Burma Explorer

A Journey into Mystical Myanmar




From $2,260 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Mingle with Buddhist pilgrims at Golden Rock
  • Visit Mawlamyine, the capital of the Raj
  • Sunset views of the temples and pagodas of Bagan
  • Excursion to the shrine perched on the summit of Mt Popa

In many ways, Burma has changed little since Rudyard Kipling portrayed its unique character some 100 years ago. The Moulmein Pagoda, of course, is still there and is one of the places we visit on this tour of some of the country's less well-known sights. We also go to Mount Kyaiktiyo, where the gilded ‘Golden Rock' stands, poised on the edge of a granite cliff, revered by processions of red and yellow-robed monks. Travelling via lovely Hpa An with it's limestone caves there follows a visit to Mawlamyine (the Moulmein of Kipling's poem), home to George Orwell and the former capital of the British Raj in Burma. A visit to the nearby site of the famous `Death Railway` where 3000 Allied POWs are interred is a sobering but unmissable excursion. After returning to Yangon a short internal flight takes us to Bagan, where thousands of ancient temples are scattered across the plains next to the Irrawaddy. After spending a day visiting the main temple sights we can enjoy sunset views. An excursion to dramatic Mt Popa, an extinct volcano close to Bagan with a temple on the summit rounds off this discovery tour of Burma's highlights and lesser-known sights. This Burmese holiday is a feast for the senses and food for the soul!  It is possible to extend this holiday with a stay at Ngwe Saung Beach, on the shores of the Indian Ocean. 

Is this holiday for you?

This is primarily a Discovery adventure holiday which covers the highlights of southern Burma, Bagan and Yangon. To cover the ground necessary to include everything the itinerary involves some overland travel by private car. Please note that road conditions can be variable. Many of the sightseeing excursions will be walking tours, and to reach the Golden Rock and the summit of Mt Popa will involve walking up and down many steps so you should be ready and prepared to explore on foot when required.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Yangon. A single transfer from the airport is provided.
  • Drive south to Mt Kyaikhtyo and Golden Rock pagoda, Burma's second most important Buddhist site.
  • Explore Golden Rock and then drive on to Hpa An.
  • Depart for Mawlamyine, the former Raj capital of Burma. Afternoon exploration.
  • Visit the Burmese side of the WW2 II Death Railway, returning to Mawlamyine.
  • Return to Yangon via Thaton Mattom and Hsindat Myindat.
  • Fly to Bagan and explore the plain of ancient pagodas situated on a bend in the River Irrawaddy.
  • Visit Nyaung U market. Drive to Mt Popa, a pilgrimage site with views over the Myringyan Plain.
  • A free morning to explore Bagan, flying back to Yangon in the afternoon.
  • Departure day. A single transfer to Yangon Airport is provided.
Sun 29 Nov - Tue 08 Dec Code BEX /04/15/ Adult$2,260 Status Sold Out Call Us
Sun 07 Feb - Tue 16 Feb Code BEX /01/16/ Adult$2,260 Status Available Book now
Sun 13 Mar - Tue 22 Mar Code BEX /02/16/ Adult$2,260 Status Available Book now
Sun 06 Nov - Tue 15 Nov Code BEX /03/16/ Adult$2,260 Status Available Book now
Sun 27 Nov - Tue 06 Dec Code BEX /04/16/ Adult$2,260 Status Available Book now
Sun 05 Feb - Tue 14 Feb Code BEX /01/17/ Adult$2,260 Status Available Book now
Sun 12 Mar - Tue 21 Mar Code BEX /02/17/ Adult$2,260 Status Available Book now
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Yangon (Rangoon). For clients making their own flight arrangements, Yangon Airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • trip direction
  • point
  • trek
  • internalflight
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Yangon. A single transfer from the airport is provided.

    Rendezvous at the group hotel in Yangon in the afternoon. A single timed airport transfer will be provided. KE Land Only package services begin with lunch at the hotel, where the local guide will brief the group about the week ahead. There will be an early evening guided sightseeing visit to the incredible Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist sites in the whole of Myanmar. Overnight in Yangon.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals ld

  • Drive south to Mt Kyaikhtyo and Golden Rock pagoda, Burma's second most important Buddhist site.

    After breakfast at hotel we take the 5hr drive to Mt Kyaikhtyo and its Golden Rock pagoda. This gravity defying, sacred boulder stupa is the country’s second most important religious pilgrimage site. On arriving at the mountain base we board a truck to take us up the last section of steep, but well paved, road. From here we must walk the final 4km stretch up to the pagoda site, 1180 meters above sea level. We take our time to look around this magical place and mingle with the local pilgrims. We overnight in a nearby hotel

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Explore Golden Rock and then drive on to Hpa An.

    In the early morning we have another opportunity to explore the pagoda site. We return to our hotel for breakfast before taking the 3hr drive, through limestone escarpments and paddy fields, to Hpa An; the capital city of Karen state. Along the way we will stop to admire the 7th century artwork at Kawgun cave. The walls of this natural cavern are decorated with thousands of tiny clay buddhas. Arriving in Hpa An we can enjoy watching the sunset at Shweyinmyaw Pagoda on the bank of the Thanlwin River.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Depart for Mawlamyine, the former Raj capital of Burma. Afternoon exploration.

    After taking breakfast at the hotel we head out to explore the colourful small town. We walk around the Lombumni Garden, at the base of Mt Zwegabin, where we will find a thousand different images of Buddha. We depart Hpa An for Mawlamyine, the capital of Mon State. Mawlamyine is the third largest city in Myanmar and served as the capital of British Burma between 1827 and 1852. We have the afternoon to explore the city. At sunset we head to the top of Kyaik Tha Hill from where we have a splendid outlook over the city and its harbor.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Visit the Burmese side of the WW2 II Death Railway, returning to Mawlamyine.

    After breakfast we take the 1.5hr drive south to Thanbyuzayat (Tin Shed), the Burmese end of the notorious WWII ‘Death Railway’. Over 3000 allied POWs were killed during the construction of the railway and their bodies are buried in the Memorial Cemetery nearby. After this sobering visit we will return to Mawlamyine.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Return to Yangon via Thaton Mattom and Hsindat Myindat.

    Today we make the 6-7hr journey back to Yangon, via Thaton Mottama. This will be a great opportunity to see more of Burma’s beautiful countryside. There may be time to stop and take a look around the ancient pagodas at Kyaik Hti Saung. We may also visit the fortress at Hsindat Myindat to see the 40 metre long rock wall, carved with animals by Mon sculptors. In the evening we arrive back in Yangon where we check into our hotel and have dinner.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Fly to Bagan and explore the plain of ancient pagodas situated on a bend in the River Irrawaddy.

    We take an early morning flight to historic Bagan, situated on a bend in the Irrawaddy river; there is archeology here dating back over a millennium. We have the whole day to wander its dusty tracks and explore some of the innumerable temples and pagodas. We will also visit a lacquer-ware workshop where we can learn about this lengthy and complex process. We have time plenty of time to visit the exquisite murals of Ky Byauk Gyi and the 4 huge standing Buddha images of the Anada Temple. Then, of course, we will have to find a good sunset viewpoint. We have dinner in a local restaurant before heading back to our hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Visit Nyaung U market. Drive to Mt Popa, a pilgrimage site with views over the Myringyan Plain.

    After breakfast at hotel we have time to visit some more important monuments such as Htilominlo, Wetkyi Inn Gubyaukgyi and the gilded Shwezigon Pagoda, which dates back to the 11th century. We will also take time to stroll amongst the stallholders at the enchanting Nyaung U market. Today we will also take the short drive (1.5hrs) to Mt. Popa. The core of this extinct volcano is believed to be the home of Burma’s most powerful ‘nats’ or spirits; making this a major pilgrimage site. Those with enough energy can climb the 777 steps to the shrine at the top of the hill, from here there is an incredible view back over the Myringyan Plain and beyond. In the afternoon we return to Bagan, stopping en route at a local farm where we can observe daily life and learn about local agriculture. We spend another night in our Bagan hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • A free morning to explore Bagan, flying back to Yangon in the afternoon.

    We have the morning at leisure to explore. Our guide will be able to recommend some of the best areas to explore and sites to visit. In the afternoon we will transfer to the airport and take the domestic flight back to Yangon and transfer to our hotel where we will have a celebratory meal to end this unique experience.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Departure day. A single transfer to Yangon Airport is provided.

    After breakfast there will be a single timed transfer back to Yangon international airport where we check in for our flight home. KE Land Only group package services end with breakfast at the hotel.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • A local English speaking KE leader
  • Single timed Yangon Airport transfers on day 1 and day 10
  • Internal flights and associated transfers
  • All land transport involved in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees to all tourist sites (excluding museum fees)
  • Sightseeing tours
  • All meals throughout trip
  • Accommodation as described in the dossier

  • Travel Insurance
  • Airport transfers except for the single timed group transfers on arrival and departure
  • Visa fee
  • Airport departure tax on leaving Yangon
  • Tips for local staff
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks etc.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A single timed transfer from Yangon Airport to the group hotel is included in the Land Only trip price. This transfer will normally be timed to meet the Singapore Airlines flight from Singapore arriving in the afternoon of Day 1. Anyone may use this transfer but clients making their own flight arrangements must check the time immediately prior to departure. For clients arriving on earlier or later flights, independent Airport transfers can be arranged at an additional cost, or there is a reliable metered taxi service which costs approximately $10 for the journey to the group hotel. Clients booking a Land Only Package MUST provide the KE office with full details of their flights. Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation

There are 3 nights in Yangon, 1 night in Kyakito, 1 night in Hpa An, 2 nights in Mawlamyine, and 2 nights in Bagan. The hotel accommodation is in comfortable, tourist class establishments with twin sharing rooms and en-suite facilities. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. Depending on availability, it is possible to book a single supplement for the trip. For hotel prices and single supplement costs please refer to the dates and prices page of the trip on our website.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

Part of the experience of a visit to Burma is the wonderful variety of food available. All sorts of influences from neighbouring countries (Thailand and China amongst others) contribute to this variety. Rice and noodles are the main staples, eaten with fish, meat and poultry dishes. The food is generally considered to be a bit richer than Chinese food and less spicy than Thai food.

All meals are included, from lunch on Day 1 of the Land Only itinerary to breakfast on Day 10.

You should take around US$250 in US dollars cash. Sterling and euros are not readily accepted for exchange. Note that new dollar bills are preferred, and notes with any marks or tears are often refused. $250 should cover your miscellaneous expenses, drinks, souvenirs, as well as the US$50 - 60 you can be expected to pay for tips to local staff. If you are intending to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly. The unit of currency in Burma is the kyat. It is not possible to obtain local currency prior to departure. US Dollars can readily be changed in Yangon. You must carry your travel money in the form of cash, since you will exchange the majority of this on the day of your arrival we recommend taking a money belt or similar safe way of transporting your money. You cannot rely on finding an ATM machine, exchange travellers cheques nor on being able to use credit cards in Burma.

The group will be accompanied from arrival in Yangon to departure, by an experienced, professional, English-speaking local guide. There will be also be vehicles and drivers as required.

Tipping is commonly practiced in Burma. We do recommend you tip your holiday crew and drivers depending on how you feel they have done. We suggest you co-ordinate this tip as a group with each member contributing around $50 to $60 (in Burmese kyat) to a group pool which will be administered by the tour leader.

There is no weight restriction on baggage other than that imposed by the air carriers. However, we ask you to restrict your luggage to one main bag (your KE Trek Bag) and a small daypack, which can be carried on the plane as cabin baggage. For a holiday of this sort, not requiring heavy or bulky warm clothing, nor technical equipment, we suggest that you should easily be able to keep the weight of your packed trek bag to under 20kgs (44lbs).

KE Trek Bag / Free Gift

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

UK Passport Holders

A passport with at least 6 months remaining validity at the time of departure, together with a Single Entry Myanmar Tourist Visa, is required.

From 2 October 2014, an official eVisa service is now available to nationals of the UK (also the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland and many other countries) for a fee of US$50.

Full information, and the online application form, can be found at the official Union of Myanmar Ministry of Immigration and Population website page on eVisas: http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/

There are 4 steps to obtaining an eVisa:

  1. Fill in the online form and upload an electronic passport-sized photograph (max 2MB and sized 4.6cm x 3.8cm – the website has the facility to let you take an appropriate sized image if you have a webcam). You will be asked for the contact details of the agency you are travelling with – please enter “KE Adventure Travel” and our main telephone number 00 44 17687 73966. If you are asked for your address in Myanmar, please add the hotel named in your Booking Confirmation (usually the Asia Plaza, 277 Bogyoko Aungsan Rd, Kyauktada Township, Yangon).
  2. Confirm your application and make the payment of US$50 by secure SSL server payment portal (Visa or Mastercard acepted)
  3. Await your approval letter (this should arrive by email within 5 working days)
  4. Take the approval letter with you to the airport and on arrival in Yangon present it to immigration officials to receive the official entry visa stamp

A Single Entry Tourist Visa (allowing up to 28 days in the country) is valid for three months from the date of issue. As processing the approval letter takes up to 5 working days (and can be interrupted by Burmese public holidays) we suggest you apply in good time, at least 6 weeks prior to departure.

It is very important you only try to make an application directly through the official website at www.myanmarevisa.gov.mm. There are other websites out there with similar addresses and we strongly advise you avoid them!

If you are a national of a country not yet approved for eVisa you will need to make your application through a visa processing agency or directly to an embassy of the Union of Myanmar. Please contact your local embassy for further advice.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Flip flops or sandals that can be removed easily (for temple visits)
  • Daypack – Approx 10 to 15 litres
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Swimwear (optional – some hotels have pools)
  • Casual shirt and/or T-shirts
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket/Small Umbrella
  • Travel clothes
  • Sunhat
  • Scarf or neck buff
  • Eyewear – Sunglasses
  • Headtorch/Headlamp with spare bulb and batteries (in case of power failure and for visiting tunnels, temples etc)
  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Basic First Aid Kit including: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Immodium), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, Insect repellent, antihistamine cream and tablets, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite). Glucose tablets and multi-vitamin tablets are a good idea.

The following items are optional:

  • Water bottles 1 Litre
  • Camera, film, batteries
  • Shorts (should not be worn in temples etc)
  • Penknife (remember to pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Small padlock (to lock trek bag)

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:


Know before you go

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: www.fco.gov.uk. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

This is principally a touring holiday with no sustained elements of trekking. However there are a number of optional walks on the trip and some of the key sights can only be reached on foot. It therefore makes sense to get in shape before coming. The fitter you are after all, the more you will enjoy the experience. We would suggest you adopt some form of exercise program and gradually increase this at a comfortable rate as you get nearer to departure. It is also a good idea to do some reading on Burma, its people and culture.

Myanmar has three seasons, the 'cold' season, from October to February, when the average temperature in Yangon is between 20 - 30ºC, the 'hot' season, from March to May, with average temperatures of around 30-35ºC and the wet (monsoon) season, from May to October. Yangon is more prone to showers than Mandalay and Bagan, further north. Temperatures in the Chin Hills are cooler and make for pleasant walking conditions.

Myanmar (Burma). Lonely Planet. Robert Reid et al. Insight Guide Burma Myanmar. Wilhelm Klein et al. Burmese Days. George Orwell Letters from Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi From the Land of Green Ghosts. Pascal Khoo Thwe The Glass Palace. Amitav Ghosh The River of Lost Footsteps. Thant Myint-U

Myanmar Nelles Map

Map of Burma/Myanmar, with city plans of Rangoon, Mandalay and Bagan. 1:1,500,000

Extend Your Holiday

Burma - Ngwe Saung Beach Extension

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