Hpa An is a small town located in central Myanmar. At the beginning I planned to mention it as part of the whole trip around Burma, but the city is so interesting and offers so many attractions that quite a lot of material to describe came out of it. That is why I invite you to read here about a very interesting tourist town.
The first city in Myanmar where I stayed was Hpa-An in the Karev region. This is quite a touristy (for Burma) town – we will find here several hotels and guesthouses. It is also a city visited by local tourists, mainly due to the mountain Zwegabin (722m above sea above sea), at the top of which there is a monastery. This is the highest point in the area, which we can admire from the town. We can also go to other surrounding peaks and tourist attractions, which are not lacking. On the first day I went on a trip organized by the hostel, both to meet some people and have the opportunity to visit places located further from the center.
Ka Taung Caves
A large number of mountains is also a lot of caves. In Hpa-An, these caves have been visited for centuries as sacred places. Various inscriptions and paintings are engraved on their walls. The first point of the trip was the Caves of Kaw Ka Taung Cave. They are located at the foot of Mount Zwegabin.
The next point was visiting the Saddan caves. Here, too, there are great sculptures and statues, some decorated in a typically modern (or kitschy ;)) way – glowing neon signs are a classic here.
The cave is quite large and deep. We have a chance to go to its other end, where a short cruise on traditional boats awaits us.
We are constantly driving around Mount Zwegabin. The next point is the Lumbini Gardens. There are more than 1200 Buddha statues, set along a 2.6-kilometer road. There is also an entrance to the trail leading to the top of Mount Zwegabin.
Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda – White Pagoda
Another very interesting point is visiting the white Pagoda Kyauk Ka Lat, which is located on top of a rock resembling a club. For a small fee, we can go upstairs and visit the pagoda.
We move away from the mountain Zwegebin and move west to the Yathaypyan caves. Here, too, the walls are decorated with characteristic carnations. On the other side of the cave we have the opportunity to look at the beautiful landscape. Fields from which rocks literally grow.
The sunset is slowly approaching, so we go to the last attraction – Bat Cave. Around sunset, about 100,000 bats fly out of this cave and go hunting. Amazing experience. For about a quarter of an hour, the sky is flooded with a black cloud of birds, which fly out of the cave to the rhythm of drums.
Gora Zwegabin reigns over the city. This is its most recognizable point. To get to the trail I head towards the Lumbini Gardens. This time I’m going in a taxi with a friend I met on a trip and we agree with the driver that he will pick us up on the other side of the mountain – this way I have a chance to go down another trail.
The road to the 722-meter peak takes about 2 hours and leads through countless stairs. During the hike, I also meet a Burmese who talks about the history of the region and teaches me a few phrases in the local language Karen. At the top there is a monastery where tourists from all over Myanmar come.
Hpa Pu Hill
Hpa Pu is located on the other side of the river flowing through Hpa An. However, to get to it, we have to cross the bridge, located several kilometers outside the city. I went there by scooter, having the plan to see the sunset.
The trail to the top up to a certain point is quite well marked. However, at some point, an old, damaged “ladder” grows on the road (photo below). I did not risk going to the top – this time it was enough to see the town of Hpa An from half the height of the mountain.
Taung Wine Mountain
Renting a scooter also allowed for a trip to Taung Wine Mountain. The next day I set off before dawn towards the mountain. I had a plan to climb to the top before sunrise, but on the way I made a mistake and by the time I found the entrance to the trail it was already clear 😀 The road to the top itself leads along an easy trail along the steps, but there are an incredible number of them. The earlier we leave, the greater the chance we have to avoid climbing in the scorching sun.
At the top of Taung Wine there are spectacular stairs, looking as if they end in an abyss. Great place and magical views.
Hpa An offers many attractions and is an interesting point on the map of Burma. It is not a very famous city, which adds even more charm to it. And the views from the mountains are really impressive!
You can read about the next points of the trip to Burma in the next post!