8 Things to do in Hpa-An
1. Do a small hike up to Hpan Pu Mountain
Hpan Pu Mountain is the perfect way to experience Hpa-An. In this morning, take the canoe boat (500 kyats) from this place to the other side of the Thanlyin River. Expect to get a bit of dirt on your shoes. The people in this area they grow a lot of vegetables and sell them in Hpa-An.
Once you get off the boat, walk 350 meters until you reach a small town and note the sign to the left that says ‘Hpan Pu Mountain’. Once you are at the foot of the mountain, go right and walk around until this point. On your left side, there is a stair that will lead you about 20 minutes to an amazing view over Hpa-An.
2. Visit Saddar Cave
Saddar Cave is one of those places you do not expect to see. Follow the path for 15 minutes into this massive cave. The path ends at a small lake where you can take the boat back near to the entrance of the cave.
The area is surrounded by lush green rice plantations which makes it even more impressive. The entrance to the cave is 1000 kyat ($0.75) and a private boat ride about 3000 kyats. ($2.25)
3. Hike up Mount Zwekabin
If you think hiking up the Hpan Pu Mountain is way too boring for you then get out in the early morning and hike up Mount Zwekabin. This 2.5-hour hike will definitely test your skills. You will get rewarded with an insane view.
4. Visit Golden Rock
Halfway from Yangon to Hpa-An, there is Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, better known as Golden Rock. It is one of the most important Buddhist sites in Myanmar. Getting to Golden Rock is quite a ride from the base camp. From here, you will take something like a bus filled with locals and a few tourists and it takes about an hour to reach the top.
The views from on top are beautiful and it is fascinating to see how many (local) people there are on the top of the mountain.
5. Sunset at the river
One of the most simple, yet, memorable things to do in Hpa-An is watching the sunset at Thanlyin River. You might even have the luck to interact with some locals who are washing themselves or their dishes in the river.
6. Kyauk Kalat Pagoda
Another spot where your mind will say: But .. how?! The Kyauk Kalat Pagoda is situated on top of a small limestone dot and it looks like he is almost falling over. Beautiful place to spend a small hour.
7. Explore the rice fields
Hpa-An is surrounded by unbelievable green rice fields. Rent a motorbike or bike and drive just outside of town. They grow rice multiple times a year so you will have a big chance to see it.
8. Explore Mawlamyine
About a 1.5-hour drive from Hpa-An is Mawlamyine. A more developed but less touristy city. This city was the former main harbor of Myanmar before it moved to Yangon. You can visit the biggest Reclining Buddha (Win Sein Taw Ya) in the world, who is 180 meters!! in length. Or have an amazing sunset from the Kyaik Than Lan Pagoda.
At both sites, it is hard to spot a foreign tourist. Do put this on the last item of your to-do list since we think the other 7 items are better! :)
How to get to Hpa-An from Yangon
If you are trying to include Hpa-An into your Myanmar Route, make sure to take 2 or 3 days for this area.
From Yangon, you can either go there by car or a bus ($9). Both take about 8 hours to get there.