Myanmar Southern Circuit

Go beyond the normal tourist trail and experience Myanmar's spiritual and historic aspects. Travel first to Golden Rock and join the locals as they make a pilgrimage to this holy site. Continue to Hpa An and onwards to Mawlamyine, a town full of colonial architecture and an intriguing mix of mosques and ancient temples, rural towns and landscapes.

The best time to visit Myanmar/Burma is the dry winter season from November to February.

Touring style: Professional English speaking guide and driver, private basis.

Prices are seasonal, include hotels, breakfast, professional touring and transfers. Starts from:
GBP 412 per person sharing a twin room, Standard Class Hotels
GBP 530 per person sharing a twin room, Superior Class Hotels
GBP 700 per person sharing a twin room, Deluxe Class Hotels.
International and domestic airfares are extra.

Myanmar Southern Circuit at a glance
  • Day 1: Yangon - Kyaikhtiyo
  • Day 2: Kyaikhtiyo to Mawlamyine
  • Day 3-5: Mawlamyine
Myanmar Southern Circuit Image 1

Day 1: Yangon - Kyaikhtiyo

Take a journey from Yangon westwards to Bago. The city is a historic city originally founded in 573 AD by Thamala and Wimala, two Mon brothers of noble birth. Visit a typical local monastery to observe the daily lives of the monks, and then continue to the lifelike Shwethalyaung reclining Buddha, the highly venerated Shwemawdaw Paya housing hair relics of the Buddha for over 1000 years. Highlights also include the Kyaik Pun Paya with four giant Buddhas leaning back against a square pillar and the Maha Kalyani Sima, also called ‘Sacred Hall or Ordination’. Afterwards, continue the journey to Kyaikhtiyo.

Overnight in Kyaikhtiyo.

Distance and journey time: 175 km, 4 hrs

Myanmar Southern Circuit Image 2

Day 2: Kyaikhtiyo to Mawlamyine

Kyaikhtiyo is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites in Myanmar, also known as the Golden Rock. The shrine at the top of Mount Kyaikto seems to defy gravity and local people believe the power of a Buddhist relic is what keeps the boulder in place. Proceed southwards by vehicle from Kyaikhtiyo to Mawlamyine and on the way make a stop to visit a natural limestone cave with hot springs reputed to have healing powers. Continue to Hpa An, the capital of Kayin State and a busy commerce centre, inhabited mainly by Kayin people. Farmers from all around the region come to town in horse carts or trishaws with baskets of products to sell in the market. Stroll through the market and along the riverfront, visit Shwe Yin Myaw Paya and finish at the town hall for the best view over the distinctively shaped Mount Zwekabin in the background.

Overnight in Mawlamyine.

Distance and journey time:

Kyaikhtiyo to Hpa An: 147 km, 2 hrs

Hpa An to Mawlamyine: 61 km, 1 hr

Myanmar Southern Circuit Image 3

Day 3: Mawlamyine

Mawlamyine is an attractive, leafy, tropical town with a ridge of stupa-capped hills on one side and the sea on the other. The town served as the capital of British Burma from 1827 to 1852. Visit some of the major pagodas. Travel by local ferry to Bilu Kyun also called Ogre Island. Continue to the local villages and visit home industries making pipes, ballpoint pens, rubber bands, coconut fibre ropes and other items for everyday life. Overnight in Mawlamyine.

Overnight in Mawlamyine.

Myanmar Southern Circuit Image 4

Day 4: Mawlamyine

Today’s excursion by boat leads to Gaungse Kyun better known as the Shampoo Island. This picturesque island off Mawlamyine’s north-western end earned its name because during the Ava period the annual royal hair washing ceremony customarily used water taken from a spring on the island. From Mawlamyine, head southwards towards Thanbyuzat, stopping en route at the peaceful village KYAIKMAYAW, home to the largest reclining Buddha in the world and Mudon, an area famous for its weaving villages.

After arriving in Thanbyuzat, immerse in World War II history. This was formerly the endpoint of the infamous “Death Railway” that crossed the River Kwai into Thailand. Today all that remains is one old locomotive and a memorial plaque. Afterwards, continue to the Japanese and Allied war cemeteries. Return to Mawlamyine, stopping on the way to visit the beaches at Setse and at Kyaikami to visit Ye Le Pagoda, a simple pagoda built out into the ocean, with a beautiful view over the water. Overnight in Mawlamyine.

Overnight in Mawlamyine.

Day 5: Mawlamyine

Continue by vehicle from Mawlamyine to Yangon en route visiting Thaton. Long before the rise of Bagan, Thaton was an important centre for the Mon kingdom that stretched from the Irrawaddy River delta to similar deltas in Thailand.

Distance and journey times:

Mawlamyine to Thaton: 74 km, 1.30 hrs / Thaton to Yangon: 239 km, 5 hrs 


Not quite right? This itinerary is just to give you an idea of what is possible. Need some more inspiration? Please get in touch at 01473 214305 or email We welcome your questions. We're here to help!


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Kyaikhtiyo (Golden Rock), Standard Class
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Mawlamyine, Standard Class
The Mawlamyaing Strand Hotel

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Yangon, Superior Class

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