Southern Myanmar tour, 9 days
Description of Southern Myanmar tour, 9 days
A pagoda inhabited by pythons and a pagoda with a golden rock, said to be held in place by a single strand of the Buddha’s hair – head south from Yangon, and you’ll discover Myanmar’s fascinating religious and colonial history. Whilst many tours take you north of Yangon, to Mandalay and Bagan, if you head south you’re immediately on the road less travelled by tourists.
You’ll see some of Myanmar’s most interesting cities, visiting Bago, where the Shwemawdaw, or ‘Golden God’ Pagoda, rises in gilt splendour above the houses. You’ll end up as far south as Mawlamlyine; during the British empire’s heyday, the city was dubbed ‘Little London’. A fascinating day trip from the city will take you to where World War II POWs built the infamous ‘Death Railway’.
On the way down you can see the dramatic landscape Kayin State – all limestone karsts and limestone caves – and try your hand at speaking Poe, the language of the Kayin people. Boat trips and walking tours allow you to get close to the culture, and keep your carbon footprint low. At the end of the trip you’ll reach Bilu Island – a landmass the size of Singapore, where your money can support a variety of cottage industries.
PlanetFinding environmentally sustainable transport options is a hard task for any tour operator that wants to conduct responsible travel. We attempt to offer transportation that causes little damage to the environment while at the same time not losing quality. If our guests are happy to sacrifice a little comfort in order to travel more sustainably (eg. taking a bus or coach instead of a car) they are encouraged to speak to their travel advisor and we can accommodate this.
Where possible we incorporate into this tour travel without a car. There will be a walking tour in Mawlamyine, a boat trip from Hpa-An to Mawlamyine, and a boat trip to Ogre Island. As an alternative to travelling by car from Mawlamyine to Yangon, we can arrange for you to take the train instead.
Our Excursion Policy (including guidelines on group size and waste disposal) is given to all tour guides who lead this tour. The "bring-it-in, take-it-out" policy is enacted where by all waste brought by us out into the environment is taken away again. In Myanmar there are rarely trash disposal facilities in the "great outdoors", so all waste must be brought back to the nearest village, town, or city.
We make a preference to use excursion providers which aim to 'tread lightly', causing as little disturbance to the environment as possible, fostering only sensitive, respectful, and mutually- beneficial interaction with local communities, and stimulate economic profit and opportunity for all stakeholders.
We only work with excursion providers that have the relevant license to conduct the excursion and where all employees involved in the excursion are suitably trained.
PeopleDuring this tour you will be offered the chance to get off the track well-trodden to spend time (and money!) with communities and regions that do not so often receive monetary benefit from tourism to Myanmar. This is particularly the case in the Porkan district of Yangon and on Mawlamyine's Ogre Island.
We promote and take our guests to shops selling handicrafts from local artisans. When safe, comfortable and practical, we encourage our guests to eat from locally run restaurants. Our guides are similarly encouraged to promote local business and enterprises so to prevent economic `leakage` out of Myanmar.
We no longer offer visits to schools or orphanages as part of our itineraries. Nor do we offer short-term, unskilled voluntourism placements. We understand that the vast majority of people requesting to visit schools and orphanages do so with the best intentions. However, not only can these visits be disruptive to the children's learning, but more worringly the commercialization of orphanages through ‘orphanage tourism’ in other Southeast Asian countries has lead to the maltreatment of the children that these orphanages purport to be helping.
We place a huge emphasis on cultural exchange as a means to truly experience and better understand a country. For this reason we provide Burmese language phrase cards to our guests upon arrival. Additionally, we give ethnic language phrase cards featuring Shan, Pa'O, Jingphaw (Kachin), and Poe (Kayin /Karen) to clients travelling to regions in Myanmar where these languages are spoken. For this trip travellers will be given a phrase card for Burmese and Kayin / Karen language.
We provide our clients with the useful and accessible Dos and Don’ts for Tourists in Myanmar to help them avoid committing unintentional faux pas. This, coupled with our ‘Guidelines for Guides’, helps our guests respect the destinations they visit, the people living there and the cultures present. This includes things such as sensitivity when taking photographs and how to behave in and around sacred sites.