You cross a small river that forms part of the border between Thailand and Myanmar – Burma and which until recently was closed to ordinary visitors – and the fact that few others have made the same journey is something that appeals to your inner adventurer!
The journey begins with a few days in the Thai capital Bangkok, but it is only when you cross the river Moei into the neighboring country that your adventure really takes off. A whole new world opens up in Myanmar! Here the traffic flows in the opposite lane. Deep untouched forests and rolling light green rice fields create a beautiful landscape with small villages that lead the mind to a bygone era. And you are welcomed by hundreds of curious eyes, smiling faces and happy cries of the greeting phrase Mingalabao!
The adventure continues and on an exciting kayak trip with a local guide from the Kayin tribe, you can enjoy Myanmar’s beautiful nature with rice fields and huge limestone cliffs and also visit the huge Saddar cave. On board a riverboat, you cross the Thanlwin River, with mighty limestone mountains rising around you. In small villages, whose inhabitants are not used to visitors, you get to experience the feeling of being surrounded by dozens of laughing and curious children.
The journey by local train from Mawlamyine and north to Kyaiktiyo gives you another unique chance to meet the locals who live at a leisurely pace and show great hospitality. Hike to Golden Rock which is the nickname of the pagoda that balances almost magically out on the tip of a giant granite plateau. Also experience the lively city of Yangon which is louder than the countryside but still relatively quiet for being an Asian metropolis. Learn more about Myanmar on itypeusa.
If you like the idea of crossing a border that until recently was closed to ordinary travelers – so you become one of the few who have entered the country right here – and you want to experience Myanmar’s genuine countryside, then this trip is for you !
Day 1: Departure from Scandinavia
Departure by flight from Scandinavia to Bangkok, Thailand.
Day 2: Arrival in Bangkok
Arrival in Bangkok. Take yourself to your hotel for a two night stay. The rest of the day is at your disposal and you can start exploring Bangkok on your own.
Day 3: On your own in Bangkok
Today you have plenty of time to discover Bangkok. Experience life on the river, see the impressive Grand Palace, beautiful temples, gilded Buddhas and explore the city’s exotic China Town. Bangkok also offers good shopping and nightlife – if you need inspiration, we have lots of great suggestions for experiences in Bangkok.
Day 4: Bangkok – Mae Sot
One last day in Bangkok with a little more time for some last experiences, before you travel north late at night by night bus. Leave Bangkok’s light and hectic streets behind you and let yourself be led through the night towards the border with Myanmar. Relax and try to get some sleep – before you know it, you’re coming to Mae Sot, which borders Myanmar’s unexplored countryside!
Day 5: Across the border from Mae Sot to Myawaddy and Hpa An in Myanmar
Early in the morning, when the city is still waking up and the first rays of the sun are finding their way, the bus arrives at the border town of Mae Sot. Here it is possible to sleep for a few hours in a small guest house. After breakfast and a refreshing bath, your adventure begins in earnest. You cross the border from Thailand to Myanmar by crossing the border bridge that crosses the river Moei. On the other side of the bridge in Myanmar, your driver is ready to take you along the small country roads all the way from Myanmar’s border town Myawaddy to Hpa An. Enjoy the mountainous countryside with dense forests, small villages and farmers working in the fields with their buffaloes. Large parts of the road are driven in one direction and today the traffic moves from the border to Hpa An. Tomorrow it goes in the opposite direction. In the afternoon you arrive at Hpa An and have the rest of the day available to explore the city. Hpa An is the capital of the Kayin region and is located on the River Thanlwin surrounded by sharp, almost mythical, mountains such as Zwe Kabin. Explore the small streets and sample the local curries and colorful, exotic fruits. (F )
Day 6: Hpa An – Kayaking and Saddar Cave
Today you have an exciting excursion – a unique kayak trip in the area around Hpa An. With one of the local men from the Kayin tribe leading the way, you paddle through the lush rice fields with limestone mountains that clearly cut through the horizon in the background. Although the guide may not speak much English, you can expect the smiles, helpfulness and sensitivity that the people of Myanmar are known for. Visit one of the traditional Kayin villages where fresh fruit is served in one of the traditional tree houses. While the kayak pampers all your senses, Saddar Cave will take your breath away. As you enter the huge cave, you are greeted by hundreds of Buddha statues, pagodas and wall carvings. If you are lucky enough to visit Saddar Cave during the dry season (approx. Nov-Apr), a real adventure lies at your feet – with stalactites above you, bats around you and crystal walls in front of you, you move through the dimly lit chambers to an idyllic and hidden little lake! Prepare slowly to leave your world of adventure and return to the hotel in Hpa An where you can look back in peace in the afternoon and evening on a rather unusual day! (F )
Day 7: Hpa An to Mawlamyine (Moulmeine)
You start the day early with a boat trip down the Thanlwin River that goes all the way from the barren Tibetan plateau to the warm waters of the Andaman Sea. Along the river, the mighty limestone mountains rise majestically around you, and you will have some great experiences. Among other things, you make a stop in U Na Auk village where your guide will show you around. A truly local experience in a village that hardly receives any visitors, where you are surrounded by dozens of laughing children, and all curious about what a foreign visitor does here! After arriving at your hotel in Mawlamyine, you have the rest of the day at your disposal for relaxation. ( F )
Day 8: Mawlamyine (Moulmein) on your own
Enjoy a quiet morning and decide for yourself how you want to spend the day. Mawlamyine, formerly known as Moulmein, is located on the shores of the Andaman Sea on the mighty river Salween (Thanlwin). This is the third largest city in Myanmar and also the capital of the state of Mon – but this is still far away from the usual tourist route. If you like old colonial buildings, a city with a lot of ethnic groups, a slow pace and nice little monasteries; then you will love strolling around on your own and exploring the small side streets. Experience the atmosphere along the river promenade where you will find Myanmar’s largest sloping Buddha. In the city harbor you can observe the lively activity that takes place there from morning to evening. ( F )
Day 9: Mawlamyine – Kyaiktiyo – Kinpun (Golden Rock)
Travel by local train – along the uneven rails – from Mawlamyine to Kyaiktiyo. You get good opportunities to get to know the locals who meet you with shy but curious smiles. Outside the windows, the sun rises slowly and illuminates the rice fields, the ever-changing landscape and the working peasants. Rent a Tuk Tuk from the station and take you to Kinpun, where the night is spent. Kinpun is a small dusty town with a few shops selling colorful fruits, local dishes and dried beans. It is the city’s status as a “base camp” for – or the gateway to – Golden Rock that makes it attractive. But this also means that hundreds of pilgrims pass through Kinpun. Take a walk through the small dusty streets to get behind Kinpun’s facade where you can wave to the locals who work in their gardens even after dark, until the generators are switched off. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep to prepare for tomorrow’s hike to Golden Rock. (F )
Day 10: Kinpun – Golden Rock – Yangon
Kinpun’s golden stone – The Golden Rock – balances fascinatingly on the tip of a granite cliff, high above the plains. It can almost look like it is floating among the clouds. Golden Rock is surrounded by both myths and fascination. For the Buddhist pilgrims, the place is magical, and the country’s Buddhists dream of one day being able to visit this shrine. For the same reason, the stone has also become popular with travelers. The road to Golden Rock is strenuous, but well worth the reward! From Kinpun you are first transported by a truck that slowly drives up the mountain, and which stops halfway to allow trucks from the opposite direction to pass. In Yatetaung, in a small square surrounded by a handful of local shops, you get off the truck and continue on foot along an uphill slope that takes about 45-60 minutes, but you do not have to look for an excuse to stop and rest along the way as the surroundings and plains below are touchingly beautiful! Golden Rock itself is the icing on the cake after the great views and the excursion as a whole is a fantastic experience. When you return on your own to Kinpun, you are ready for your next destination, the slightly livelier Yangon. (F )
Day 11: Yangon
Yangon is a city that offers an exciting contrast of past and present – buildings from the colonial era and stories from past times are mixed with today’s modern technology and global culture. Do not be surprised if you see a Buddhist monk with a smartphone! Spend some time in the city to discover the contrasts and experience Yangon. You have the opportunity to travel further around Myanmar on your own, or we will of course be happy to help you tailor and book further events with several exciting experiences based on your wishes. ( F )
Time to return home: Yangon – Scandinavia
Your flight ticket is valid for 30 days, so no later than day 29 you must fly home from Yangon, Myanmar. There are plenty of opportunities to travel on your own in both Thailand and Myanmar – before and after the trip across the border. We have many good suggestions on how you can best put together your unique journey. For example, you can combine the above program with a hiking trip in Umphang.
Two nights at budget hotel in Bangkok
One night at the night bus to Mae Sot
Two nights at budget hotel in Hpa An
Two nights at budget hotel in Mawlamyine (Moulmein)
One night at budget hotel Kinpun
One night at budget hotel in Yangon