To us, Hpa An is a little hidden gem of Myanmar. It’s a small, little town nestled along a river making it a perfect break from the bustling cities of Myanmar. Trying to figure what to do in Hpa An? Check out the list of attractions below to get a few recommendations on things to do in Hpa An, Myanmar.
Hpa An Attractions – Things To Do in Hpa An
About Hpa An, Myanmar
Hpa An is 168 miles east of Yangon and the capital of Kayin State. Located on the banks of the Thanlwin river, this small picturesque town is surrounded karst mountains and has a oh-so-good lazy moving feel to it.
Hpa An is off the mass-tourist path making it quaint and more local. The town itself is pretty much picture perfect and a great place to spend two to three days.
So yes, we agree with what you’re thinking, “what’s not to like?” Well, to answer your questions. Nothing. Nothing is not to like. Hpa An is awesome!
Getting Around Hpa An
When you’re in the town of Hpa An, your set of legs will do you just fine. The town is small enough that walking is a great way to get around.
However, if you’re looking to get outside of the town to places like Mount Zwegabin, Hpa An Caves or Kyauk Kalat Pagoda, renting a scooter or hiring a tuk-tuk is a must.
Hpa-an scooter rentals are easy enough to come by. Within Hpa An, there are a few rental shops like My Tour Bike & Motorbike Rental and Good Luck Motorcycle Rental.
Another tip is asking your accommodation if they offer bike or scooter rentals as this route will definitely be the most convenient.
1) Hike Mount Hpan Pu For Sunset Views
For about 500 kyat, take a small boat across the river to the village of Hpa-pu. Disembark the boat, and wander through the small village until you eventually reach a trail.
Hiking up for about 30 – 45 mins, you’ll pass communities of monks living on the hillside. Every time you turn around to see how far you’ve come, the view gets better and better.
Once you finally reach the top of Hpan Pu Mountain, the views that you have laid out before you are stunning, and we do mean stunning. 360-degrees views of Hpa An situated along the river with the towering karst mountains nestled in the back.
Plus, at the summit, you’ll be right next to Pha Bhu Taung Pagoda. A pretty magical evening if you ask.
The hike is steep but it’s short so totally doable. It’s perfect for sunset so you can catch that lovely golden light hitting Hpa An and the river below.
TIP: The boats stop running across the river at nightfall so be sure to be back on the riverbanks before then. It’s a good idea to coordinate with the boat driver so you aren’t stranded.
2) Explore The Hpa An Caves
Located 30km / 18 miles south-east of Hpa An city center, the Sadan Caves are something experience when in Hpa An, Myanmar.
Getting There -> You have two options on getting to the Sadan Caves
- Option 1 – Rent a scooter from town and drive the 45 minute ride. Scooter rentals cost around 6,000 – 10,000 Kyat per day.
- Option 2 – Flag down a local tuk-tuk and hop in. Costs are always negotiable but you can expect to pay 5,000 – 9,000 Kyat per person, per one way
There is a 1,000 kyat entrance fee to gain access to the Sudan Caves and your shoes must be taken off before entry.
Once you get into the Sadan Caves, you’ll see dozens of buddhas statues, pagodas and wall carvings. As you wander the caves, you can hear bats squeaking above – look out for their droppings!
Note: The cave is closed during the rainy season, and if you have it, bring a headlamp.
Hpa An has no shortage of caves. If you’re looking for a few more Hpa An caves to check out, consider adding the below to your list…
- Bayin Nyi Cave
- Ya Thay Pyan Cave
- Kaw Ka Thaung Cave
- Kawgun Cave
- Bat Cave
3) Hike Mount Zwegabin
Feel like a climb? Like a 2,000 step climb? Then Mount Zwegabin is right up your alley. By far the hardest hike in Hpa An is the Mount Zwegabin hike. You calves feel everyone one of those 2,000 steps , but at 2,279 feet, the views are totally worth it.
Mount Zwegabin is located 10km / 6 mi south-east of Hpa An city center.
Getting There -> Scooter rentals are 6,000 – 10,000 Kyat per day where the tuk-tuk ride to get to Mount Zwegabin is about 5,000 Kyat per person, per one way. Regardless what transportation method you choose, the ride is about 15 minutes or so.
Entrance Fee -> Upon your arrival, you’ll need to pay a 4,000 Kyat per person entrance fee to access Mount Zwegabin and it’s epic views. Pay the monk and off you go!
Before you start your climb, you’ll pass through the the Lumbini Garden, a field full of Bhuddha’s. You’ll find a little over 1,100 Buddhas statues lined up in this garden. Grab a few pictures and then head off to climb Mount Zewgabin!
One you start hiking Mount Zewgabin, you’re in for a 1.5 – 2 hour hike to get up and about an hour or so to get down.
The hike is majority stone paved steps that are accompanied by a handrail. The handrail does two things, keeps you from falling off the side and gives you that extra support when you need a boost to get you to the next step 🙂
On your hike up, be wary of the monkeys! They’ll come for you if they see any snacks on your pack or if you’re munching on something.
Once you reach the top, you’re welcomed with views that seem to go on forever. If you don’t feel like coming down right away, there is a monastery on top where you can grab a bite to eat and also stay the night.
Tip: It’s best to start the hike just before or at sunrise. The weather get’s hot so avoid hiking in the afternoon. Plus, the morning offers great lighting for epic pictures.
4) Book A Hpa An Bike Tour
A recent addition to Hpa An are bike tours. Perfect for seeing the village and surrounding areas of Hpa An, bike tours allow you to travel over flat land and see some of the best local sites.
From Kaw Ka Taung Cave and Sadan Cave to Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda, a full day bike tour is a great way to zip around town.
5) Check Out Kyauk Kalat Pagoda
If you’re looking to see a Pagado defy the laws of gravity, check out Kyauk Kalat Pagoda or Kyaut Ka Latt as it is sometimes called.
Kyauk Kalat Pagoda is 8.5 km south of Hpa An city center, about a 30 minute scooter or tuk-tuk ride. Again, you’ll need to rent a scooter for the day or flag down a tuk-tuk in town to take you.
Once you arrive, you’ll be scratching your head at how a pagoda stays perched on top of a small limestone mound. It looks like with one burst of wind, the Pagoda will come crashing down!
It’s a picture perfect place that is situated on a lake with the mighty Mount Zwegabin in the background. A great place to spend an hour or so.
6) Enjoy The Township of Hpa An
The town of Hpa An is so quant and it offerings a great break from the chaos of Myanmar’s larger cities.
Our tip? Walk through the town. Have a meal and a Myanmar beer at one of the riverside cafes. Meander through the Hpa An morning market or watch locals play a friendly game of sand volleyball by the river.
Witness kids playing and flipping into the river. Or kick it on the banks of the river and watch an epic sunset. Basically, sit back, relax, and take in Hpa An. It’s a small, beautiful town and you should soak up those beautiful moments.
Day Trips from Hpa-An
If you’re looking to get out of Hpa An for the day or even swing through another small, off the tourist path town, check out Mawlamyine.
About a 1.5-hour drive from Hpa-An, you’ll find Mawlamyine.
While Mawlamyine is slightly more developed that Hpa An, it see’s little tourists. The biggest draw and thing to do in Mawlamyine is visiting the biggest Reclining Buddha (Win Sein Taw Ya) in the world.
Sitting at 180 meters (590 ft) in length, it’s a whole lotta a Buddha to get into one picture!
Visit Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, The Golden Rock
Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is a bit further from Hpa An (it’s about halfway between Yangon and Hpa-An) but can easily be reached by bus.
A perfect day trip, the Golden Rock is one of the most sacred sites in Myanmar and one of the most iconic attractions. Well-known as a Buddhist pilgrimage site, the Golden Rock is a massive boulder covered with gold leaves sitting perched on a high rocky cliff.
From Hpa An, you can take a bus directly to Kyaiktiyo. It costs around 5,000 Kyats per person and takes around 6 hours.
How To Get To Hpa-An
Hpa An is a great addition to any Myanmar route and itinerary. For us, we found 2 days in Hpa-An to be perfect. You can get to Hpa An easily from Yangon, which is the closest and largest tourist city to Hpa An.
From Yangon, you can book a bus to take you the 289 km / 180 mi to Hpa An. There are several busses that leave a day from Yangon to Hpa An and one of those options is a night bus.
You can expect the ride to take 6.5 – 7 hours and cost anywhere from $9 – $13 per person.
Check out the latest bus options, pricing and time tables below.
For The Budget Conscious: For a quaint, quiet and comfortable stay, be sure to check out Soe Brother 2 Guesthouse. The staff is helpful and motorbikes are for rent to help you explore beautiful Hpa-An.
For The Luxury Inclined: If luxury is your thing, then Keinnara Hpa-An is for you. From it’s outdoor pool to its beautiful surroundings and bungalows, Keinnara is a magical place to unwind and enjoy Hpa-An.
For Something In Between: Queen Hotel Hpa-An has a bar, a shared lounge and beautiful views of a lake for it’s guests to enjoy. The staff is friendly and helpful making Queen Hotel a sure to please.
For more places to stay in Hpa-An you can check out the latest places and prices here.
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)