Hpa-An is a too often missed destination in Myanmar, but its stunning landscape and unique, mind-blowing temples are completely unmissable.
Hpa-An conveniently shares a land border with Thailand at Mae Sot, so it’s a great place to start out if you’re travelling to Myanmar from Thailand. Though Hpa-An doesn’t have quite the hype it deserves, it was nevertheless one of my favourite places in Myanmar.
If you stay at the Soe Brothers Guesthouse or the slightly newer and more expensive Soe Brothers Guesthouse II, they organize a 1 day tour of Hpa-An’s top temple sights for 30,000 kiat divided by the number of people on the tour to a maximum of about 6 people. It’s on a motorcycle buggy, it’s a wee tiring, but the places you go are WONDERFUL.
Explore a temple carved into the face of a cave.
This is a place that’s too stunning to miss.
Walk through about 500 meters of bat poop (aka guano) in order to take a magical boat ride under a mountain and through rice paddies to return to the entrance.
Hike to the top for magnificent views of the area.
A stunning temple placed atop a fascinating natural formation.
The Base of Mount Zwegabin
Walk through a garden of 1,121 donated statues of Buddha leading preceding the auspicious Mount Zwegabin, placed atop a mountain.
Hike Mount Zwegabin
The hike up to the top of Mount Zwegabin is intense. It’s not a particularly long hike, only about 1-3 hours depending on your fitness level, but it’s all stairs and very steep.
At the top you will be rewarded with views of the countryside as well as a look at a monastery. The monastery itself is not particularly beautiful, but in the past tourists were able to sleep at the monastery and get a view of sunrise. This is no longer possible at this time, tragically.
You can’t hike to the top during the 1 Day Tour, but the hostel offers a ride to the mountain at 7 AM each morning.