- Witness authentic Myanmar, beginning with a glimpse into ancient history in Yangon, Bago and Mon State
- Revel in the mythical, ancient stupas perched atop dreamy golden rocks
- Reminisce and celebrate the valour of allied soldiers (WWII) laid to rest in Thanbyuzayat
- Discover hidden treasures along mountain trails of Ye, Dawei and islets of Myeik.
- Visit local communities to experience authentic Myanmar
Hidden Treasures Myanmar offers you a kaleidoscope of options to witness authentic Myanmar old and new. Begin with the beguiling Yangon with its ancient attractions – not least the 25-centuries old Shwe Dagon Pagoda, mellow colonial facades downtown and newer trends elsewhere. Proceed to Bago, an ancient capital, and Mon State where the Golden Rock graces the trees-clad mountain ranges, balanced precariously on a cliff since the mist of history. Discover Myanmar ways of life and admire skillful handiworks of local craftsmen while immersing in local culture. Lose yourself among the pristine islands and islets of Myeik, get a peek into the local pearl industry while sauntering into the lives of local Moken tribe – a sea-dwelling people. Be amazed by the pearly sands of beaches in Dawei and crystalline Dome waterfall cascading straight into the sea and the legendary King Bayint Naung on the cape of Kawthaung, the southernmost Myanmar city.
Day 1: Welcome to golden land Myanmar
Mingalarbar and welcome to Myanmar! Upon arrival at Yangon International Airport, our tour guide will welcome you and drive to your hotel for check-in. After a short break at the hotel, your day starts with a downtown trip to explore the city center and its fabulous mix of architecture and sites filled with historical buildings. Most of the buildings have a faded colonial charm which you cannot see elsewhere in Asia: there is the post office – a lovely historic building, passing by Strand Hotel and Independence Monument inside the Mahabandoola Garden. Then, visit the famous Chauk Htat Kyi Pagoda, one of the famous reclining Buddha images in Myanmar donated by Sir Pho Thar Gyi in 1907. Go on to Bogyoke (Scotts) Market (closed every Monday and on public holidays), the finest place for shopping in Yangon being a one-stop shopping location for both locals and foreigners where you can find all local products (Myanmar souvenirs, lacquer ware, tapestry, gems & jewelry and etc.). In the evening, you will visit the 2,500-year-old Shwedagon Pagoda which enshrines strands of Buddha's hair and other holy relics. It is the most sacred and impressive Buddhist site for the people of Myanmar. You can also observe the local pilgrims and monks offering their devotions. At the same time, you can enjoy the amazing sunset view from Shwedagon pagoda. Enjoy your night at a hotel in Yangon.
Day 2: Yangon – Bago – Golden Rock
After breakfast at hotel, around 8:00 am, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby and you will proceed to Bago, (approximately 2 hours’ drive) which was the old capital city of successive Mon and Bamar kingdoms and is one of the richest archeological sites in Myanmar. According to history, Mons (akin to Khmers in Cambodia) migrated down the mighty Mekong and were the first to settle down in this region since Buddha times, leaving behind a rich heritage of culture and architecture. The highlights of Bago city tour include Shwemawdaw Pagoda –114 meters in height and the tallest pagoda on record in Myanmar. Shwethahlaung reclining Buddha, it is believed that Mons built the Buddha in 994 AD and rediscovered it in 1880AD. 55 meters in length and 16 meters in height the reclining Buddha is well known in Bago and beyond. Kanbawza Thadi – The heart of ancient Hanthaweddy was the Kanbawza Thadi and the original Palace was built by King Bayintnaung in 1556. It is said that the original palace had 76 apartments. It was burnt down in 1599. Kyaik Pun Pagoda, known for its four towering images sitting back to back with slightly different facial expressions and being visible from far away in the open air without shelter. You will continue to a local restaurant for lunch and from there drive directly to Kimpun base camp in Kyaik-Hto Mon State to climb up the Golden Rock – an irresistible attraction for visitors far and near with its rich history. On arrival at the base camp, special trucks customized for steep climbs will take you on a thrilling ride up numerous hills to your final destination – the Golden Rock. Check-in at your hotel and wander around the pagoda precincts. Enjoy the sunset and your stay at the Golden Rock.
Day 3: Golden Rock – Hpa An
After breakfast at hotel, check out and with your guide. We then take the cable half way down the hill, change to a truck and continue down to the base camp. Our waiting vehicle will take you to Hpa-An (approximately 2 ½ hours). The people are friendly, and the city is the logical base from where exploration of caves – often adorned with Buddhist art, sacred mountains and rivers and lakes of the stunning surrounding countryside. The sightseeing will start with Bayin Nyi Cave, famous for its hot springs nearby and its beautiful history. Continue to explore Kawt Goon Cave, a natural lime stone cave, where visitors enter to see the gallery of terra-cotta consisting of thousands of clay Buddhas all over the roof and the walls of the caves. Have lunch at a local restaurant and proceed to Sadan Cave, where, upon entry, a large number of Buddha statues and a lineup of monk statues can be seen on the cave walls. It will take about an hour to visit the interiors and return by a small canoe. Drive back to Hpa-An. It is now time to take beautiful sunset photo at Shwe Yin Myaw Pagoda, situated on the eastern bank of Than Lwin River. You can see statues of giant Frog and Dragon at the Pagoda. Enjoy your night in Hpa-an.
Day 4: Hpa An - Mawlamyine (Private Boat)
After breakfast at hotel, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby and take the private boat (approximately 3 hour) to Mawlamyine (Moulmein) – a historic city chronicled by Rudyard Kipling. Enjoy the scenic cruise along the Thanlwin River. Along the way we stop at U Nar Auk Monastery, which was built during the British rule by the finest craftsmen of the time. Mawlamyine is the 4th largest city of Myanmar as well as the first capital of British Burma, boasting intact colonial era buildings. After lunch we drive to Bilu Island (Ogre Island). There are quite a few stories about the islands name. The best one might be that in the past people – possibly water-dwelling tribes who currently inhabit the Myeik Archipelago – were so ugly and eat raw meat that they are mistaken for ogres. No ogres nowadays but thriving homestead industries will greet you once you have crossed the new bridge linking mainland Mon State with the islanders. Our first stop will be the slate industry. School kids even nowadays will have an old fashioned slate board for the first grade to learn the writing of the Burmese Alphabet. Further down the road is a local blacksmith who is sharpening the sickle for the rice farmers. We will reach Ywa Loot Village, a village of creative geniuses known for making smoking pipes and other handicrafts. Watch the workers manufacturing pipes in their local homes. Lunch will be in a clean local restaurant (own account). Other small industries we are going to visit are the rubber band making from leftovers of the rubber industry, the cigar rolling shop and rice paddy cultivation (seasonal). Be enthralled by a sunset view from the vantage point of the Kyaikthanlan Pagoda, immortalized in Rudyard Kipling’s poem that begins: “By the old Moulmein Pagoda, looking’ lazy at the sea/ There’s a Burma girl a-setting’, and I know she thinks o’ me…”. After sightseeing at those interesting places, transfer to hotel in Mawlamyine for overnight.
Day 5: Mawlamyine to Ye (Private Vehicle)
After breakfast at hotel, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby and leave for Thanbyuzayat (approximately 3 hours), a small provincial town well-known for its graves of fallen allied soldiers. It is located about 34 km from Mawlamyaing, serving as the starting point of the Death Railway connecting Myanmar (Thanbyuzayat Station) and Thailand (Bang Pong Station) with the Bridge over River Kwai, constructed by the Japanese during WWII. This Death Railways was started in May 1943 and official opened on 25th October 1943. More than 20.000 prisoners of war died during the construction period. The newly opened Railway Museum is well worth a visit. 10 Miles before Ye we will stop by at the Banana Mountain from where you can enjoy the panorama of Ye valley. The translation Banana Mountain comes from the Mon language. The tower at the top with its nine levels and nine different decorations are well worth a climb. After arrival in Ye, a short break at a hotel follows. Time-permitting, we will visit the local gold market (closed on Sundays). Gold was the currency which kept its value in Myanmar, so people would rather put their savings into gold and not leave it at home under their pillow. If there is enough time we can enjoy a marvelous sun set from the Ye Railway Bridge. Enjoy your night at a hotel in Ye.
Day 6: Ye to Dawei (Private Vehicle)
After breakfast at hotel, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby and we will start our journey over a stunning mountain range, which divides the Tanintharyi Division and the Mon State. The drive takes you up and down winding roads, offering a stunning view of the landscape. Along the way we visit a local brick factory, which is showing us how bricks are made by hand (seasonal). The local workers are delighted to display the fruit of their hard labor and are always happy to be photographed. Before we reach Dawei we visit Nabule Beach, where the Burmese Government has plans to build the biggest Deep Sea Port in South East Asia. You will find a nice empty beach stretch for yourself as finances of the project are unclear until today. Feel free to go for a swim. Please note there are no facilities at all. We prepare a simple picnic lunch for you on the beach. Take your time and relax on the magnificent beach it might be gone in the near future. In this case we will prepare an alternative program. After arrival to Dawei we check in to your hotel for refreshments. Dawei is the capital of Tanintharyi division in southern Myanmar, formerly known as Tavoy. Dawei was one of the first cities, where the English settled after the 1st Anglo-Burmese War in 1826. As a result the town has enduring colonial legacy with picturesque buildings from the old times. Time-permitting, we go for a stroll along Dawei’s interesting riverfront waterfront. Enjoy your night at hotel in Dawei.
Day 7: Dawei City Tour and Maung Ma Gan Beach
After breakfast at hotel, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby and we will have a look around to get a picture of Dawei’s daily life and famous sights. A family owned cashew nut business with its ever cheery workers will show us how much work it is to peel one nut. How people can make a living in Dawei is the question we will ask on the way to San Maria Beach. By the end of the day we hope you have all the answer you need. Most of the farming nowadays is rubber plantation. How the white rubber sheets are made we will show you at one of the uncountable plantations. Beside the rubber trees there is another big industry, dried fish. How long fish has to lie in the sun we can find out at one of the fishing villages. Everywhere in Tanintharyi Division you can find beetle nut trees. They even export the betel nuts to India. We will have lunch (on you own account) in front of Myaw Yit Pagoda, connected by a bridge with the main land. Afterwards we are going for a swim or simple stroll along San Maria Beach. Be not surprised if you are the only one for the day at the beach as mass tourism is still far away. On the way back we can stop at hot springs to wash the salt off. It is been said, that the 60 C hot waters have healing powers. In the late afternoon we reach the well-known Maung Ma Gan Beach. Enjoy the relaxed and uncrowded beach atmosphere (except holidays) with a sun downer and a delicious seafood dinner. Return to your hotel after a fabulous sunset. Enjoy your night at hotel in Dawei.
Day 8: Forest Herbs, Rivers and a barefoot Spa
After breakfast at hotel, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby and drive to Ka Lone Htar Village orchard village (approximately 2 hours). Upon arrival you are welcomed by your local guide from the Community based tourism team and you will be introduced to activities for the day. You will be visiting a traditional herbal garden and get to know how illnesses were cured back in the old days without pharmacies. It seems everything was available, something here for headache, something there for stomach problems. Afterwards we take a stroll through the orchard and get to know the local farming processes among others cardamom, pepper, thanaka and betel nut. Strolling along the clear waters of the stream we take time for a splash in the refreshing water before you will have a local home cooked beautiful lunch set in the shade of the trees lining the river. After a well-deserved break you will walk a little further to the natural hot springs of the village. Change into traditional, more comfortable clothes and take the time to relax your muscles in the different temperature water holes. Walk along over sand and stones to have you own foot reflection massage. Afterwards, head back to your Dawei hotel.
Day 9: Overland to the fishing town Myeik
After breakfast at hotel, your guide will meet you at the hotel lobby at 7:30 and then leave for Myeik (approximately 6 hours). These 230 kilometers of road have been closed for foreigners for a long time. In past even locals needed a permit to pass that road, planes and ferry boats were the only means of transport. Just a few miles after Dawei we visit the Shin Mok Hti pagoda, reportedly dating back to 1438 and houses original pieces of the bodhi tree, the Sacred Tree of the East. Our drive takes us through tiny villages, stopping every now and then to discover the daily lives of the rural community. Lunch along the way in a clean local restaurant on your own account. In Palaw we can stretch our legs and walk up to the view point pagoda, which offers a panoramic 360 degree view on this beautiful town as well as the river winding its way to the ocean. We reach Myeik in the afternoon. Already in the early 17th century the East Indian Trading Company were unloading their ships at the ports of Myeik. Most of the goods would go inland and from there up to Tanintharyi and further on to the old capital of Siam Ayutthaya. Leave the rest of the afternoon to your own leisure. Enjoy your night at hotel in Myeik.
Day 10: Myeik City Tour
After breakfast at hotel, your guide will meet you at the hotel lobby and start to explore Myeik, a tropical paradise ringed by hundreds of pristine, uninhabited islands and also one of the biggest fishing towns in Myanmar. “Beik” as the locals call it, their hometown produces everything the fishing industry needs. Have you ask yourself where all the ice to keep the seafood fresh comes from? We visit a ship dock yard where they still build the wooden boats like in the old days. One of the export products are soft shell crabs. We will explain you on a farm how the crabs take off their shells. Myeik’s dry fish area might not be for everybody, but it has not changed for decades. We will take you on a quick tour through the it to have a feel of the fishing industry and its products. For lunch we take you to a traditional fried rice noodle shop, where Myeiks all-time favorite food Kyi Kite is made. Another industry widely practised industry in Myeik is the harvesting of bird nest. We take you to one of the bird hotels and let you know what birdnest is good for. As many nations came together the local cuisine became a mix of Burmese, Thai, Malaysian and Indian. We can have a taste of it at the local snack market of the specialties. The pearl industry is another of Myeik’s local specialties. The intricate art of cultivating pearls will be explained at the Pearl Trading Shop, which is run by the same family for over a hundred years. After a long day and many impressions it is time to spend a quiet sunset with a 180 panoramic view over Myeik and the islands either from the Thein Daw Gyi Pagoda or a roof top bar. We leave this decision up to you. Enjoy your night at hotel in Myeik.
ADD ON: Myeik delicious seafood food tour (including English speaking guide, transfers to and from hotel, water, soft drinks or one large beer per person (20 USD per Person)
Day 11: Dome and Smart Island – Day Tour (joint)
After breakfast at hotel, your guide will meet you at the hotel lobby and transfer you to Seik Nge Jetty. On the one and a half hour cruise to Dome Island, feel the fresh sea breeze as we pass beautiful mangrove forests. Here and there tiny villages line the shore. The people who live here catch fish, crabs, mussels and oysters – the mainstay of their livelihood. Our first stop will be Dome Waterfall, which cascades down from high above – not into a lake or river – but right into the ocean. A climb up the fall will reward you with a refreshing bath. Mind your steps on the slippery rocks and be considerate to the fishing folks who refill their fresh water supplies at the fall. Later on we arrive in Dome Nyaung Mine Village where fishermen cohabit with sea gypsies, aka Moken in the local language. Their lifestyle reminds us of a simpler time before bank accounts and life insurance. Many spend their life permanently at sea during the dry season, only seeking shelter on land when the heavy rains set in. We will have seafood and vegetarian lunch in an authentic Moken village. After lunch we cruise on to Smart Island for swimming and snorkeling in pristine waters. The shapes of the island with one long beach and three smaller ones is one of its kind. The long and the small beaches are within 5-10 minutes walking distance. Enjoy your afternoon relaxing, swimming, playing, sunbathing and whatever else you would like to do. And then with the last rays of sunshine dancing on the sea we return to Myeik. This day tour is designed for people who would like to explore most of the Archipelago in one day and don’t mind spending a few hours on a speedboat. The rewards will one of the most beautiful beaches you have seen.
Please note: The Mergui Archipelago trip will be a joint tour with other customers. Program might change on tide and weather conditions. Participants need to submit their personal details. We do not recommend pregnant customers and customers with back ache to join the trip. The Alternative will be a slow boat trip without snorkeling.
Day 12: Myeik – Kawthaung (by flight) and Kawthaung city tour Sightseeing
Morning Flight from Myeik to Kawthaung only Wednesday – Friday –Sunday– (Myanmar National Airline - UB only) during winter season from October - March
After breakfast at hotel, our driver will meet you at the hotel lobby and transfer you to the airport for your flight to Kawthaung (approximately 1 hour) a southernmost Myanmar town perched on a cape. On arrival at the airport you will be welcomed by your guide and driver. A very little known fact about the city, formerly Victoria Point, is that before Kawthaung established itself, Maliwan (the former name) was the main port in the most southern part of Myanmar, but the shores were too shallow for the big ships. So Kawthaung was founded in the late 19th century about 25 Miles to the south. Our first stop is Mali Wan Waterfall. The all year waterfall and its park is a great place to have some snacks and take a swim in the refreshing waters. We will visit the famous King Bayinnaung statue, greeting visitors to the cape. Arguably a great king in Myanmar history, he is said to be revered in Thailand for his policy to leave the country ruled by its own sovereign King while Bayinnaung only demanded loyalty. Nearby Victoria Point is the most Southern Part of Myanmar and a great photo opportunity. Our last stop of the day is 5-5-5 Mountain as the locals call it. The hill offers a spectacular sunset view over the whole town and nearby islands of the Mergui Archipelago. Enjoy your night at hotel in Kawthaung.
Day 13: Cocks Comb and Horse Show Island (joint tour)
After breakfast at hotel, start off at 8:15-8:30 am in the morning and transfer you to Myo Ma Jetty. The Mergui Archipelago counts around 800 islands and 4000 islets. Our excursion of the day will bring us to four of them. Our first stop is Cocks Comb Island, which is a limestone atoll without a beach, but with a stunning lagoon, shape like a heart. The inlet changes the color of the ocean into bright green – exactly why it is also called Emerald Heart Island. (Please note: Sometimes weather and tide conditions can make entrance difficult and the tour guide will need to make a decision for all participants on the spot).We continue to Paradise Island for snorkeling where you can feast your watery eyes on amazing varieties of hard and soft coral. Up next is Horse Shoe Island where we enjoy buffet lunch on a paradise beach. While approaching the beach make sure you have your camera ready for the incredible cliff walls which gives this island a horse shoe contour. We continue towards St. Matthews Island better known under its Burmese name Zar Det Gyi Kyun. Here we find another great place for snorkeling. We might spot, lion fish, clown fish (nemo), sea anemones, giant clams and rock lobster (crayfish). We will trace our footsteps back to Grand Andaman Hotel for showers and buffet dinner. Afterwards you can use the free shuttle boat (every 30 min) to Kawthaung jetty after the tour. If you wish to skip the dinner at Grand Andaman Hotel and proceed straight back to Kawthaung, please let you tour guide know. Enjoy your night at hotel in Kawthaung.
Day 14: Kawthaung – Yangon (by flight)
After breakfast at hotel, your guide will meet you at the hotel lobby and if time permits we take you to the duty free market in the downtown area. The goods come straight from Thailand and can be paid in Thai Bhat. We visit the busy water front again to see the long tail boats plying between Kawthong and Thailand. Now it is time to say good bye to Kawthaung and prepare for the return flight to Yangon. On arrival, our awaiting vehicle will pick us up at domestic airport and transfer to hotel. Enjoy your night in Yangon.
Flights to Yangon daily – early afternoon (Myanmar National Airline - UB only) during winter season from October - March
Day 15: Yangon Departure
After breakfast, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby and transfer to Yangon international airport to take your departure flight.
What is included in the tour
- All sightseeing tour and transfer services with private air conditioned car as detailed in our itinerary
- Accommodation with breakfast at 3* hotels as specified
- Domestic flight tickets and airport taxes
- Transfers and tours with English-speaking locally stationed guides
- All entrance fees for the places as mentioned in the program
- Boat trip as specified
- Domestic airports taxes
- Service charges, room tax and baggage handling
- If there are 16 people and above we will grant 1 FOC for tour leader in single room.
What is NOT included in the tour
- Services not mentioned in our itinerary
- Lunch and dinners for the whole trip
- Myanmar Visa fees
- International flight tickets to and from Yangon
- Expenditure of a personal nature (Such as: uses of mini-bar and refrigerator, laundry service, telephone call and etc...)
- Travel insurance (cover against all cancellation costs, medical expenses, including repatriation, in the event of accident or illness)