Use the quick links below to jump to a particular section of our sights and activities coverage for Hpa-an.
The Shweyinhmyaw Pagoda in the centre of town is Hpa-an’s most attractive and popular temple among locals and visitors alike. Constructed on rocks lapped by the waters of the Than Lwin or Salween River, the temple consists of a series of platforms connected by staircases and walkways featuring various shrines, stupas, the obligatory ancient bodhi tree and several spectacular viewing ... Read more about Shweyinhmyaw Pagoda .
Scenic Kan Thar Yar Lake lies just on the south side of Hpa-an and aside from making a convenient waypoint for a stroll around town it's a worthwhile destination in its own right. The northwestern edge of the lake abuts BEHS (School) Road and affords fine views across the tree-lined eastern section of the lake, beyond which some limestone outcrops create a photogenic backdrop. Also at this ... Read more about Kan Thar Yar Lake .
At first glance downtown Hpa-an can seem quite sedate, but wander down to the market in the morning and things get seriously ... Read more about Hpa-an morning market .
The Kayin State Cultural Museum, housed in an impressive building on Zwegabin Street, is such a well-kept secret they haven’t yet seen fit to put an English sign outside. Furthermore since the management had decided to take a full two weeks off for Burmese New Year, when we made our last visit to Hpa-an in 2016, we weren’t able to verify the contents even once we’d confirmed the ... Read more about Kayin State Cultural Museum .
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 outcrap sacred and it has become Kayin State’s symbol. Hpa-an’s football team is even called Zwegabin ... Read more about Zwegabin .
A visit to wonderful Saddar Cave is one of Kayin State’s highlights. The limestone karst scenery of Zwegabin and the numerous jagged, mountainous outcrops sprouting abruptly from the paddy surrounding Hpa-an host myriad spectacular caves. Saddar (sometimes written Saddan) involves a cave temple but also a hike through underground passages to the far side of a mountain and a return by wooden ... Read more about Saddar Cave .
Hpa-an’s Kyauk Kalat Pagoda is a stunning stupa-topped limestone pinnacle, set on a tiny isle dotted with monastic buildings itself set in a lake fluttering with white egrets and surrounded by paddy. With Mount Zwegabin as the dramatic backdrop, it’s a gorgeous ... Read more about Kyauk Kalat Pagoda .
Named after the mythical Nepalese birthplace of Buddha, though commonly known as Buddha Park, Lumbini Gardens are not really gardens as such, but are rather home to several hundred neatly aligned, seated Buddha images. Set close to Kyauk Kalat Pagoda at the foot of Zwegabin and its sheer limestone cliffs, the park is spectacular. This is also the starting point for the ascent of the 725-metre ... Read more about Lumbini Gardens .
Bayin Nyi Cave is home to an elaborate and sprawling temple, with plenty of almost Disney-esque coloured buildings laid out at the foot of sheer limestone cliffs. Hot springs and bathing pools for men and women make this another reason to stop by. The cave is located further out of town on the road to Thaton, so it isn’t on all the standard Zwegabin tours and sees fewer visitors. A car ... Read more about Bayin Nyi Cave .
One of the region’s most spectacular caves, Kawgun is found in a small limestone outcrop just over the river from Hpa-an off the Thaton Highway. Amazing Buddhist carvings and stucco work line the shallow caverns and limestone cliffs, and are said to date back as far as the seventh century. A few ancient Hindu images remain and bear witness to the area’s former religious ... Read more about Kawgun Cave .
Kaw Kathaung (or Ka Thaung) Cave is found in a limestone outcrop slightly to the north of Zwegabin. Though perhaps not as spectacular as other sites in the region, it's one of the most prestigious and popular for local tourists, so it can get rather crowded on a busy day. Kaw Kathaung is another usual stop off in any Zwegabin day tour. Various religious buildings and statues lie outside the ... Read more about Kaw Kathaung Cave .