Photo: Gorgeous Zwegabin.


Our rating:

The massive and dramatic limestone outcrop known as Zwegabin dominates the landscape around Hpa-an. At some 725 metres, this is the highest and largest of the myriad jagged karst formations that jut abruptly out of the otherwise pancake flat paddy-fields here. The Karen consider the outcrop sacred and it has become Kayin State’s symbol. Hpa-an’s football team is even called Zwegabin United.

Travel better, travel smarter

Save money, receive our latest updates and get the most out of your travels.


Zwegabin is the area’s main tourist draw. Apart from actually scaling the mountain itself you can visit numerous caves, temples and sites that dot the foot of its sheer limestone cliffs. The entire region was once a shallow, tropical sea, where shells and coral hardened over millions of years to form limestone deposits and where surrounding softer strata have since been eroded, leaving these spectacular features rising out of and dominating the plains. Aeons of rain and underground watercourses carved the caverns, tunnels and chambers you see today.

Beautiful Zwegabin seen from Kyauk Kalat. Photo taken in or around Zwegabin, Hpa-an, Burma_myanmar by Mark Ord.

Beautiful Zwegabin seen from Kyauk Kalat. Photo: Mark Ord

As is true of many Buddhist areas (though of course these days many Burmese Karen are Christian), any cave worth its name is worth a temple conversion. The most famous in Zwegabin are Saddar and Kaw Kathawng, with the former lying at the far southeastern end of the massif and the latter northwest, closer to town. Saddar is a walk-through cavern with pool and boat trip awaiting on the far side to take you back to the entrance, while Kaw Kathawng comprises a series of shallower cave temples.

Other notable karst formations include the spectacular limestone, stupa-topped pinnacle of Kyauk Kalat. This picturesque and much photographed temple lies on a small man-made island in a scenic pool, with the Zwegabin cliffs providing a backdrop. Kyauk Kalat is on the western side of the massif and is conveniently located between Saddar and Kaw Kathawng, close to popular Lumbini Gardens or ... Travelfish members only (Around 600 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

Don’t miss the boat!

Please subscribe to to read the rest of this article, or log in here.

Subscribing to Travelfish costs A$35 per year and it gets you access to more than 200 downloadable guides to specific destinations, fabulous discount coupons and 50% off our personalised travel planning service. Sign up here.


Location map for Zwegabin

Popular attractions in Hpa-an

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Hpa-an.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Hpa-an.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Hpa-an.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Hpa-an.
 Read up on how to get to Hpa-an.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Hpa-an? Please read this.
 Browse the web securely while travelling with TunnelBear. Try with a 7–day free trial.

See below for more sights and activities in Hpa-an that are listed on

Top of page

Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Hpa-an? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Burma_myanmar.

Top of page