idyllic hidden lake. Following this we proceed to Mawlamyaine through Karen villages and limestone hills. Upon arrival we then have some free time to explore the third largest city in Myanmar which was also the first British settlement in the country.

    Ngwe Moe Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Explore Bilu Island; sightseeing in Mawlamyaing.

    A short transfer takes us to nearby Bilu, a self-contained island comprised of numerous small villages. Upon arrival we observe local workshops located around the island producing items such as slate boards, rubber bands and walking sticks. On our return to Mawlamyaine we have the opportunity to visit its famous teak wood monasteries and observe local life before heading to the Queen Sein Don Monastery.  Here we can enjoy sunset at the Kyaik Than Lan Pagoda, a site which served as inspiration for ‘Mandalay’, one of Rudyard Kipling's most famous poems.

    Ngwe Moe Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 7

    Visit Thanbyuzayat Death Railway; drive to Dawei.

    This morning we depart Mawlamyaing for Thanbyuzayat, the western terminus of the notorious ‘Death Railway’ that was built to connect British Burma with Siam during the Second World War. Thousands of Allied prisoners of war were forced to build the railway here by the Japanese military and a cemetery containing the graves of more than 3,000 servicemen can be found close by. We then continue south through lush forest to Dawei, a sleepy, tropical seaside town that is rich in history and colonial architecture.

    Golden Guest Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Dawei tour; drive through remote villages to Myeik.

    After breakfast we set off on foot for a tour of Dawei and visit the old monasteries and colonial-style brick and stucco houses of the downtown area. We also explore the lively market where the town’s residents shop for local produce such as fresh fish and vegetables. This afternoon we have a long but rewarding drive through beautiful countryside and remote villages to Myeik, which will be our base for the evening.

    Hotel Grand Jade or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Walking tour of Myeik; observe boat building at Kwe Ku dockyard.

    Myeik, located on a peninsula that extends out into the Andaman Sea, is a picturesque coastal city scattered with historic wooden houses and Buddhist temples.  Few foreign visitors venture here but those that do receive friendly attention from the local population. This morning we begin a walking tour of the city that takes in the bustling local market, old teak houses that date back to the start of the twentieth century and the Asoungkoung quarter where we can see the local fishing industry.  In the afternoon we visit Kew Ku Boatyard and observe the building process of local vessels using traditional methods passed down the generations. We end the day at the famous Theindawgyi Pagoda that sits on a ridge overlooking the city and harbour. From here we can watch the sunset over the Andaman Sea before eating out at a local restaurant.

    Hotel Grand Jade or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Visit Mergui Archipelago by speed boat; meet local family; free time on Drakes Island.

    Today we travel by speedboat out onto the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea and into the beautiful Mergui Archipelago. Our first stop is Ross Island, where we can relax by a stunning waterfall and explore the island.  We also meet a local family and learn about their way of life in this remote setting. In the early afternoon we transfer to Drakes Island and enjoy a late lunch on a deserted, white-sand beach.  The rest of the day is free to relax, go swimming or snorkelling or explore this tropical paradise.

    Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Sail to Pyone Gyi Island and snorkel coral reef; return to Myeik via Shwe Thar Lyaung Pagoda.

    This morning we sail to Pyone Gyi Island and have the opportunity to snorkel in the warm tropical waters; exploring the colourful coral reef and its abundant marine life that surrounds the island. Lunch is on the beach at Kyal Lake Island and we have some more free time to enjoy the stunning setting before returning to Myeik in the afternoon via a visit to the Shwe Thar Lyaung Pagoda.

    Hotel Grand Jade or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 12

    Drive to Kawthaung.

    Today’s drive to Kawthaung, a town located in the southernmost part of Myanmar, is the longest of the itinerary but the reward is that we explore a region of the country that few western tourists ever reach. Along the way we have a rest stop with beautiful views of the Great Tenasserim River and pass by many remote villages.  Depending on the condition of the roads, the total drive time should be approximately 10 hours which will be bumpy and unsurfaced on occasion.  On arrival in Kawthaung, we will have dinner and then be able to relax in the evening.

    Victoria Cliff Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Leave Myanmar by boat; arrive in Ranong; transfer to Phuket.

    We have a free morning to relax or explore the teahouses and shops located along Kawthaung’s bustling waterfront. In the early afternoon we leave Myanmar behind and take a short boat ride across the estuary to Ranong in Thailand. Here we say goodbye to our leader, who remains in Ranong, and we transfer to our hotel in Phuket. We should arrive by the early evening and will have the opportunity to enjoy a final group meal.

    Coriacea Boutique Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Morning at leisure; end Phuket.

    Free time in the morning. Depart to the airport for the return flight to the UK.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Arrive London.

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Extend Your Trip

Bagan

If you wish to visit Bagan, one of Asia’s holiest cities, the following four-night extension can be added to the start of the main itinerary.

Please ask for prices.

 

Extension Day 1 - Start Yangon.

The day is free to recover from the flight or to explore the teeming city of Yangon.

Grand United Hotel or similar

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Extension Day 2 - Fly to Bagan; free time until sunset tour.

This morning we leave early for our short flight to the ancient wonder of Bagan (Pagan), where we will do a short orientation walk on arrival. There are over 2000 temples and pagodas in many shapes and sizes to explore amongst the 25 square miles of brick that compare to the Angkor kingdom of Cambodia, Chichen Itza and Machu Picchu as one of the world's most spectacular archaeological sites. This is where Buddhism, Hinduism and Nat worship come together in an array of different shrines. There is free time to explore the area by bike or on foot (optional) before this evening's visit to Shwezigon Paya one of Bagan's most famous temples. This is the only temple which is a Buddhist Temple as well as a Nat Shrine in the same compound, and reflects the local beliefs here which combine both religions.

Yar Kinn Tha Hotel or similar

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Extension Day 3 - Full day at Bagan's temples.

A full day spent exploring the temple complex spreading out as far as the horizon with its peaks of brick stupas that dot the skyline in many shapes and forms. After the former Kings of Bagan introduced Theravada Buddhism in the mid‐11th century building commenced, a string of Kings followed building temples to worship their gods. Ananda Pahto with its bejewelled umbrella (hti), Dhammayangyi pahto and Shwesandaw Paya are the largest and most impressive sights we will visit along with the smaller hidden gems well away from the main tourist route which offer unique opportunities to delve deeper into the history. We will finish the day with sunset at Shwe Sandaw Temple with its stunning 360 degree views, don't forget to look behind as the sun hits the many temples nearby, a truly magical experience and a photographer's paradise.

For those that would like to do the optional balloon ride on day 3 or 4, please consult the Optional Extras section.

Yar Kinn Tha Hotel or similar

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Extension Day 4 - Morning sightseeing at Bagan; fly to Yangon.

Returning to the huge site of Bagan this morning we will visit more temples including Manuha Paya and the bas relief figures at Nan Paya. Away from the other temples we'll also see the 13th century temple of Wetkyi‐In‐Gubyaukgyi with its impressive frescoes. Later we'll visit a traditional lacquerware artisan, as this area is famous for these beautiful products. This afternoon we will have some free time before leaving for our return flight to Yangon.

Grand United Hotel or similar

Meals included: Breakfast

Essential Info

Visas

Myanmar (Burma)

Nearly all nationalities require a visa to enter Myanmar (Burma), and this must be obtained prior to departure. Passengers without a visa will not be allowed to enter the country.
For further information see http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/travelink/Burma.pdf
For nationalities where there is no Burmese embassy please contact the Exodus office for assistance.

Thailand

A visa for Thailand is not required for British nationals for stays of 30 days or less. If you are unsure of the requirements please check with your nearest Thai embassy.

Vaccinations

Myanmar (Burma)

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements for this trip.

Recommended vaccinations for this trip are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Yellow Fever.

Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited on this trip. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Thailand

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 1 dinner included.

Myanmar's food is a diverse blend of Chinese, Indian and South East Asian influences, with many regional variations of their 'standard' dishes. Rice is at the core of most Burmese food, and good vegetarian food is widely available, curries are very common as are noodles and soup. In the bigger hotels and cities and at Inle Lake western food is available. Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in Myanmar the availability of certain specialised products for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free or dairy-free, is minimal or non-existent and we strongly recommend you bring these specialised dietary items from home.

Weather

Is this trip for you?

When visiting Myanmar you will find a country with a colonial past but that has changed very little and is still relatively new to tourism. Thus the tourism infrastructure is fairly underdeveloped. Whilst travelling in the more remote or less developed regions, patience may be required as the service in hotels and restaurants will be slower than you may be used to in other countries.

There is a lot to see and some of the drives will be long and on bumpy local roads but the benefit will be that we will see the best of what Southern Myanmar has to offer, all the way from Yangon to the border of Thailand. On most days the average travelling time will be between 3 and 7 hours.  The longest drive will be between Myeik and Kawthaung and in dry conditions should take approximately 10 hours. However, there will be regular stops and the drive provides great insight into a region of rural Myanmar that few tourists ever get to see.

Internet connection is now available at lot of the accommodation, but can be intermittent. Mobile coverage is generally adequate and you should be able to use your phone in most areas. Accommodation standards can vary and overall the standard should not be compared with hotels in neighbouring Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia. Please note that you will be required to remove footwear and socks before entering temples in Myanmar.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Camping

11 nights hotels and 1 night full-service camping.

The accommodation is mostly in standard hotels but there is also 1 night of full-service camping. Sleeping mats, pillows and blankets are provided for the camping. The campsite also has a couple of temporary toilets and bathrooms and lighting. As Southern Myanmar is relatively untouched by tourism, accommodation standards can vary and overall the service and quality should not be compared with hotels in neighbouring Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia. There is mesh on the hotel windows where needed. Internet connection is now available at most of the accommodation, but can be intermittent.

Single accommodation (available on request).

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

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Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on 020 8772 3936