Route: Mae Sot – Border Crossing – Myawaddy – Hpa An – Kyaikhtiyo - Yangon
Validity: Till 30 September 2018
The remoter parts of Mon State and Kayin State are undiscovered areas of Myanmar offering spectacular nature and intriguing tribal culture dating back for many, many centuries in Southeast Asian history. The Mon are believed to be one of the first civilizations in this part of the world. Although their kingdom was lost to the Bagan king in the 11th century, their rich culture can still be seen in daily life. Specific sarongs, traditional food, language and music instruments are still alive today. The Kayin (also known as Karen) are one of the indigenous tribes of the jungle known for their traditional boxing skills and their homeland that offers beautiful natural scenes with traditional villages and waterways surrounded by spectacular lime stone mountains. A tribe with its separate language and traditions, whose origins are still very much unknown to scientists until this day.
For the first time in centuries it is possible to cross the border between Myanmar and Thailand overland – something many people have dreamt of but wasn’t possible to do so far. Be one of the first to travel this unique route that connects to Yangon in Myanmar. From Yangon you can easily continue to Bagan or one of the other exotic destinations in the Golden land.
Day 1: Mae Sot – border crossing – Myawaddy – Hpa An (-)
On arrival at the border post your guide will assist with the customs and immigration formalities on the Thai side, from where you take a walk across the bridge to reach Myanmar Immigration.
Attention: before arriving in Mae Sot you need to have a valid visa (e-Visa is available to apply at www.evisa.moip.gov.mm) – there is no possibility to get a visa on arrival and travel all the way to Yangon.
Welcome to Myanmar!
Your guide is waiting for you on the Myanmar side of the border in Myawaddy to take you to Hpa An, the capital city of Kayin State.
Today‘s route is a special one as the road has just opened very recently for foreign tourist. It is a scenic road through the mountains often used by local traders. We arrive in Hpa An at the end of the afternoon.
Overnight at Hotel Gabbana, Deluxe room
Day 2: Hpa An – Mawlamyine (B,L,-)
Breakfast at the hotel.
Kayaking, Kayin village walk and a cave – Full day
Be prepared for a soft adventure day with a lot of activities and impression to experience real Kayin life style. We start the day by small kayaks to go for a leisurely trip by kayaks through the paddy fields for half an hour or so. If you don’t feel like paddling yourself, let us know and we arrange a local Kayin man to paddle for you.
We leave the kayaks behind and continue on foot through the forest visiting Kayin villages; Lakkana village & Knot Hair village for a leisurely walk of about an hour. A great trip to get a feel for the real Kayin life in the jungle. From here we continue on foot (about 1,5 hour) passing several other Kayin villages. A leisurely kayak trip of half an hour brings us to a beautiful traditional local house where a home cooked lunch is being served by the local host.
Tilagu village known as Knot Hair village is a miracle village in Kayin state; all the men with knot hair, the villagers are vegetarian, wearing the traditional dress are weaving by themselves, typical village lifestyle of Kayin race, the huge bamboo prayer hall is worth to visit.
After lunch you will transfer to Mawlamyine by car.
The last king of Myanmar, at the palace in Mandalay, came to power by killing many of the rival heirs to the throne at the end of the 19th century. Queen Seindon escaped and moved to what was called Moulmein in that period and became a Buddhist nun till her death (her tomb is in the compound in one of the nunneries).
She built the Seindon Mibaya Monastery in Mawlamyine which is very fine example of architecture in the original Mandalay palace and has magnificent woodcarvings and other decorations. It’s a monastery so beautiful that one could actually call it a museum.
We visit the Mon Museum which has some interesting displays to show the rich Mon culture.
Continue to the Ni Paya to have a view over the city and walk around the area with impressive buildings from the colonial times when writers like Orwell and Kipling where living in this city and visit the first Baptist church.
Overnight at Cinderella Hotel, Superior room
Day 3: Mawlamyine – Kyaiktiyo (B)
After breakfast at the hotel collect your tickets from the reception/guide who bought them in advance and transfer on your own (around 20 minutes duration) to Mawlamyine train station where you have to catch the train to Kyaikto at 08:00 (the train arrives 12:30 in Kyaikto).
Enjoy the beautiful countryside and rice paddies during the train ride. Upon arrival at Kyaikto train station, own transfer to the hotel where you will stay overnight is located at the basecamp.
One of the most important pilgrimage sites for Myanmar Buddhist and maybe one of the strangest (or unbelievable) sites for foreign tourists: the Golden Rock (Kyaiktiyo Pagoda). A big rock with a small pagoda built on top of it, is balancing on the edge of a mountain and looks as if it could tumble into the ravine below at any moment (luckily some hairs of Buddha precisely placed in the pagoda prevent the rock from falling). The site can be reached after a short walk (1.5 hours) or a long walk (about 7 hours) and rumor has it that taking the long route for 3 times in a lifetime will bring good luck. Surrounding the Golden Rock are numerous local teashops, resting places and monasteries as well as local souvenir shops (many of them offering traditional Myanmar medicine made off indigenous animals found by Kayin hunters living in the jungle in this region).
We suggest you to drop your luggage at the hotel and walk to the basecamp and you have to arrange a truck yourself that will bring you up to the Golden Rock. Spend the afternoon on the platform and then take a truck back to Kin Pun basecamp and walk about 10 minutes to your hotel.
Attention: If you want a free afternoon today, you can visit to Golden Rock at next day morning.
Overnight at Golden Sunrise Hotel, Deluxe
Day 4: Kyaiktiyo – Yangon (B))
Breakfast at the hotel.
Free at leisure in the morning.
Collect your bus tickets at the hotel reception. Make sure to be on your bus to Yangon that leaves at around 13:00 and will arrive in Yangon around 18:00.
Upon arrival in Yangon, own transfer to the hotel.
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