Photo: Yellow light over the waters.

Things to see and do

Use the quick links below to jump to a particular section of our sights and activities coverage for Mawlamyine.


Mahamuni Paya

The northernmost of the string of five hilltop pagodas overlooking the centre of town, Mahamuni Pagoda is the largest and most prestigious. Though undoubtedly a sacred site for some time, most of the Mon-style temple complex you see today dates from the early 20th century, including the replica of the famous Buddha image in the Mandalay pagoda of the same name. This is an attractive ... Read more about Mahamuni Paya .

Kyaik Than Lan Paya

Kyaik Than Lan lays claim to the town's largest stupa and of course this is the famous Kipling temple. A short walk south from Mahamuni Paya, Kyaik Than Lan isn't quite as large a complex as the former but does still have plenty of gold leaf. It was here that Rudyard is supposed to have written his famous Lookin' lazy at the sea line. His mind does seem to have been on other views too since he ... Read more about Kyaik Than Lan Paya .

Uzina Paya

On another rise south of the town centre is the hilltop pagoda, Uzina. This is another attractively laid out temple surrounding a giant gold-leaf clad stupa and reclining Buddha image, with more sweeping views across the bay to Bilu Island. The stupa has connecting west, south and north shrines (east is the main entrance). Have a peek at the kitsch ‘disco Buddhas’ in the northern one. ... Read more about Uzina Paya .

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Meander through Mawlamyine's markets for a taste of local life early in the day. The Central Market and adjacent New Market form an extensive commercial area towards the north end of the Strand and is best for early risers, while lazy bones can head to the afternoon wet market instead. Central Market and New Market are particularly hectic early in the day when street stalls overflow onto Lower ... Read more about Markets .

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Boat trips

River cruises

While formerly restricted to trying to locate the daily public boat or wandering down to the jetty and negotiating with a boatman, organised boat cruises up the Than Lwin River are now an increasingly advertised option in Mawlamyine. Since we were travelling all the way up river to Hpa-An anyway we didn’t actually try this trip ourselves but the boat looked fine, rates were extremely ... Read more about River cruises .

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National Museum, Mon State (Mon Cultural Museum)
Cnr Baho St and Dawei Tadar Rd, Mawlamyine

If dimly lit, dusty collections of moderately interesting artefacts with little or no English explanations is your cup of tea then you'll like Mawlamyine's Mon Cultural Museum. It's a shame really as the subject matter is fascinating and they do have a fair collection. But in lieu of a make-over, we have to say that Dawei’s new and well laid out Cultural Museum is much better if you’re ... Read more about National Museum, Mon State (Mon Cultural Museum) .

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General activities

Shampoo Island (Gaung Se Kyun)

The name’s intriguing and the tale’s fun but the visit doesn’t really live up to it. If you fancy a quick boat trip on the Than Lwin RIver, fair enough -- and the views of what purports to be the longest road bridge in Burma (Myanmar) are cool – but the tiny island itself is pleasant rather than spectacular. There’s an eclectic collection of shrines and stupas but the main feature, ... Read more about Shampoo Island (Gaung Se Kyun) .

Bilu Island
Across the water from Mawlamyine

If you’re “Lookin’ lazy at the sea” from Mawlamyine, then you’re looking at the point where the mighty Than Lwin merges into the island-studded Gulf of Martaban. The large, relatively flat island you see directly opposite and west of town is picturesque and fascinating Bilu Kyun (Bilu ... Read more about Bilu Island .

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Hiking, walking tours and itineraries

A walking tour to Mawlamyine's places of worship

Starting from Mahamuni, a winding and up and down road links all the major, plus several minor, hilltop pagodas together, making for a great late afternoon stroll. A short walk separates the most northerly temple of Mahamunifrom Kyaik Than Lan, immediately south of which is the elaborate Yadanar Bon Myint monastery. This complex was built in the mid-19th century and funded by Queen Sein Don, ... Read more about A walking tour to Mawlamyine's places of worship .

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Day trips

Win Sein Taw Ya Giant Buddha
Near Mudon, 24 km south of Mawlamyine.

Win Sein Taw Ya is not just any giant reclining Buddha image, but apparently the world’s largest freestanding one. The awe-inspiring 180-metre Buddha statue is situated some 20 kilometres south of Mawlamyine amid a sprawling complex of shrines, statues, stupas and monastic ... Read more about Win Sein Taw Ya Giant Buddha .

Kyauktalon Taung Pagoda
A few kilometres south of Win Sein

A few kilometres south of Win Sein you'll see a sheer limestone outcrop just to the west of the highway. At the summit is a pagoda with several smaller shrines and caves lining the steep 20-minute climb to the top. The route is mostly concrete steps and if you’ve the energy to get to the summit the views over the surrounding countryside are stupendous. You can't miss the dramatic crag amid ... Read more about Kyauktalon Taung Pagoda .

Setse Beach
20km southeast of Thanbyuzayat

Setse is Mawlamyine’s prime beach destination. Until recently, its kilometres of casuarina-backed golden sands were very much a local domain only. But now, with accommodation for foreigners available, curious tourists and public transport allowing access, Setse Beach makes for a great little diversion from Mawlamyine’s historical and cultural ... Read more about Setse Beach .

60 km south of Mawlamyine

The lively little commercial centre and transport hub of Thanbyuzayat lies around 60 kilometres south of the capital Mawlamyine, and a roughly equivalent distance north of the state’s second town, Ye. ... Read more about Thanbyuzayat .

The Death Railway Museum
Ye Road, near the main roundabout, Thanbyuzayat

Thanbyuzayat was the terminus of the infamous Death Railway built using forced labour overseen by the Japanese army during World War II. A modest museum, newly opened in early 2016, commemorates this for the first ... Read more about The Death Railway Museum .


The small town of Mudon marks the half-way mark between Mawlamyine and Thanbyuzayat. It's the closest town to spectacular Win Sein Taw Ya but it makes a fine stop in its own right. The traditional market is colourful and lively plus there’s a good scattering of tea shops and curry houses. The giant Buddha, lunch and a wander around the market with a visit to the Kyauktalon Taung Pagoda on ... Read more about Mudon .

Kyaikkami and Yele Pagoda
10 km from Thanbyuzayat

One day when there’s a souvenir shop in Mawlamyine high street selling Mon handicrafts, maps and postcards, Yele Pagoda will feature heavily among the tourist cliches. The red-roofed, gleaming white and ochre monastery jutting into the sometimes turquoise, sometimes murky brown waters of the Bay of Bengal is one of Mon State’s most iconic ... Read more about Kyaikkami and Yele Pagoda .

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Where to next?

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

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