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Overview

From Thailand’s capital Bangkok to Myanmar’s Yangon city, travel overland and explore the undiscovered northwest provinces of Thailand before crossing the land border to Myanmar’s remote southeast provinces. Along the way, discover the region’s unknown history, meet and interact with locals and be amazed by the nature of untouched national parks.

Trip Highlights

Thailand-Myanmar Overland

Travel overland from Thailand to Myanmar

From capital to capital, travel overland from Bangkok to Yangon and pass through undiscovered places of Thailand’s northwest and Myanmar’s southeast.

Explore undiscovered history

From World War II museums, ruins of Kamphangphet Historical Park, 100 year-old pagodas Mawlamyine and more, learn all about the history of these untouched places.

Bangkok and Yangon with a twist

Explore the iconic sites of Bangkok’s Chinatown and Royal Palace before hopping on a unique circle train ride of Yangon.

Itinerary

1

Bangkok Arrival

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport – Bangkok Hotel (25.6 km): 40 mins

Upon arrival at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, be met and greeted by the EXO Travel guide for a  transfer to the hotel.

In the late afternoon as the evening sets, Bangkok comes alive, and just about every street is filled with great smells of delicious food that really delights the taste buds. One of Bangkok’s best kept secrets is Chinatown, the neighbourhood internationally renowned for the city’s longest street food. Get on this tour and explore the backstreets as well as discover the bright lights and energy of Chinatown’s electric Yaowarat Street. Be introduced to the history of the area and some of the area’s favourite street food artisans. Here, bite into various kinds of food, from famous Chinese dumplings, peppered pork noodles, Chinese donuts, and so on. Also, enjoy sweet Chinese desserts and visit a tea shophouse.

Overnight in Bangkok.

2

Bangkok

Breakfast at the hotel.

Today’s tour will begin at either 08:00 or 13:00. The seat of Thailand's revered Royal family for more than 200 years, the Grand Palace is one of Bangkok's most spectacular and popular attractions. A must-see attraction is the enchanting Emerald Buddha, which, according to legend, is almost 2000 years old.

After the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha, the tour continues to nearby Wat Pho - Bangkok’s oldest temple and arguably it’s most impressive. Home to the magnificent 45-meter-long reclining Buddha, Wat Pho is also a place of learning, having served as Thailand's first school of traditional medicine and Thai massage. The morning trip ends with a trip to Wat Trimitr, which houses the world’s largest solid gold Buddha.

Lunch at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon, take a longtail boat through Bangkok’s canals to discover the true heart of the city. Start with a ride along the Chao Phraya River, also known as the ‘River of Kings’. Admire the passing skyline where glittering pagodas stand in the shadows of towering skyscrapers. The boat then turns off the main waterway and onto the canals, or ‘klongs’. See why Bangkok is often called the ‘Venice of the East’, while cruising along the intricate network of canals. Capture glimpses of small villages on the water’s edge and enjoy the slower pace of life away from the city centre.

Make a stop at the Royal Barge Museum. See the eight spectacular boats used by Thailand’s Royal Family to mark special occasions. Carved from teak and intricately decorated with gold leaf and mosaics, the barges are a truly impressive site.

Then return to the boat and cruise back onto the Chao Phraya for one final stop. Go ashore to see Wat Arun, a 79-metre-high pagoda built in a style similar to Angkor Wat. Meaning ‘Temple of Dawn’, Wat Arun is one Thailand’s most beautiful temples and the perfect last stop on the day’s tour.

Overnight in Bangkok.

3

Bangkok - Kanchanaburi

Bangkok – Kanchanaburi (125 km): 2.08 hr

Breakfast at the hotel. Check-out and depart for Kanchanaburi. Upon arrival in Kanchanaburi, visit the famous Bridge on the River Kwai, which was built by allied prisoners of war during WWII, followed by a visit to Burma Railway Center Museum and the war cemetery.

In the afternoon, go on a train ride for about an hour passing a panoramic view of Kwai gorge.

Check-in at the hotel in the late afternoon.

Overnight in Kanchanaburi.

4

Kanchanaburi

After breakfast at the hotel, drive about 30 min to Elephant World. Far from the buzz of the city, Elephant World is located in a peaceful natural jungle landscape on the outskirts of Kanchanaburi.

Be greeted by the volunteers at Elephant World. Learn about the lives of elephants, the plight of many Thai elephants and the sanctuary’s efforts to save these miraculous creatures. They will also provide a useful overview of the relationship between the elephants and their mahouts, or caretakers.

Then the adventure truly begins. Meet the elephants and join the mahouts as they go about the daily routine: foraging for food in the jungle, cutting sugar cane or gathering bananas. Then feed the elephants, a chance to get close to the mighty beasts and to see their amazingly agile trunks in action.

Return to the main camp for a lunch of freshly-prepared Thai food. Then return to the jungle where the elephants await their afternoon bath. Jump into the Kwai Yai River with the elephants, helping them to cool off with a good scrub. Then lead them deeper into the forest where they will spend the night.

Following this incredible encounter with Asia’s beloved elephants, say farewell to the team at Elephant World and return to the hotel.

Overnight in Kanchanaburi.

5

Kanchanaburi – Suphanburi – Uthai Thani

Kanchanaburi – Suphanburi (91.6 km): 1.28 hr Suphanburi – Uthai Thani (126 km): 1.53 hr

Breakfast at the hotel. Check-out and depart for Uthai Thani via Suphanburi. Upon arrival in Suphanburi, explore the famous 100-year old local Samchuk Market where traditional wooden houses are lined up along the river. Here, browse through a wide range of ancient Thai goodies from local food, traditional coffee shops, barbers, photos studios, vintage toys, and handmade products, and etc. 

Lunch at the market.

After lunch, proceed to Uthai Thani.

This evening, go on a dinner cruise on Sakraekrang River which is the life of the city. On board the cruise, experience the natural scenery and lifestyle of the people living in raft houses and pass some local temples along the way as well.

Overnight in Uthai Thani.

6

Uthai Thani – Kamphaeng Phet – Tak

Uthai Thani – Bantak Houses (253 km): 3.17 hr

Early breakfast, at the hotel, visit morning market in Uthai Thani town around 07:30 – 08:30. Stroll through the market, enjoy daily local lifestyle and browse through a variety of Thai produces, from fresh food, vegetables, ingredients, and so on. After that, have a nice coffee at a local coffee shop near the market and continue to visit Wat Tha Sung, aka Wat Chantharam, featuring its impressively elegant hall with its ornately decorated interior, all glassy and crystal at every corner inside. Later, continue to Tak province via Kamphaeng Phet.

Lunch at View Suay Riverbar and Restaurant in Kamphangphet.

After lunch, visit Kamphangphet Historical Park, the ruins of the ancient town of Kamphang Phet. Lesser known by foreign tourists, the park is one of the three parks that make up the UNESCO World Heritage Site, historic town of Sukhothai and associated historic towns, the other two being Si Satchanalai and the capital Sukhothai.

Then proceed to Tak and arrive in the evening.

Check-in at Bantak Houses. Located by the river, Bantak Houses is a small nice and friendly house-style resort surrounded by a beautiful garden and serene nature. Upon arrival, receive the warmest hospitality from friendly local hosts. Feel relaxed among nature and serenity.

Welcome dinner at the house.

Overnight in Tak

7

Tak

Bantak Houses – Bhumibol Dam (31.2 km): 42 min

Breakfast at the house. Spend the day free at leisure or enjoy some optional activities.  

OPTIONAL: Half Day the Bhumibol Dam

This morning, embark on a half day tour to discover Bhumibol Dam. Pass through beautiful lush countryside and mountains to the crest of the dam. Following the name of King Rama IX, Bhumibol Dam is the largest hydro dam as well as the first multi-purpose dam in Thailand. Be wowed with how enormous the dam is and learn about the history of the dam. Here, take a longtail boat to the nearest island and climb up to the top for a breathtaking view of the river. Following this morning’s visit, return to the resort with a brief stop at Wat Phra Borommathat in where a copy of a Burmese buddha statue is housed for locals to worship and pray.

Note: Book directly with the Bantak Houses.

OPTIONAL: Kayaking Trip

Be taken upstream for about 15 km by car and embark on a relaxing kayaking trip down the river and back to Bantak House after a few hours.

Note:

  • Transfer to the starting point without a guide. There will be no kayaking guide escort on the trip.
  • The trip is subject to be cancelled due to the water levels in the river.
  • Book directly with the Bantak Houses.

OPTIONAL: Full day Lan Sang and Taksin National Park

These beautiful national park is about 45 min drive south from the Bantak Houses. Here, explore beautiful nature on foot for about an hour to the well-known Lan Sang waterfall and one of the largest living trees in Thailand.

Note: Book directly with the Bantak Houses.

Lunch and dinner served at the house.

Overnight in Tak.

8

Tak – Mae Sot – Myawaddy – Hpa An

Tak – Mae Sot (86.5 km): 1.27 hr Myawadyy to Hpa An (169 km): 4 hours

After breakfast, check-out and transfer onwards to the next destination.

Arrive in Myawaddy (the border from Thailand – Myanmar). Meet and greet by the EXO Guide at the border.

After the entry formalities drive to Hpa An (4 hours drive).

Arrive in Hpa An in the afternoon. As the city approaches, the mountains surrounding Hpa An will slowly come into view. There should be time to drop off the bags at the hotel and visit Kyauk Ka Lat, natural rock sculpture that is surrounded by a manmade lake and offers spectacular views of Mt Zwekabin and the surrounding area. After that, head into town to visit Shwe Yin Myaw Pagoda. This pagoda is the perfect spot to watch the sunset across the Thanlwin River.

Overnight in Hpa An.

9

Hpa An

This morning, at 08:00, embark for a day of sightseeing Hpa An. Be met by the guide at the hotel after breakfast.

Today’s first stop will be Sadan Cave. This cave will bring out the  inner Indiana Jones. Sadan starts off as a typical Myanmar cave, full of Buddha images and even a reclining Buddha. On the trek back to the cave, a natural tunnel will come into view. Follow the row of lights through the tunnel for about 15 minutes to get to the other side where a magnificent view of a hidden lake and meadow awaits.

As an optional activity, stop and have tea or coffee at the tea shop at the edge of the lake. From here, hire one of the local boat men for a tour around the lake (Please note: Guests sit on the bamboo floor of the boat as there are no seats and the other cave is only accessible by boat. The boat operates from Oct to Apr depending on water level.)

After returning to the car, head towards Lumbini Gardens and see thousands (1150 to be exact) of identical Buddha statues.

The next stop on the tour will be Kawgun Cave. Every conceivable inch of this cave is covered with Buddha images, many dating back to the 7th century. There is also an option to climb to the top of a large rock formation for great views.

Optional: The last stop will be a sunset visit to Bat Cave. Living up to its name, Bat Cave is home to tens of thousands of bats and located along the bank of the Thanlwin River. As the sun dips in the background, the bats leave the cave in droves and creates quite a sight to see.

Just before dark, head back to the hotel.

Overnight in Hpa An.

10

Hpa An – Mawlamyine

Today the tour starts at 08:00 after breakfast.

Take a one hour drive to the city of Mawlamyine (Moulmein). Before it was established in Rangoon, Mawlamyine was the British capital of Burma. The British influence can be seen in the buildings, churches, and the beautiful Strand Road along the river.

Along the way, stop at Kawdoe Kawnat Village to visit Kawnat Monastery. This magnificent monastery with beautiful wood carving was built a century ago by a villager named U Nar Ouat, who was famed in those days for his wealth and generosity. It was because of his donation that this religious site was built near the village.

From here, it is a short drive to Mawlamyine. Start the tour at Kyaik Thanlan Pagoda, the city’s landmark. Built in 875 AD, it enshrines the Tripitaka Buddhist manuscripts as well as a hair relic from the Buddha. The 40 metre high stupa is located on a hill surrounded by 34 smaller Zediyan Pagodas. From up here one can enjoy panoramic views over the city and harbour. It is also thought to be the site where Rudyard Kipling wrote his famous poem, Mandalay.

Next, visit the ancient Queen Sein Don Monastery (locally known as Yada Bonmyint Monastery). This Monastery is more than 100 years old and is famous for its intricate wood carving and Burmese crafts inside. It was founded by Queen Sein Tone who had to flee Mandalay at the time of Myanmar’s last monarch, King Thibaw Min, took power. She became homesick and asked the local carpenters to build a monastery that was a replica of her former palace.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

After lunch, visit some of the building from Mawlamyine’s colonial period. Stop by the Holy Family Cathedral. Built during the colonial era, this church has a beautiful interior rarely seen by tourists. Then, stop at nearby Judson’s Church, built in 1827 by Dr. Judson who translated the Bible into Burmese. 

Finally, have a chance to stroll down the beautiful Strand Road as the sun sets along the river. Tonight, dine at one of the many restaurants along the river. The Burmese consider Mawlamyine the foodie capital of Myanmar. In fact there is an old Burmese saying: “Mandalay is for eloquence, Mawlamyaing is for food, and Yangon is for boasting”.

Overnight in Mawlamyine.

11

Mawlamyine – Golden Rock

This morning the journey continues at 08:00.

First, head to the jetty for a short boat ride to Shampoo Island, known in the Mon language as Ta Kaw Pon Za Lai.  The island sits at the confluence of five rivers and it was here where the Mon Kings used to hold ritualistic shampooing ceremonies during the local water festival, Thingyan. Spend 30-45 minutes on the island exploring the monastery, nunnery and pagoda.

After that, depart Mawlamyine and drive to Kyaikhtiyo, the Golden Rock. In the early afternoon, arrive at Kyaikhtiyo base camp (approximately 4 hrs). Travel by local, open-air truck for 45 minutes along a winding road (45 minutes) and be dropped off for a short 5-minute walk to Golden Rock. 

A huge boulder covered by gold leaf and delicately balanced on the edge of a cliff, Golden Rock is one of Myanmar's main pilgrimage sites.  The pagoda is said to hold a hair of the Buddha and Buddhists from across the country come here to pay homage. 

Overnight near Golden Rock.

12

Golden Rock – Bago – Yangon

Yangon - Bago (80 km): 2h

Today, return down to the base camp by the same route on foot and by open-air truck. Then drive to Bago, the former capital of the Mon Kingdom.

The visit in Bago begins at a local market for a short walk amongst the colourful stalls selling flowers, produce, and spices. Then visit Shwethalyaung Temple, which houses a beautiful 55-metre long reclining Buddha, and the Mon-style Shwemawdaw Pagoda. Shwemawdaw is one of the most venerated pagodas in Myanmar. At 114 metres tall, it’s even taller than Shwedagon Pagoda. Afterwards, visit a local Mon village nearby for a short walk through this quiet, typical rural village that was once famous for its silk weaving.

On the way back to Yangon, stop at the Allied War Cemetery near Htaukkyan. This beautiful, peaceful cemetery is the final resting place for over 27,000 Allied soldiers.

Overnight in Yangon.

13

Yangon

This morning, meet with the guide and driver at the hotel and board the Yangon circle train which runs from Yangon’s main railway station in a circle around various neighborhoods in town and on the outskirts of town. Sit alongside local commuters, watching as vendors hop on and off to sell snacks and cold drinks to the passengers. Gaze out the windows to observe the lively streets while the train slowly chugs along.

After around 45 minutes disembark in Insein Township. One of the city’s best fresh markets is here, filled with vendors and piles of colourful items for sale. Spend time walking amid the stalls examining the fruits, produce and meats on sale as well as chatting with the friendly locals.

Then transfer by car back to the city centre of Yangon and venture downtown to explore the city centre and its fabulous mix of architecture and sites. The streets are filled with historical buildings many of which have a faded colonial charm not seen elsewhere in Asia. Start at the Post Office – a lovely historic building- and walk to Sule Paya in the middle of downtown. Along the way, pass by Strand Hotel, Mahabandoola Garden and Independence Monument.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon, visit Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda, home to a 70-metre long reclining Buddha. A visit to Kyaukhtatgyi provides a great overview of Buddhism with murals depicting the life of Buddha, and a statue carved with traditional symbols. Many locals often gather here to pay homage and pray.

From here, continue to Shwedagon Pagoda the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar. Although the origins of the pagoda are unclear, local legend has it that the original structure was built 2,500 years ago then renovated several times before taking its current shape in the 15th century. The 8-sided central stupa is 99 metres tall, gilded with gold leaf and is surrounded by 64 smaller stupas. Follow the guide’s lead while touring this massive complex and learn why it’s so revered among locals.

Overnight in Yangon.

14

Yangon – Departure

In the morning visit Bogyoke Market, formerly known as Scott’s Market, where there is time to browse through dozens of stalls and shops. This is Yangon’s best market for handicrafts and other goods, so be sure to pick up some souvenirs (Note: Bogyoke Market is closed on Mondays and public holidays).

Then transfer to Yangon International airport for the onward flight.

Important Information

Our services include:

  • Accommodation in selected hotels
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • English speaking guide
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air-conditioned vehicle with drivers except in Kyaikhtiyo (transfers by open non-air-conditioned vehicles)
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits
  • Tips for driver and hotel porters
  • Drinking water

Our services do not include:

  • Other meals than mentioned
  • Other services than mentioned
  • International and domestic flights
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Tips for guide, travel insurance
  • Visa arrangements for Myanmar
  • Fuel Surcharge for domestic flights
  • Visits not mentioned in the program
  • Tips and porters at the hotels (Myanmar Part)
  • Credit card fees (2-3%) or bank transfer fees for non-cash payments
  • Any other items not mentioned

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