This Myanmar vacation takes you on the road less traveled to lands where hidden jewels and secret treasures await. In the south, a bustling cultural center, beautiful land and seascapes, and colonial heritage await. From incredible limestone formations to caves brimming with statues of the Buddha, leisurely treks, bustling towns, and a golden rock balanced by a hair – there is much to discover. Soothe your soul on this private tour of Myanmar with visits to impressive temple complexes and idyllic landscapes.
Yangon is the erstwhile capital of Myanmar that still proudly lives on as the country’s commercial hub.
Half Day Visit to Shwedagon Pagoda Discover the crown of Myanmar! After a leisurely afternoon, head to the stunning Shwedagon Zedi Daw, a sacred Buddhist pagoda that is considered Myanmar’s greatest treasure and most important landmark. It is thought to be over 2,600 years old and there are relics of the past four Buddhas enshrined within it. Standing 99 meters (325 ft) tall on Singuttara Hill, west of Kandawgyi Lake, it dominates the city skyline. With its golden gilded pagoda and stupa and topped off with sparkling sapphires, diamonds, rubies and topaz, Shwedagon is best enjoyed at sunset.
Mawlamyine (formerly Moulmein), is the fourth largest city in the heart of Lower Myanmar, 3kms southeast of Yangon and 7kms south of Thaton, at the Thanlwin river mouth.
Highlights of Mawlamyine Visit the local market in the morning and glimpse slivers of vibrant local life in this harbor township; drive past beautiful colonial buildings, ancient mosques, Indian temples and churches; visit U Zina Pagoda, U Kanni Pagoda, Kyaut Ma Yaol (Marble Buddha Image), and Mahamuni Paya located atop a mountain with panoramic views of Mawlamyine. Visit the Sein Done Monastery, originally the residence of the Queen, where the corridors are lined with carved figures and interiors are decorated with floral designs. Visit the landmark Kyaikthanlan Pagoda.
Hpa-An, also known as Pa An, is a charming town and capital of the Kayin state, located north of Mawlamyine and near to the Thai border.
Highlights of Hpa An Hpa-An is famous for caves, hillside Pagodas and colorful markets. Noteworthy places to explore are the Kyauktan Ye Le Pagoda with its impressive collection of artwork; the historic natural limestone Kaw Goon Cave; and the Lumbini Garden that boast 1,000 Buddha images. See also the Kyauk Kalap Monastery; the Bayin Nyi Cave, perched atop a hill having a large entrance chamber filled with many statues; and the Shwe-yin Myaw World Peace Pagoda at the bank of Thanlwin River.
The sacred rock of Kyaiktiyo is situated in the midst of densely wooded mountains.
Highlights of Kyaiktiyo Trek uphill to admire the amazing and almost gravity-defying Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, or Golden Rock of Kyaiktiyo. A renowned Buddhist pilgrimage site, this temple was built on top of a massive granite boulder that has been painted in gold leaf and shimmers beautifully throughout the day. There are many legends to the pagoda and some believers say it is precariously perched on a strand of Buddha’s hair, which was given to a traveling hermit who passed it to a king who constructed the pagoda with his supernatural powers. En route to Yangon, you can also visit the ancient Royal City of Bago (Pegu), which boasts the old palace, a giant Buddha statue and one of Myanmar’s highest pagodas.
Day Excursion to Bago (from Kyaiktiyo) Burmese Bago, formerly Pegu, is a port city in southern Myanmar situated on the Pegu River. It is located 80kms/50miles NE of Yangon, and was the 13th century Mon kingdom capital. Bago is famous for its religious atmosphere, surrounded by the ruins of its old wall and moat, once forming a square on all sides. A significant rice and timber collecting center and also having several mills and sawmills, there are many sights within and around Bago. Choose from the Shwethalyaung Reclining Buddha Image, Shwemawdaw Pagoda/’Great Golden God Pagoda’, Kanbawzathadi Palace, Kyaikpun Pagoda with four gigantic Buddha images seated back-to-back against a brick pillar, Kalyarni Sima/Ordination Halls for the Buddhist Order, Myatharlyaung Buddha Image, Hinthargone Pagoda on a hillock with magnificent views of Bago, Moeyungyi Wetland Wildlife Sanctuary (near Bago).
Highlights of Sittwe Begin your day tour of Sittwe from the heart of the city – the bustling Central and Rice Markets offer fascinating glimpses into Burmese daily life. Visit the old clock tower and the Rakhine State Cultural Museum to see an interesting array of coins, figurines, musical instruments and other exhibits, before you visit the Shwe Zedi Kyaung monastery which was founded in 1903. At the Fruit Bat Trees, you’ll see hundreds of large Flying foxes hanging upside down and battling stray crows occasionally. Round off your day with a visit to the Viewpoint, to see the sun set over the Bay of Bengal, before returning to your hotel.
Full Day Cultural Drive from Sittwe to Mrauk U (en route) Enjoy a lively drive from Sittwe to Mrauk U. With several interesting sights on the way, the improved conditions of the road makes this a pleasant four and a half hour journey. On the way, stop at Ponnagyun town to witness the local lifestyle and see U Reik Taw, an ancient pagoda that enshrines the Buddha’s skull relic. Continue northwards through the Arakan mountains and past picturesque ethnic villages until you cross the Gissapanadi Bridge and reach Kyauk Taw – an ancient seat of Rakhine culture and Buddhism. Continue onwards to the historic Mahamuni and Vesali Temples, before you reach Mrauk U.
Mrauk U, once the capital of the old and powerful Rakhine dynasty, boasts of a glorious history of over 3 years.
Highlights of Mrauk U Mrauk U was of the most prosperous cities in Asia once upon a time and, until the Burmese occupation in 1784, the kingdom maintained trade relations with several nations. Start your tour of Mrauk U at the Sittaung Paya (shrine of 80,000 images), which was built almost 500 years ago. Travel onwards to the Andaw Paya (Tooth Shrine), which reportedly contains a tooth relic of the Buddha, and the impressive Rattanapon Paya. End your day with a visit to Haridaung, which is located on a hilltop and offers a panoramic view of the town at dusk.
Special Treasures of Mrauk U Start your day early by climbing the Shwe Mya Hill to see a stunning sunrise over the valley before continuing onward to the impressive Htukkanthein Temple. The Lemyethna Paya is the oldest temple from Mrauk U’s golden age and was built to bring prosperity to the nation. Next on your list is a visit to the L’amitié Art Gallery, followed by lunch. Resume your private tour at the arresting Mahabodhi Shwegu and, if you have time, visit the Archeological Museum as well. Soak in some rural charm on your way to Koe-thaung Paya – the largest in Mrauk U. Conclude your sightseeing at the beautiful Laksaykan Lake.