Hpa An is only 270 km from Yangon and it is the capital of Karen state with the very laid back atmosphere. It is surrounded by mountains and is famous for it fabulous caves. Even though doesn’t have any empty beach but it is the growing touristic destination. Because Hap An, is located between Mawlamyaing (the nearest sea port to Yangon) and Mewade ( Thai-Myanmar boarder crossing) we decided to introduce Hpa An and include it description as a travel destination in Southern Myanmar blog.
in the center of Hpa An, you can find many teahouses and restaurants with English-language menus serving local and Asian foods. We recommend to walk to The Strand Road riverfront for views over the Thanlwin river. There is a food stall which sells beer and drinks and a fruit market outside and a small gold market. Hpa An is famous for it caves. Saddan Cave. An enormous cave with a reclined Buddha and other religious monuments. Kawt Ka Taung cave. This cave is covered with bathroom tiles and numerous Buddha statues. Bat cave. the bat cave is a small cave that cannot be entered but you can go there for sunset when hundreds of thousands of bats fly out. Mount Zwegabin, with monastery and pagoda at the top of the mountain with amazing view of surrounding mountains and plains are a delight, and the canteen there serves fantastic (and usually well deserved!) food; It takes two to four hours to get to the summit and back down. There are people selling water and food on the way up. Kyauk Kalap it is very unique and amazing pagoda, set on top of rock which is in the middle of a lake.
Mawlamyaing; In a very close distance to Hpa An and about 6-7 hours drive from Yangon. It is the capital of Mon State and fourth biggest city Myanmar. Mawlamyaing is only 300 km from Yangon so it is important trading center, seaport, transportation hub and gateway to explore the Southern Myanmar. If you travel from Yangon buy car or bus Mawlamyaing might be the first city you might stop. The city have few unique attractions U-zina Pagoda, which is the principal pagodas situated on the range of hill and Kyaik Than Lan Pagoda: built in 875 CE city’s largest stupa. Princess Ashin Hteik tomb, fourth daughter of the last King of Burma returned to Burma from exile in 1915 and died in Mawlamyine in 1936. There two unique churches in Mawlamyaing. One built in 1827 Baptist Church and the first English st Matthew’s Church built in 1887 St . Because the Southern Myanmar is famous for islands and beaches we must mention that Mawlamyaing has two own islands. The first, very small Gaungsay Kyun Island but historically very significant with kings visiting it in the past and the second much bigger Belu-kyun famous for traditional culture and well known handicrafts.
Myawaddy ( Meawadee)
It is important for us to mention about Myawaddy on this blog as it has the large and well developed boarder crossing between Thailand and Myanmar. The town isn’t exactly scenic and be warned that the main street has its share of touts but it is important gateway to Southern Myanmar from Thailand through Mae Sot and Myawaddy. It is about 170 km from Mawlamyaing and 350 km from Yangon. It has few attractions including the crocodile temple, an outstanding piece of architecture with a shape building a giant standing Buddha, Golden bell tower, outdoor market. The main road Bayintnaung Street has KBZ bank, markets, shops, the police, a hospital, best accommodation and restaurants.
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