Yangon – Golden Rock – Hpa An – Mawlamyaing
This journey takes you to the homeland of of Kayin and Mon people. A scenic region adorned with natural caves, rocky mountain and spectacular scenery. This culture and nature extension can be combined with any classic Myanmar Tour.
In the morning, drive (-4 hr) to Kin Pun Base Camp where you take a typically crowded open-top truck (45 min) to the summit of the mountain. From there, short walk to Golden Rock about 10 minutes.
Golden Rock, one of the most important religious sites in Myanmar is a huge gold leaf-covered boulder perched on the edge of the 1,100 meter high mountain. The hair of the Buddha is enshrined inside the pagoda.
On the pagoda’s platform, discover the pilgrims, monks and nuns who come to pay homage and pray. The sound of the chanting of the devotees and the smell of incense sticks will make the incredible memories during your trip. Discover the devotees who apply the gold leaf to the rock. Only men can do it, women have no chance to touch the rock.
Enjoy the spectacular sunset and panoramic views that stretch out in all directions from the platform of the pagoda.
Overnight at hotel in Golden Rock (Kyaikhtiyo)
Breakfast at hotel, take the open truck till to the base camp. If you wish, it is possible to discover the beautiful sunrise at Golden Rock.
Then you will be proceed by land to Hpa-An (120 km, -3 hr), capital of Karen state. On the way, enjoy the scenic view of numerous small rocky karsts (limestone cliff and soaring peaks) among the rice-fields. Upon arrival, visit Saddan Cave, the longest cavern with 800 m in Kayin State is filled with many Buddha statues and carvings in an enormous open space. You can discover lots of crystals and huge massive stalactites. After passing through the tunnel with the row of lights about 20 min to the other side, you will get a chance to a splendid view of a hidden lake and verdant fields. Take a ferry wooden boat through the underwater cave to drop off point where you need to do scenic walk for 5-10 min to get to the cave entrance.
After that, continue to Kyaukkalat Pagoda, a natural limestone rock sculpture which stands right on the middle of manmade lake surrounded by paddy fields. The unbelievable 360 panoramic view from Kyaukkalat is breathtaking with dramatic backdrop of Mount Zwekabin. From there, visit Lumbini Garden which contains the 1020 Bouddha Status under Banyan and Sal trees at the base of the sacred mountain Zwekabin (-700m).
Then, continue to Kawgon Cave known as Limestone Cave of the Ten Thousand Buddhas engraved into different shapes, sizes and positions on the side wall. Discover the fine rare Buddha artwork dating back to 7th century and some images in brick inside.
After that, Proceed to Shweyinmyew Pagoda situated at the bank of Than Lwin River. It is a great chance to enjoy the sunset across the river.
Overnight at hotel in Hpa An.
After the breakfast, drive to Mawlamyine (-57 km/1hr) which is the capital and largest city of Mon State and the main trading center and seaport in South Eastern Myanmar. As it was once the administrative capital of British in Lower Burma, you can discover the colonial buildings and churches.
On the way, stop at Kado and Kawhnat Mon village to visit U Nar Auk monastery with the magnificent woodcarving built a century ago by a villager named U Nar Auk, the famous entrepreneur and humanitarian in 19th century. This monastery is known for its ornate blending of traditional Burmese and foreign architectural craftsmanship, contains an ordination hall as well as three shrines and two pagodas.
Proceed to Mawlamyine and check-in at hotel. Start the tour at Kyaikthanlan pagoda on the eastern ridge of town which is thought to be the setting where Rudyard Kipling wrote his famous poem, ‘The Road to Mandalay’. From up there, enjoy the tremendous view of landscapes of Mawlamyine.
Next, visit Queen Sein Don Monastery known as Yadanarpon Myint Monastery for its royal fine carvings and motifs. This monastery was constructed under the guidance of Queen Sein Done like her former palace, wife of venerated late kingdom ruler King Mindon who left Mandalay as King Thibaw took power.
The visit ends at View Point to admire the fantastic sunset.
Overnight at hotel in Mawlamyine.
After breakfast, cross the Thanlwin river by car (~ 1 hr) to visit Bilu Island (Ogre Island) which is roughly the size of Singapore with over 60 villages on the island and known for its traditional cottage industries.
Firstly, visit to the slate making home to observe the hand-made slate that used by school kinds as an exercised book in the olden days. Nowadays, old fashioned slate board are popular to use at some restaurants and hotels as a welcome board or menu card.
Then, continue to rubber band making home which used the leftover rubbers from industry to produce very thing rubber band. After that you will be driven to wooden pipes making home to observe the skill of craft man who producing the almost extinct products “Pipes”.
If you wish to help local benefit, it is possible to have a home cooked lunch at a village.
Return back to Mawlamyine. Visit Judson’s Church, the first Baptist Church in Mawlamyine was built in 1827 by Adoniram Judson, an American missionary who translated the Bible into Myanmar language and wrote the first Myanmar-English Dictionary and Holy Family Cathedral, an ancient cathedral with very fine architecture .
Overnight at hotel in Mawlamyine.
After breakfast, stroll around the down-town before leaving back to Yangon (330 km/-6hr) by private car.
Along the way, you will visit Bago, an ancient capital of the Mon Kingdom. Highlights includes: Shwe Thalyaung Pagoda, the 55 meter long reclining Budhha, the four seated Buddha Image “Kyaik Pun”. Then, continue visit to Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda, the Mon-styled religious monument is higher than Shwedagon Pagoda with 114 meters tall.
Arrive to Yangon in the late afternoon and transfer to hotel.
End of Tour!