Mawlamyine is one of those places which makes you realize that if you really want to experience one country’s culture, you have to get off the beaten path. This city is unlike any other city we’ve visited in Myanmar and we’ve been to a few (Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake and Hpa An). There are almost no tourists, the locals are extremely kind and helpful and the local life unfolds right in front of your eyes.
Mawlamyine is definitely one of Myanmar’s hidden gems. Home to the world’s biggest reclining Buddha, countless stunning temples, and delicious food, this city is a delight to visit. I will tell you only one thing: you should visit it before it becomes popular.
We visited Mawlamyine as a day trip from Hpa An and loved it. In this article I will share with you the top things to do in Mawlamyine, how to get there and tips & tricks about the best accommodation in the city.
Are you planning to backpack Myanmar? Check out this complete guide about budget, must see destinations and more.
Things to do in Mawlamyine
1. Kyeik Than Lan Pagoda
One of the top attractions in Mawlamyine is the Kyeik Than Lan Pagoda. Apart from its beautiful architecture and impressive golden stupa, this pagoda offers some of the most incredible views over the city. If you are looking for the best sunset spot in Mawlamyine, this pagoda is the answer.
To check out the differences between temples, pagodas and stupas, click here.
2. Take a day trip to Hpa An
Just two hours away by bus, Hpa An has some of the most breathtaking views in the entire Myanmar. With endless rice fields, tall limestone mountains, incredible temples and wonderful caves, Hpa An is an emerging tourist destination.
Rent a tuk tuk for one day and explore all it has to offer. Fore more details about Hpa An and the must see attractions, click here.
3. Visit the biggest reclining Buddha in the world – Win Sein Monastery
A short tuk tuk ride from Mawlamyine is one of the most impressive sights in the entire country – the huge (180 meter long) reclining Buddha at Win Sein Monastery. On the way to the statue, you will see hundreds of stone monks walking towards it. Also, there are other stupas, temples and statues around that are worth exploring if you have enough time.
This incredible Buddha statue is definitely one of the must visit places in Mawlamyine and you should definitely add it to your Myanmar itinerary.
Check out my full guide about Win Sein Taw Ya (how to get there, things to see)
4. Mahamyatmuni Pagoda
Overlooking the center of the town, Mahamyatmuni Pagoda is situated right near Kyeik Than Lan Pagoda and is a must see in Mawlamyine. A visit to this pagoda is the perfect way to explore more the Burmese culture.
Don’t forget that when visiting temples in Myanmar, you will have to dress conservatively. For more details about what to wear, click here.
5. Visit a local market
I recommend visiting the Myo Ma Night Market. Here you will find countless shops selling traditional food, Indian food or snacks. A visit to this night market will be a treat for all senses.
6. Take a walk on Phettan Street
This street offers some of the best views towards the river. Take a walk on Phettan Street at sunset and enjoy the views and the nearby pagodas.
To find this street, you will have to search for it on the Maps.me app. It’s not listed on Google Maps.
7. Visit the Mon Cultural Museum
The Mon Cultural Museum in Mawlamyine is a great way to find out more about the Mon people. The museum has a wide collection of musical instruments, silverware, figurines and coins. The entrance fee to the museum is $2 per person.
8. Try the local food
One of the most famous dishes in Mawlamyine is the Thingyan Wax Rice. Before eating it, you will have to pour wax-smoked water over your rice and then add ice to it. As a side dish, you can eat the rice with mango – perfect to cool off during the summer.
If you are looking for more traditional dishes, you should try the Burmese curry. Absolutely delicious!
9. Go to Setse Beach
Located 80 kilometers south of Mawlamyine, the Setse Beach is the perfect day trip if you want to relax and unwind. Explore this brown-sand beach and enjoy the silence. You can get to Setse Beach by private taxi (50,000 Kyats) or public transportation.
10. Watch the sunset over the Strand Road
Overlooking the Salween River, the Strand Road is the perfect place to watch the sunset. The Strand Road is also a popular place for locals to hang out so don’t miss it! A walk along this street is the perfect way to observe the local life while enjoying the views.
How to get to Mawlamyine
You can get to Mawlamyine by bus from Yangon or Hpa An. From Yangon it will cost you around 14,000 Kyat while from Hp An the bus only costs 1,200 Kyat.
Good to know: the buses from Hpa An depart from the Clock Tower and they are not exactly the newest buses around. Don’t expect a comfortable ride (the bus ride only takes one and a half – two hours).
Where to stay in Mawlamyine
One of the best hotels in town is the Royal Hinthar Hotel. With excellent reviews and a beautiful pool, this hotel is a great, budget friendly choice. To search for other hotels and check their availability, click here.
To check out more tips & tricks about planning your trip to Myanmar, check out the Lonely Planet guide.
May the travel bug bite you!
More about Myanmar:
- The most beautiful temples around Myanmar – click here
- The ultimate guide to Inle Lake – click here
- The most beautiful temples in Bagan – click here
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