Just across the river, and you're in another world. Traffic now flows in the opposite roadside. Deep untouched forest, swiping light green rice paddies and villages with a touch of History, where hundreds of curious eyes welcome you. From Myawaddy you head towards Hpa An, kayaking the rice fields, passing immense limestone cliffs. Then you flow downriver on the mighty Thanlwin river to Mawlamyine. Be a voyager on the train ride to the golden Rock wildly hanging on its tip above the plains. Then head for Yangon's urban beat, a bit noisier than the back-lands, yet somehow still slow with hidden backstreets for cuisine and stories to be told. If you like to approaching Burma (Myanmar) through the backdoor and is ok with the fact that you will most likely meet nobody else in Burma who have done this trip – then Go Beyond the ordinary.
Included: Meals: 7 x breakfast.
Accommodation: 1 night in overnight bus and 6 nights at various hotels.
Transportation: Bangkok – Mae Sot – Hpa An – Mawlamyine – Kyaiktiyo // Kinpun – Yangon. Various tours and transfers according to itinerary.
English speaking tour guide: Guides on tours and drivers who speak limited English according to itinerary.
Tours & Explorations: According to itinerary. Not included: · Drinks
· Tips for your guides
· Tours and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
· Entrance fees where applicable
· Visa to Myanmar
· Onwards journey from Yangon
· Self-transfers and free day transportation highlighted in the itinerary
All other expenses not stated as included in the above
· Cross the Thai-Burmese border and enter Burma through the backdoor; a trail only few will have done before you.
· Discover the unexplored; the countryside, the slowness and the curious local smiles and open hearts.
· Kayak rice fields, river cruise the back lands and explore by local transport.
· Hike your way to the Golden Rock and wander the colonial downtown of Yangon.
Day 1: Bangkok – Mae Sot
A late evening departure from Bangkok. Leave the lights of the city behind and flow into the darkness, towards a fine string of explorations, accessed through Burma's backdoor. Lean back and relax. Before you know it you will be in Mae Sot, the border town to Burma's unexplored countryside.
Transport and Guide: You will meet your guide at New Road Guesthouse around 20.00 (please ask the Service Guide one day in advance about the exact time). Together you will go by car to Bangkok's Northern bus terminal and you guide will make sure you get on the right bus. Onwards travel is on your own by overnight aircon bus to Mae Sot and expected arrival in Mae Sot the following morning around 05:00.
Please note that this tour combines nicely with Go Beyond's Umphang Trek (end Mae Sot). In due case, please choose the Burma Backdoor Explorer with start in Mae Sot and contact us for arrangements of guesthouse/accommodation in Mae Sot.
Day 2: Mae Sot, Thailand – Border Crossing – Hpa An
In the early morning as the city slowly comes alive you will arrive in Mae Sot border town. Your guide will be waiting for you and take you to Go Beyond's Mae Sot rest house. Sleep for an extra hour, enjoy a quick shower and grab a bite to eat before your adventure truly begins (expect basic accommodation and facilities).
Cross the border from Thailand into Myanmar, and the first thing you will notice is how the traffic changes from left-side driving to right-side. Meet your car and driver at the Myanmar side of the border-bridge at 10.00 Burma local time and travel by road all the way to Hpa An.
As you flow through the landscape give in to the dense forest, the small villages, the farmers working with their buffaloes in the fields, the slowness and the friendliness. Most parts of the road are one way on alternating days. Today traffic moves from the Thai-Burmese border to Hpa An. Tomorrow, it will move in the opposite direction only.
You will arrive in Hpa An in the afternoon and check in to your hotel. The rest of the afternoon and evening is free for you to explore Hpa An, the capital city of the Kayin State. Located at the bank of the Thanlwin River it is surrounded by strange, almost mythical mountains including Zwe Kabin. Take your time to wander Hpa An's small streets, try the local curries and the colourful fruit in stock.
Meals: Breakfast is included.
Accommodation: Overnight at hotel in Hpa An.
Transport and Guide: Your guide will pick you up upon arrival in Mae Sot around 05:00 and transfer you to Visit Beyond's Mae Sot rest house (expect basic facilities). Around 09:30 Thai local time you will be taken to the border crossing to cross into Burma. Your guide will stay in Mae Sot. On the opposite side a private car with driver (English may be limited) will pick you up at 10:00 Burma local time and take you to your hotel in Hpa An. Expected arrival time around 17:00 (expect 7 hours driving time).
Please note there is a 30 minutes time difference between Thailand and Burma.
Day 3: Hpa An, Kayaking and Cave
After a slow breakfast in the early morning, your hours ahead will be spent in a kayak. Paddling through the lush rice fields; with limestone mountains as a constant backdrop, carving their way through the horizon. Accompanying you to show the way is a local tribes man from the Kayin tribe. And though he may not speak any English you certainly can expect a big smile and a very friendly person to take care of you. On the way, you will pass tranquil traditional Kayin villages and stop for fresh fruit served in one of the wooden Kayin houses.
The kayak tour will ignite and spoil all of your senses, but the Saddar Cave may take your breath away. As you step into the huge football-stadium sized cave hundreds of Buddha figures, pagodas and clay wall carvings welcome you with open arms. And if you are here during dry season (roughly November – April) a true adventure lies before your feet. Leap into a scramble through dimly lit chambers, stalactites above you, bats around you and crystal walls before you. And then at the far side a burst of sun light. Hiding a secret lake, so idyllic with ducks and flowering lilies hidden in a bowl of rough peaks.
Slowly you prepare to leave your fairytale world and go back to your hotel in Hpa An. To spend a quiet afternoon and night rewinding and grasping the day that was so beyond the ordinary.
Meals: Breakfast is included.
Accommodation: Overnight at hotel in Hpa An.
Transport and Guide: Your English-speaking guide will pick you up at your hotel around 08:00 for a short transfer by motorbike or Tuk Tuk to the starting point of your kayak adventure. You will return the same way in the early afternoon around 13:00.
Please note: The water level in the lake is dependent on seasons and weather. In case the water level is low, it may be necessary to make the kayaking shorter and replace it with a hike and a visit to a local traditional Kayin Village.
Day 4: Hpa An – Mawlamyine (Moulmeine)
Wake up in the early morning for a bit of breakfast before your day truly begins. Before you, a cruise down the Thanlwin river awaits – the river that flows all the way from the barren Tibetan plateau to the warm waters of the Andaman Sea. Take in the mighty limestone mountains that rise around you and stop in U Na Auk village where your guide will show you around. A truly local experience in a village that barely receives any visitors. A village, where you will find yourself surrounded by dozens of laughing children, curious to find out what purpose a foreign guest have in their village.
Upon arrival at Mawlamyine (Moulmeine) in the afternoon you will disembark and have the rest of the day at your convenience. To capture the streets and explore the urban life after days in the undiscovered countryside.
Meals: Breakfast is included. No lunch is included, and we suggest to bring a lunch box from Hpa An on your river cruise.
Accommodation: Overnight at hotel in Mawlamyine.
Transport and Guide: Around 08:00 you will transfer by local motorbike or Tuk Tuk to the jetty in Hpa An. Transfer by private boat to Mawlamyine (Moulmeine) with stops along the way.
Transport not included: Upon arrival at the jetty in Mawlamyine you will transfer to your hotel in Mawlamyine on your own. We recommend going by Tuk Tuk, which normally takes 10-15 minutes and costs around 3000 kyat.
Day 5: Mawlamyine, Free day
Make the most of your free day in Mawlamyine, formerly Moulmein, located right at the Andaman coast at the delta of the mighty Salween (Thanlwin) River. It is the capital city of Mon State and the third biggest town in Myanmar. That said, it is well away from the ordinary tourist trail. If you love decaying old colonial buildings, a town with a multitude of ethnicities, slowness and fine small monasteries, you will like to stroll around here on your own exploring the small side streets. Lay eyes on the largest reclining Buddha in Burma and promenade the Mawlamyine Strand Road located at the banks of the mighty Thanlwin River. Go to the harbor to see the busy harbor life from early morning to evening.
If you prefer to be on wheels, consider renting a motorbike taxi to drive you around.
Meals: Breakfast is included.
Accommodation: Overnight at hotel in Mawlamyine
Transport not included: Any transportation used on your free day explorations in Mawlamyine is at your own expense. If you want to rent a motorbike or Tuk Tuk expect to pay around 10-15.000 Kyat for a day, from sunrise to sunset.
Child age: 2-11 years.
Child price: Refer to rates.
Please be aware of: Kayaking only with an adult in the kayak and life vest will be provided. Access to Golden Rock only together with an adult.
1 Night in Overnight Bus From Bangkok to Mae Sot.
Hotels in standard rooms with aircon and private bathroom and toilet. Breakfast is included.
Private Car, Local Motorbike or Tuk Tuk, Private Boat, Train, Truck, Kayak, A/C Bus and Public Taxi.
The best time to visit is from November to February when it is dry and temperatures are at their lowest. Day temperatures are around 20-25 degrees, while night temperatures in December – January can drop to below 10 degrees. The rainy season runs from the end of May until the end of September and can bring heavy and regular rainfall. From Mar to May the temperature can rise to above 40 degrees.
Bangkok, Mae Sot, Myawaddy, Mawlamyine/Moulmeine, Kyaiktiyo, Golden Rock, Yangon