Arrival at the Golden Rock
Leaving from Yangon this morning you’ll be picked up and transferred by private car with a guide. On the way to Kyaiktiyo you can visit the war cemetery in Taukkyan where thousands of prisoners of war, who worked on the death railway, are commemorated. On arrival at Kyaiktiyo base-camp you’ll leave your main luggage behind and take a small overnight bag to the top of the hill, travelling by truck used by pilgrims to reach the summit.
Next you’ll walk up a steep track for around an hour to marvel at one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Myanmar: the Golden Rock, perched high up on the mountain’s edge and, as legend has it, prevented from tumbling into the ravine below by a few strands of Buddha’s hair. Surrounding the Golden Rock are numerous tea shops and monasteries to soak up the spiritual atmosphere. Your accommodation here is a small hotel on top of the mountain with breathtaking views.
Kayaking & Kayin village walks
This morning you can get up early to watch the sun rise over the Golden Rock, as the sky turns from black to gold you can feel the spirit that draws so many pilgrims here. After breakfast it’s time to head back down the mountain. When you reach base camp, your driver will be waiting to transfer you to Hpa An for an action-packed day full of adventure. You’ll start by leisurely kayaking past paddy fields – although if you don’t feel like paddling yourself, we can arrange a local Kayin member to do so for you.
You’ll continue on foot through the forest and visit a number of remote villages, gaining a real feel for Kayin life in the jungle. You’ll be warmly welcomed by your local host for a home cooked meal served in a traditional house. After lunch, you’ll continue by kayak to the famous Saddar Caves – a spectacular scene of limestone karsts and cave temples. Finally, it’s time to head to your accommodation in Hpa An for a good night’s rest!
Cruise to Mawlamyine
After breakfast, you’ll board a private boat and cruise along the majestic Thanlwin River to Mawlamyine. En route, you’ll stop in Pa Lin village to mingle with the local Kayin, Shan, Mon, Bamar and PaO community. You’ll continue by boat to U Na Auk village – named after a famous local trader who resided here during the British rule – where you’ll see the amazing carvings on the temples and ordination hall that he donated to the village.
Next, you will arrive in the colonial city of Mawlamyine where your host family will be waiting to serve you a traditional home cooked lunch. After a hearty feast, it’s time to explore the Mon Museum and Seindon Mibaya Monastery and wander past impressive colonial architecture from the times of Orwell and Kipling’s residence. Finally, it’s time to return by road to your accommodation in Hpa An for another night’s sleep.
Today marks the final day in your adventure through the heart of the Mon & Kayin States. You’ll be collected from your hotel in Hpa An and start the journey back to Yangon – although the fun doesn’t stop here! As you pass through rural villages and towns, you have the freedom to stop at the Kawgun caves, which are full of artwork and Buddha statues dating back to the seventh century. After a couple of hours on the road, you’ll reach the ancient capital city of Bago and spend time exploring its former Royal Palace.
Finally, you’ll wave goodbye to your driver as he drops you and your guide off at the train station in Bago. The last leg of your epic journey will be by rail as you take a scenic journey on the famous Burmese railway back to Yangon. On board, you’ll be warmly welcomed with broad smiles and inquisitive looks by your fellow passengers. You’ll roll back into Yangon by late afternoon.
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