Thailand & Myanmar Overland

As Myanmar continues to open its border regions, allowing travellers access to previously restricted areas, so grows our opportunity to create genuinely fresh, inspirational and 'barely trodden' itineraries. This is the side of travel we are most passionate about.

Starting in Thailand, following 2 nights exploring the city of Bangkok, make the short train ride to Kanchanaburi to learn about the Burma-Siam Railway, built by the Japanese Empire using Allied POWs as their workforce. From Thailand, continue westwards and cross over the border into southern Myanmar at Hti Khi. Over the next week you will journey north towards Yangon, travelling through this largely unexplored region. Stops will be made to visit the sleepy coastal city of Mawlamyine, Hpa An's sacred mountain and Buddhist caves and the gravity-defying Golden Rock. Back to civilisation and the bright city lights (well, relatively speaking), the itinerary finishes with 2 nights in Yangon.

At a glance
  • Plunge into Bangkok on a city safari
  • Spend a moving day visiting the infamous World War II sites around the River Kwai.
  • Cross into Myanmar and visit the equally poignant western terminus of the Burma-Siam ‘Death Railway’. 
  • Appreciate the dramatic karst mountain scenery surrounding Hpa An from the summit of Mount Zwekabin.
  • Wonder at the precariously positioned Golden Rock
  • Explore Yangon's Colonial landmarks on foot.
Itinerary
Price & Hotels

Bangkok - 2 nights

Bangkok, Thailand’s bustling capital, is a world-famous metropolis that simply mustn't be missed. Bubbling with energy, this city is always on the go, endlessly reinventing itself with fabulous new hotels, a trendy art scene, world class dining and shopping, stunning temples and a deep cultural heritage all very much in evidence.

Day 1 - Arrive Bangkok

On arrival in Thailand, you'll be met by your private guide, who will accompany you to your hotel.

Welcome to Selective Asia! This level of personal service (such as private transfers, private tours etc) is what you can expect throughout your trip. A few services (eg boat cruises) will be shared, but we'll always make sure you're aware of these.

Day 2 - City Safari

Includes:

It's time to plunge into Bangkok's bustle - the city is kept in perpetual motion by a buzzing public network whose modes of transport span from ancient to ultramodern. You'll step straight into the flow today on a tour of highlights, some well known, others further off the track. Begin your journey in one of the city's famous tuk-tuks, before switching to a public ‘bus boat’ through the city’s canals. Disembark to explore the historic house of Jim Thompson, a mysterious American silk merchant, before catching the ‘sky train’ (or jumping in a taxi) to your hotel, where the rest of your day will be at leisure.

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Kanchanaburi - 2 nights

Situated alongside the Mae Klong River (part of which is now known as the River Khwae) the town of Kanchanaburi is surrounded by sugarcane fields and dramatic mountains. Its best-known landmarks - both of which you will see during your visit - are the railway bridge and ‘Hellfire Pass’, built by allied POWs during World War II. Besides these historical sites, the area is home to pristine national parks, meandering rivers and spectacular waterfalls.

Day 3 - Train to Kanchanaburi

Includes:

Depart Bangkok by train to Kanchanaburi. The journey takes just a couple of hours and whilst only 3rd class carriages are available, it’s a pleasant journey making a handful of short stops at towns, and passing amongst the farm region to the north of the city; rice paddies as far as the eye can see! Upon arrival in Kanchanaburi, you will be met and transferred to your hotel where the remainder of your day is at leisure.

Day 4 - River Kwai Bridge, POW Cemetery, Hellfire Pass

Includes:

Make a morning visit to the bridge over the Khwae Yai (part of the Mae Klong River), which was built by Allied POWs under Japanese direction during World War II. Continue to the POW Memorial Cemetery and spend time in the Railway Museum, before boarding a train for the short journey through Kwai Noi Gorge, with its breathtaking views of the river, and on to Nam Tok Station. This afternoon you'll visit Hellfire Pass, a railway cutting on what became infamous as ‘Death Railway’. The pass was constructed by World War II POWs from Australia, Britain, the Netherlands and other nations, along with paid Indian workers who came voluntarily. All of them worked in particularly hazardous conditions, and this section of the railway ultimately claimed a very high number of lives. Walk through a section of the pass and spend time at the particularly good onsite museum, before heading back to Kanchanaburi.

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Dawei - 2 nights

Dawei is dotted with interesting colonial-era buildings and historical pagodas. Being a coastal region, you can expect deliciously fresh seafood and there are a handful of beaches within a drive of the town. The Dawei people are one of the 135 ethnic groups residing in Myanmar today.

Day 5 - Cross the border into Myanmar, drive to Dawei

Includes:

Morning departure from Kanchanaburi, driving east as far as the Thai - Myanmar border. Having said goodbye to your Thai guide (and met your new Burmese guide) continue by road towards the town of Dawei. Due to the town's location at the head of the Dawai River estuary, Dawei has been under consideration for some major international port development for a number of years, although to date these plans haven't gone further than the drawing board! Until recently, infrastructure, especially roads linking the city to elsewhere in the country, have been poor. This situation has recently improved, although the drive to Yangon is still a chunky 14 hours!

Day 6 - City Tour

Includes:

Enjoy a full day touring some of Dawei's highlights. Your guide will be very happy to tailor the tour to suit your preferences, however we'd recommend starting the day with an early visit to the fish market, perhaps the hub of the city’s most important economical contributor, where you can observe how the previous nights catch is bartered for and then, in some instances, packed to be transported elsewhere in the country. Other places of interest include the colourful Central Market, the city's Colonial quarter, and the Lawka Marasein Pagoda, which is the most important of the city’s pagodas.

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Mawlamyine - 2 nights

Established by the British as the original capital of Colonial Burma, Mawlamyine was an influential port in its heyday. It is an easy paced place, exhibiting a fascinating mix of cultures and religions nestled side-by-side amongst crumbling Colonial facades and a dizzying mix of temples, mosques, churches and pagodas. Sunset is best enjoyed from one of the stupas dotted along the forest clad ridgeline that overlooks the town with views out to sea.

Day 7 - Drive to Mawlamyine, Death Railway & Thanbyuzayat Cemetery

Includes:

Morning departure for Mawlamyine, breaking the journey at a number of places of interest along the way. It's a long journey (and honestly not the smoothest of roads), however the highlight for many - along with passing through regions of Myanmar that few tourists (or Burmese for that matter) have visited - is a chance to explore Thanbyuzayat, the western terminus of the Burma-Siam ‘Death Railway’, whose construction claimed the lives of thousands of Allied prisoners and Asian labourers. Here there is a moving war cemetery containing 3771 graves which offers an insight into this harrowing part of Burmese history.

Day 8 - City & Region Tour

Includes:

Spend your day exploring in and around this historic port. Observe the city's Colonial architecture; take a trishaw to the daily market to sample the region's delicious tropical fruit; wonder at the ancient wall paintings inside the Kha-Yon Caves and tour the Sein Don monastery accompanied by a resident monk. For the grand finale, watch the sun set from the monastery’s pagoda, which has unparalleled views across town.

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Hpa An - 2 nights

Surrounded by spectacular limestone outcrops, and set slightly back from the Thandwin River, Hpa An is a friendly, picturesque town where foreign tourists are still something of a novelty. The town itself offers few sights to the visitor: the appeal is the nearby sacred Mount Zwegabin and the surrounding limestone formations which house Buddhist caves.

Day 9 - River Cruise to Hpa An, Kyauk Kalap Pagoda

Includes:

The early morning start is soon justified by one of the more scenic river journeys Myanmar has to offer, as you take to the water for the 4 - 5 hour stretch of the Thanlyin River, cruising between Mawlamyine and Hpa An. This is the perfect opportunity to sit back and soak up the slow paced rural sights of limestone karts rising out of vibrant green paddy fields and sugar cane plantations.

Late afternoon you will be met by your guide for a visit to Kyauk Kalap Pagoda, (pronounced chalk-galap). This tiny temple is perched precariously atop a limestone pinnacle, on a small island in the middle of a lake and is a great spot from which to watch sunset over the surrounding countryside and Mount Zwegabin.

Day 10 - Mount Zwekabin Trek, Saddar Cave

Includes:

We suggest a substantial breakfast today to give you energy for a day of trekking! Your morning challenge will be to summit Mount Zwekabin: standing 725 metres high, on the outskirts of Hpa An, it is one of the most sacred mountains in the country. Over 1,000 Buddha images are carved into the rock at the foot of the mountain and from here it takes around two hours to hike the steep stairway to the top. It’s a strenuous climb but the unobstructed views from the top are worth the effort and here you’ll find a small monastery and a pagoda that allegedly contains a strand of Buddha’s hair.

In the afternoon, visit Saddar Cave. Pass through the large natural chamber that houses carved Buddha statues and trek along an underground passage through the mountain. Emerge on the other side of the cave to reveal a beautiful scene of tree clad hills and a lake. From here board a traditional wooden canoe and you will be paddled leisurely around the outside of the mountain, back to the cave entrance.

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Golden Rock - 1 night

The Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda, also unsurprisingly known as Golden Rock, is perched on top of a precariously positioned golden granite boulder. Layer-upon-layer of gold leaf has been applied by pilgrims and visitors, who come to marvel at the pagoda and pray to the Lord Buddha. Legend tells us a strand of Buddha's hair is located under the boulder, ensuring it maintains its precarious balance.

Day 11 - Drive to Kyaikhtiyo (a.k.a Golden Rock)

Includes:

Depart Hpa An for Kyaikhtiyo, better known as Golden Rock. The final leg of the journey will be to Kinpun, where you board a local truck (shared) for the steep journey up the mountain. There is an option, for those feeling active, to disembark the truck at Yathaetaung, around 1.5km from the summit, and undertake the steep 40-minute hike to the top. Your hotel is located just below the summit, before the pagoda entrance. Having checked in, head out to see the gilded pagoda and soak up the panoramic views of the Mon State mountains before dinner.

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Yangon - 2 nights

Yangon (formerly Rangoon) was Myanmar’s administrative capital until 2006 and remains the country's largest and most influential city. Its dusty streets are lined with an intriguing array of traditional wooden homes, imposing colonial-era relics, buzzing tea houses, and modern - although often already decaying - office blocks. Yangon’s skyline remains far more low-rise and green than many other South-East Asian cities, leaving space to enjoy the views. Rivers, lakes, parks and tree-lined streets separate the built up districts, and the gleaming spire of Shwedagon Pagoda - one of Myanmar’s most iconic sights - towers above the city.

Day 12 - Drive to Yangon via Bago & Htaukkyant Cemetery

Includes:

It's worth rising early to witness the sun rise over the rock before departing for Yangon. A stop will be made en-route in Bago to stretch your legs and visit the impressive 55 metre long reclining Buddha at Shwetharlyaung, and the much revered Shwemawdaw Pagoda. Before arriving into Yangon in the late afternoon it's also possible to stop at the Allied War Cemetery near Htaukkyant, the final resting place of some 27,000 allied troops who lost their lives in Burma during World War II.

Day 13 - Experience Yangon's circle train, walking tour, Shwedagon Pagoda

Includes:

Explore the lively India Town market before hopping aboard the ‘circular railway’ commuter train as it weaves its way through waking neighbourhoods. Disembark at Hledan to visit the huge reclining Buddha at nearby Chaukhtatgyi Paya and, after lunch, go downtown to the ancient Sule Pagoda, where you can see fortune-tellers in the small rooms surrounding this highly significant site. Continue to Mahabandoola Park and Burma’s Independence Monument, then walk along the river bank, past the Custom House, the British Embassy, the General Post Office and evocative The Strand Hotel, once home to the likes of Orwell, Kipling and Somerset Maugham. Mingle with the locals over a cup of sweet chai in a traditional tea shop, before visiting Myanmar’s most iconic site: the majestic Shwedagon Pagoda. Try local flavours at the surrounding makeshift food markets, and see the pagoda magically illuminated as night falls.

Day 14 - Depart Yangon

Includes:

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

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We only provide privately guided holidays - meaning that you will not be expected to share guides or transport for the duration of your visit. You can also start on any day you choose.

Please click on the hotel category buttons below to view hotel details. These are recommended properties only - we have many alternative options for you to choose from if you would prefer. You can mix hotel categories throughout your holiday.

Hotel class Price per person (based on total # travelling)
2 persons 3 - 4 5 - 6
Standard £2,811US$3,682 £2,377US$3,113 £2,099US$2,749

FuramaXclusive Sathorn

Nicely presented and remarkably convenient, the FuramaXclusive’s central Bangkok location makes it ideal for the start or end of your travels in South-East Asia... See more

River Kwai Resotel

Just 45 minutes upriver from the bustling town of Kanchanaburi, the Resotel is a world away from the bustling streets and touristy restaurants close to the bridge. Set on the banks of the River Kwai Noi and amongst... See more

Hotel Zayar Htet San

Petite and practical, the Hotel Zayar might not win any design awards but it is smart, modern, and the best hotel in the Upper Myeik region...

Attran Hotel

The Attran is a recently built bungalow-style hotel, very comfortable with excellent facilities in every suite. Some of the rooms have a lovely sunset view over the nearby Thanlwin River... See more

Keinnara Hpa-an

Tucked away in the valley at the foot of Mt. Zwe Kabin, overlooked by this majestic mountain, Keinnara Hpa-an is the newest and arguably the best property in this scenically stunning region... See more

Mountain Top Hotel

Simple, bright, friendly and within easy walking distance of the much revered Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda, what more could you ask for? The Mountain Top Hotel is never going to win a 5th star... See more

Hotel G

Downtown Yangon bustles with street markets, food stalls and an upbeat atmosphere. Hotel G is conveniently located right in the centre of the action, just over a mile to Shwedagon Pagoda...

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First Class £2,917US$3,821 £2,474US$3,241 £2,175US$2,849

The Raweekanlaya

Built in the late 1800's as the residence of the royal governess of His Majesty King Rama VI, this hidden gem enjoys a tranquility that belies its central location...

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River Kwai Resotel

Just 45 minutes upriver from the bustling town of Kanchanaburi, the Resotel is a world away from the bustling streets and touristy restaurants close to the bridge. Set on the banks of the River Kwai Noi and amongst... See more

Hotel Zayar Htet San

Petite and practical, the Hotel Zayar might not win any design awards but it is smart, modern, and the best hotel in the Upper Myeik region...

Attran Hotel

The Attran is a recently built bungalow-style hotel, very comfortable with excellent facilities in every suite. Some of the rooms have a lovely sunset view over the nearby Thanlwin River... See more

Keinnara Hpa-an

Tucked away in the valley at the foot of Mt. Zwe Kabin, overlooked by this majestic mountain, Keinnara Hpa-an is the newest and arguably the best property in this scenically stunning region... See more

Mountain Top Hotel

Simple, bright, friendly and within easy walking distance of the much revered Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda, what more could you ask for? The Mountain Top Hotel is never going to win a 5th star... See more

Sule Shangri La

Formerly known as Traders, Sule Shangri La is something of a landmark in itself within Yangon - its 21 floors place it amongst the highest buildings in the city. The views from many rooms are sensational...

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Superior £2,951US$3,865 £2,536US$3,322 £2,259US$2,960

Riva Surya

The intimate surroundings of the Riva Surya will suit those looking to get away from the more intense parts of Bangkok... See more

U Inchantree Kanchanaburi

With picturesque views of the historic bridge from the garden, U Inchantree Kanchanaburi makes the most of it’s evocative location on the banks of the River Kwai… See more

Hotel Zayar Htet San

Petite and practical, the Hotel Zayar might not win any design awards but it is smart, modern, and the best hotel in the Upper Myeik region...

Mawlamyine Strand Hotel

Situated on the banks of the Thanlwin River and just a couple of hundred metres from the town's central market, The Strand is one of Mawlamyine's most impressive properties... See more

Keinnara Hpa-an

Tucked away in the valley at the foot of Mt. Zwe Kabin, overlooked by this majestic mountain, Keinnara Hpa-an is the newest and arguably the best property in this scenically stunning region... See more

Mountain Top Hotel

Simple, bright, friendly and within easy walking distance of the much revered Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda, what more could you ask for? The Mountain Top Hotel is never going to win a 5th star... See more

Sule Shangri La

Formerly known as Traders, Sule Shangri La is something of a landmark in itself within Yangon - its 21 floors place it amongst the highest buildings in the city. The views from many rooms are sensational...

See more
Deluxe £3,165US$4,147 £2,750US$3,602 £2,474US$3,241

COMO Metropolitan Bangkok

Amongst Bangkok's most sought-after properties, COMO Metropolitan Bangkok is the ideal hotel for clients wishing to experience the hip and ultra-modern side of the city... See more

X2 River Kwai Resort

If cutting-edge architecture isn’t your thing then look away now! The X2 River Kwai Resort is a totally unique, innovatively designed, boutique hotel... See more

Hotel Zayar Htet San

Petite and practical, the Hotel Zayar might not win any design awards but it is smart, modern, and the best hotel in the Upper Myeik region...

Mawlamyine Strand Hotel

Situated on the banks of the Thanlwin River and just a couple of hundred metres from the town's central market, The Strand is one of Mawlamyine's most impressive properties... See more

Keinnara Hpa-an

Tucked away in the valley at the foot of Mt. Zwe Kabin, overlooked by this majestic mountain, Keinnara Hpa-an is the newest and arguably the best property in this scenically stunning region... See more

Mountain Top Hotel

Simple, bright, friendly and within easy walking distance of the much revered Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda, what more could you ask for? The Mountain Top Hotel is never going to win a 5th star... See more

Savoy Hotel

Being located just off Rangoon's very own ‘millionaire’s row’ can have its advantages, namely the great restaurants and shopping (or window shopping) opportunities the neighbourhood has to offer... See more

Solo travellers are always welcome - please contact us for a tailored quote.

These prices are shown in GBPUSD.
Selective Asia is a UK-registered company, but our client-base spans the globe, so we bank in both GBP and USD and can therefore provide a fixed price in either currency.
We also have payment facilities in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the EU, and can typically offer better-than-bank exchange rates on the date of payment in these currencies (against a booking priced in GBP).

Itinerary additions


  • Light-adventure enthusiasts will love an extra day or two in Hsipaw where some excellent bike trails and overnight treks, staying in remote village homestays, can be arranged.
  • This is the only itinerary that we haven't included either the cultural big-hitter of Bagan OR the ever popular Inle Lake. Either or both can, of course, be added.
  • This is quite a busy itinerary, so why not extend your stay with some much needed R&R time on Ngapali beach.
  • At Selective Asia we specialise in creating unique, tailor-made experiences. The holiday itineraries provided on this website are intended to help you visualise what is achievable in your destinations of choice, over a given period of time and at an intended budget.
    Whilst many clients are happy with of our recommended itineraries in the current form (and at the price quoted), there are those that wish to personalise their holiday in some way, whether it be a change of hotel, an additional destination or even start from scratch. This is when our tailor-made specialists come into their own; with many years of experience both living and working in the region they are ideally equipped to advise on alternatives and to facilitate any necessary changes.

    The important stuff

    Please note: During high season periods (such as Christmas and Burmese New Year) hotels often levy a surcharge and these are not included in the above prices. Your consultant will be happy to advise you of these.

    Inclusive:

    • English speaking, local guide
    • All accommodation listed
    • Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles
    • Any domestic flights listed (unless marked otherwise)
    • All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
    • All meals listed
    • International flight reconfirmation.

    Exclusive:

    • Flights to/from Asia. We are an ATOL bonded operator and can arrange flights for all our clients, regardless of whether you are departing from the UK or from almost any other worldwide destination.
    • Entry visas
    • International airport departure taxes
    • Any meals not listed in the itinerary
    • Drinks, other than water on activity days
    • Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)
    • Travel insurance
    • All other services not listed in 'inclusive'

    Please note

    All prices are correct at the time of publishing. They are liable to change and can only be confirmed upon submitting an enquiry.

     

    Extras

    Flights

    We will arrange all internal flights used within our holiday itineraries. We can also arrange discounted flights from all UK airports to Asia and we are a fully bonded ATOL operator. If you would like a quote for your international flights then please complete the required section on the enquiry form.

    Visa

    You will require a visa to enter Myanmar. Your consultant will be happy to advise you on visa requirements.

    Passport

    Please ensure that you have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity remaining after your return date. You will also need at least one blank page for each of the countries you are visiting.

    Insurance

    You will require a comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. We offer our customers a specially discounted insurance policy, ideally suited to the needs that a trip such as this creates. Tick the insurance box in the enquiry form and we will send you a quote to suit your needs.

    Vaccinations and Malaria Prevention

    You will undoubtedly require vaccinations for your visit to Asia. Please consult your doctor or a vaccination clinic for the most up-to-date advice. They will also be able to advise you of the most suitable anti-malarial medication if required. It is important that you do this well in advance of your departure date.

    Booking Procedure

    Only once you are completely happy with any holiday itinerary we create for you will we ask for a payment. In order that we can secure availability for your booking we would typically require a deposit of 20%.

    Travelling Responsibly

    We care about the places and the communities that you will travel through. It is important to us that we travel as responsibly as possible throughout Asia and that we are giving something back to the regions and the people that make these journeys so special. Full details on our approach to responsible travel can be found on a dedicated section of this website.

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Our tailor-made service costs you no extra

This itinerary is designed to work straight off the peg, but we'll happily tailor it until it's a perfect fit for you, to ensure we’re making the absolute best of your time and funds. All you need to do is ask...

Your own private guides & drivers

You'll typically have your own private guides & drivers throughout your trip. When you will be sharing a service (eg a boat cruise) with others, we'll always let you know.

Book With Confidence

For peace of mind when booking your future holiday to Asia, we have introduced flexible booking conditions & full financial clarity.