Hpa An is a authentic destination for those wishing to stay away from the tourist circuit in Burma. Far from buzzing cities like Mandalay, visit Hpa An for the quiet of a small country town. The place is surrounded by breath taking karst landscapes and is easily accessible from Mawlamyine.
What are these Karst landscapes?
Karst landscapes are a well-known terrain of Southeast Asia that give out the impression of numerous small mountains on a plain. Renowned in China and Vietnam, these landscapes are also present in Burma, though the crowds here are way lesser here. Hpa An offers a beautiful countryside where you truly experience peace and solitude.
What does one get to see in Hpa An?
The area around Hpa An offers a distinct series of small mountains, rice fields, and caves that can be accessed easily.
You can climb several mountains when you visit Hpa an, including Mount Zwekabin, which requires a little less than 2 hours of walking (although considerable physical effort). But from the top the scenery is absolutely beautiful.
The area around Hpa An is known for its many different caves. The most prominent cave is Saddar, which may start off simply, but crossing it brings you to an exceptional clearing. Indeed, the cave visit ends with you on a boat floating on the water in the middle of rice fields. You can literally hear the sound of the oars and the calls of birds flying overhead.
The surroundings are full of gorgeous rice fields. Visit Hpa An right after the monsoon to see the rice fields brimming with water, and mountains being reflected in that water. It is beyond words.
A typical monasteries
Hpa An is also a place where you can visit many different monasteries. The most beautiful memory you are likely to carry back home is of the monastery of Kyauk Ka Lat. It consists of an amazing golden stupa standing atop a giant rock shaped like a python.
The Garden of Lumbini
It is often difficult to define this garden. Imagine a forest with trees planted at equal distances of tens of meters. Now replace these trees with Buddha statues and you get a picture of the Lumbini garden. This place is where you do not want to miss out on taking photos because they will all turn out equally stunning. You must in fact try experimenting with perspective.
The adorable Burmese
As is well known, you do not count the number of smiles you get and the number of children you “cuckoo” while in Burma. Expect the same when you visit Hpa An. The farther you move away from tourist paths, the warmer will be the reception you get. Just do not forget to bring along your own smile when you visit Hpa An!
Is there no threat in Karen state?
The Karen state is currently experiencing a rebellion, and that’s why you’ll see some alarming messages on the Internet. However, the reality is quite different. Hpa An is a very quiet town, and clashes are taking place far away from this region. You will in fact be surprised by the total lack of noise in the countryside. You can visit Hpa An without the slightest of fear or worry.
Will I get a charming hotel in the Burmese countryside?
Hpa An offers quite a few hotels suited to every budget and every desire. You will find small and affordable hotels, nice and not-so-expensive hotels away from the city to enjoy a little quiet, and also a beautiful boutique hotel located just below the mountain, with breathtaking views of Mount Zwekabin and a captivating atmosphere.
What about the city itself?
Hpa An does not offer much specifically for travelers. Being the capital of Karen state, it has some pagodas but not enough to come all the way to visit Hpa An only for them. You will have some trouble finding western food as well.
With what other places can I couple Hpa An?
It is very easy to visit Hpa An while also adding more stopovers to your journey. For example you can make an initial stop on the road from Rangoon to Golden Rock. You can do the same after Hpa An. You can pay a visit to the old British capital Mawlamyine, for instance.
Do not hesitate to contact us on our website for more information. http://www.shantitravel.com/en/burma-travel/