Inside Asia Tours

Southern Myanmar

On the one hand, southern Myanmar is home to densely populated, rapidly developing streets of bustling Yangon. On the other, it is the location of the misty, sacred peaks of Hpa An and Kyaiktyo, where the great Golden Rock perches improbably on a rocky outcrop. For the history-lover, remnants of the colonial and World War II era are most prominent here in the south, providing a fascinating subtext to this beautiful region.

Despite his celebrated connection with Myanmar, Rudyard Kipling only spent a few brief days in the country on his way home from a posting in India. Both of his two stops in 1889 were here in Southern Myanmar.

In Yangon, he described the sense of awe provoked by a visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda. His second stop, at the former British colonial capital of Moulmein (now Mawlamyine), provided the inspiration for his famous poem Mandalay, which opens at the "Old Moulmein Pagoda".

A visit to Mawlemyine combines well with the scenic Hpa An region, where you can cruise along the delightful Thanlyin River and visit the renowned Golden Rock. Reaching the sacred rock, perched on a precipitous mountaintop, is an adventure in itself - but those who make the effort will be well rewarded. Sunrise at the rock accompanied by crimson-robed monks and Buddhist devotees is a magical experience.  

If you find yourself in need of a little relaxation at the end of your travels, glorious beach options are to be found at Ngapali or in the remote Myeik Archipelago.

  • Looking out over Mawlemyine to the river beyond from the Kyaikthanlan Pagoda, it's easy to imagine “Old Moulmein” in the days of empire. The modern world hasn't yet impinged much on the landscapes of southern Myanmar; it remains a region of great natural beauty and traditional Burmese charm.
    James Mundy, Marketing Manager
  • Yangon

    Modern Yangon is many visitors' introduction to Myanmar, and its welcoming people, glittering pagodas and fading colonial architecture make it a microcosm of the country's appeal.

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  • Macleod Island

    The Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago is a vast area of the Andaman Sea studded with more than 800 pristine islands – of which Macleod Island is just one. The lack of development in the region has enabled an amazing diversity of flora and fauna to flourish, both above and below the waves.

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  • Golden Rock

    The Golden Rock of Mount Kyaiktiyo is one of those places whose very existence seems to defy reality. Teetering on the edge of a precipice at the top of a mountain, this sacred monolith seems perpetually caught on the verge of toppling down the hill and into the valley below.

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  • Ngapali

    Lapped by the warm waters of the Bay of Bengal, the beautiful stretch of palm-fringed coastline at Ngapali remains one of Asia's most delightful and untouched beach destinations.

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  • Mawlamyine

    Erstwhile colonial capital and home of Kipling's fabled “Old Moulmein Pagoda”, Mawlamyine is now the fourth-largest city in Myanmar and capital of Mon State – yet still manages to look and feel like little more than a sleepy port town.

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  • Hpa An

    Little-visited Hpa An is a small, riverside town set in the beautiful, lush countryside of southern Myanmar – a landscape covered in vegetation and studded with limestone towers. One such tower is home to Hpa An's most famous sight: the improbably balanced Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda.

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  • Bago

    The Mon people, natives of southern Myanmar, established Bago more than a thousand years ago, and since then the area has had a long and tumultuous history of invasions, annexations, victories and defeats.

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  • Myeik Archipelago

    Tired of Thailand? Bored of Boracay? Those in search of beautiful beaches as yet untouched by development should set sail for the emerald-studded waters of the Andaman Sea, and explore the delights of the Myeik Archipelago before others catch on.

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