The Capital of Kayin State, homeland of the Karen people, Hpa-An is an energetic, friendly town on the banks of the Thanlwin River. The main attractions though are scattered around the beautiful surrounding countryside, making this is an ideal area for relaxed touring.
The tallest of a chain of limestone mountains, 2,372 feet Mt Zwegabin is crowned by a stupa said to contain a hair of the Buddha. It’s a long walk to the top so we recommend an early start. If you arrive by 11am you can witness the feeding of the mountain’s monkeys. The mountain boasts fantastic views over the Kayin countryside.
The main attraction of this sacred site, eight miles south of Hpa-An is the hidden gallery of 7th Century artwork within. Thousands of Buddha images and carvings line the walls and roof of the cavern. The pagoda was first recorded in 1893 in an Archaeological survey of India Report. One headless carving of an elegant torso is believed to represent a queen who donated some images to the cave pagoda. A Mon language inscription on the piece reads; ‘I, the queen of Martaban, living in the town of Du Ei Wut, had the image of Lord Buddha made ...’
The column or rock, standing sheer out of a lake makes this monastery, pagoda and Nat shrine one of the most photographed spots in all Kayin State. This is a popular pilgrimage site close to Hpa-An town.
This breathtakingly huge cavern contains a pagoda near the entrance with many Buddha images. Further in the cave becomes a dark and wild place with many huge stalactites, the home of a large bat population. Continue to the end of the cave to find a hidden lake in the mountains. Bring a torch as the cave, beyond the entrance is very dark.
Mr Myanmar Travel can arrange visits to Hpa-An and the beautiful surrounding countryside by air-conditioned car from Yangon. As Hpa-An is only a short, two hour drive from Mawlamyine (Moulmein) it is easy to combine both towns and their surrounding attractions in one trip. A comprehensive tour of the south east corner of Myanmar which also takes in Bago and Mt Kyaiktiyo takes a minimum of five full days including travelling time from Yangon. Tours can be personalised to suit your interests.