Drive from the former capital of Yangon to Golden Rock, stopping at Bago (option of taking train from central Yangon or for part of the journey). Visit the former ancient capital of Bago (Pegu), formerly known as Hanthawaddy, with its large collection of religious monuments and a palace, including the highest pagoda in Myanmar, and a snake temple to top it off. Options include visiting a large cemetery from the Second World War, and a monastery where young novices study to become monks. Continue south and take a cable car or truck to the top of the pilgrimage site of Kyaikhtiyo, Golden Rock, where a huge rock perched on a mountain top attracts Buddhists from around Myanmar as well from abroad. Stay overnight on the summit in a hotel while you enjoy the sacred and meditative atmosphere. The night you will spend at a hotel at the very top, which give you plenty of time to suck it all in.
Get up early to witness sunrise on Myanmar’s most sacred site, and after breakfast, go down the mountain, and drive to green and leafy Thaton for lunch at an outdoor restaurant. Continue on towards the sublime karst landscape around Hpa’an with its iconic Mount ZweKabin, stopping at Kawgun cave, where tablets set into the cavern wall date to the 7th century, Afterwards visit the dramatic large cave and tunnel of Saddan, followed by a small boat through a low cave, and then watch the sunset from a vantage point by the lakeside KyaukKaLatt – an unusual rock formation surrounded by water. Stay Hpa’an.
An early start is rewarded with views around Mount ZweKabin. A boat trip down river along the Salween River through the rural landscape arrives at an isolated village famed for its carved wood interior and for being the home of a national hero of pro-Burma a century ago. Drive towards Mawlamyine, taking a small boat out to the ‘hair-washing’ island of Gaung Se Kyun, a peaceful tropical garden island with a monastery, nunnery and dog sanctuary. Finally head to the ridge overlooking Mawlamyine for sunset from the ‘old Moulmein pagoda’ where poet Rudyard Kipling fell in love with a local woman at the steps of Kyaikthanlan pagoda. Stay Mawlamyine.
Head south first to visit a large 50m-high seated Buddha statue, and then the world’s largest reclining Buddha image, Win Sein Taw Ya, 180m long, before continuing onto to Thanbyuzayat, the western terminus of the infamous Death Railway linking Thailand and Burma during the Second World War. Its museum contains poignant stories of the suffering of Allied prisoners at the hands of the invading Japanese, while nearby the Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery commemorates those Commonwealth, Indian and Dutch soldiers who lost their lives. Return back to Mawlamyine, with its rich legacy from its past as a trading centre on the Salween River, including churches, mosques, and colonial buildings – writer George Orwell lived here almost a century ago. Then cross to the large Bilu (Ogre) island, known for its craftspeople making everything from tobacco pipes, chalk boards, rubber bands, ropes, walking sticks and hats with local wood, bamboo, rattan, slate, vines and rubber. Finish watching sunset by the river. Stay Mawlamyine.
A travelling day covering 300km (6 hours traveling time), from Mawlamyine to Yangon. Take the 8am train from Mawlamyine crossing the Salween River, then drive along the main road north, stopping at a waterfall (in season), fruit vendors and at a garden cafe in Thaton. After lunch, drive to Bago, with option of taking the train for the final leg into central Yangon. Tour finishes in Yangon.
On Day 2, as an optional extra, guests can go on a caving adventure to a secret cave system in the karst landscape. This involves a short boat trip, hiking across farmland, and then exploring a cave system in a seldom-visited area. A good level of fitness, agility and mobility is required, as well as sturdy shoes. Headlights will be provided, as well as protective gloves. The itinerary involves venturing into several cave systems, and climbing over rough terrain. Time for trip is around 4-5 hours. At the end of the adventure, guests go to Thaton, staying overnight in Thaton, before continuing the next day to Hpa’an.
Ans :The local currency used is called Kyat (pronounced “chat”, abbreviated as Ks). The currency exchange rate is around 1,500 Kyats against the US Dollar. This rate is of September 2019. You can see an updated rate at www.xe.com.
Ans :Currently, credit cards are generally accepted in Myanmar. We advise you to bring enough US Dollars for your travel, accommodation, shopping and dining expenses. Some travel agencies and hotels may accept but you have to check with them before you arrive.
With few exceptions, you should only rely on VISA and Master Card. Only up-market shops and hotels will accept these as way of payment. Most of the time, you will use your credit card to take out local cash currency.
It’s absolutely imperative that your US dollars appear BRAND NEW. Literally the slightest shadow of a crease, a mark from a pen or any kind of blemish will immediately render your money useless. Over the years, thousands of tourists have had to leave Myanmar earlier than planned as a consequence of not heeding this advice!
Please also note that US dollars will be accepted as payment at your hotel and for flight tickets, but whenever you go to a regular restaurant, shop or market, only local currency is accepted.
Ans :The amount of US Dollars you should bring will depend on your length of stay and which part of country you will be traveling. You are welcome to contact us at Myanmazing if you would like some help to calculate your specific need.