Best Places To Visit In HPA AN - A Hidden Gem
The Land of Caves - A Hidden Treasure
To add this destination to my travel plan or not to add was a very big confusion for me. Since it is a small town and it does not really flatter you much with photos. And to tell you very frankly I did not even get to read much of the posts for this destination. But after visiting Hpa An, I realized I have made absolutely correct decision visiting it.
Hpa An is located in the South-Eastern part of Myanmar. Yangon to Hpa An takes approximately 6 hours when you travel by road which is the only available option. I had booked my bus tickets online with myanmarbusticket.com. They are absolutely trustworthy and delivers your ticket to your inbox within few hours. You can also book your bus tickets when you are n Yangon via your hostel or a travel desk in the city. Since I was not really willing to travel uncertainty and the fear of unavailability made me book all my tickets online. I left from Mingalar Bus Station in Yangon at 8:00 AM and reached my Hpa An accommodation exactly at 2:30 PM.
I stayed at Soe Brothers 2 Guesthouse. Which I thought to be the best choice in town. They only provide private rooms and not dormitories. The best part is their evening and day tours which are conducted in their guesthouse tuk-tuks and this is the fantastic way of covering everything in the town. All the best places to visit in Hpa An are in the interior parts of smaller villages and you cannot cover it on your own. If you are looking for a luxury hotel you can stay at The Glory Hotel and can still join the Soe Brothers Tour.
There were two tours available -
1. Evening Tour (2,500 MMK Per Person) which took me to Bat Cave or known as Linno Cave for locals.
2. Day Tour (5,000 MMK Per Person) which covers everything you need to see in Hpa An. In between the tour, they also bring you a lunch place along with a famous spot for a public bath where you also can enjoy swimming.
Best Places to Visit in Hpa An
1. Bat Cave / Linno Cave
- This was first and only stop for the evening tour and really a worth visit when you are in Hpa An.
- The tuk-tuk brought us from the main road and started bringing us inside on a dirt road.
- We stopped by the ticket counter and then walked for 2 minutes towards the cave.
- The cave is also a sight for one of the Buddhist temples and is situated near the river.
- The sightseeing is only open for the evening. I suggest you reach early so you can enjoy the surrounding views. One of the pagodas is situated on a higher platform for which you need to do a treacherous climb. But once you reach there, the view is beyond explanation.
- After sunset, you can come down and wait in front of the cave. They do open the gates for the cave, so you can also go inside; although you will not be able to see anything and it stinks like hell.
- Once it is dark, local people out there start banging on the plastic cans to make bats leave the cave.
- And Blimey!!! There were thousands, billions, millions, trillions of bats flying out. They were not huge bats but the number of bats was astounding. The same scenario went on for almost 15 minutes and there were still more and more bats coming out.
Timing:- 04:30 PM tp 06:30 PM
Visit Duration:- 45 Minutes
Ticket Cost:- 1000 MMK
2. Yatee Pyan Cave
- As I mentioned in the headline Hpa An is the land of caves. And the only sightseeing you will be doing here will be in caves.
- So Yatee Pyan Cave was our first stop for the day tour. It took us almost 30 minutes to reach the cave. Tuk-tuk drops you in front of the giant cave and you could see various statues of Buddha standing in a row at the entrance of the cave.
- You need to remove your shoes downstairs and climb around 20 to 30 steps to reach the entrance. As you enter the cave you only see various statues of Buddha in different Mudras (various position acquired by Buddha).
- Keep on walking and you will be amazed by one place where small rocks are formed in stacked form. It is just shocking to see and difficult to understand whether this has happened naturally or people have done that themselves. And anyhow, how do they remain in that formation.
- After climbing up the cave you reach at the other end of the cave which has an iron pathway leading to a platform which looks over the mountains and the rice fields.
Timing:- Closes before sunset
Ticket Cost:- NA
3. Kawgun Cave
- Next stop in the itinerary was the Kawgun Cave without which coming to Hpa An will have no meaning.
- One of the best cave with carved walls I have ever seen in life till now. The 7th-century cave is also listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- It is only 5 minutes driving distance from Yatee Pyan Cave. Once you get off at the entrance, you and start walking inside, you will immediately see the carved walls on the left side.
- The whole cave is full of statues of Buddha and various smaller Buddha carvings on the wall.
Visit Duration:- 30 Minutes
Ticket Cost:- 3,000 MMK
4. Kyauk Kalap
- When you search for Hpa An sights, this place is one of the must-see options and I was also waiting to be there because of its wonderful structure.
- It is a pagoda situated on a rock formation which looks like standing on a very small base and faces the famous Mount Zwegabin.
- After getting down at the parking it is a walk of 2 minutes on the bridge over the river. You need to wash your hands and feet before you enter the actual complex.
- You need climb 20 steps to reach the main temple. You are not allowed to do any photography once inside the temple.
5. Saddar Cave
- I did not really hear or read much about this cave when I was searching for Hpa An places to visit. Thankfully my tour included this and I was so happy that I could visit this place.
- Your vehicle will drop you right in front of the steps for the cave. Once you climb around 20 steps, you need to buy the ticket.
- The cave is not as fascinating as previous caves I visited, but as you walk further, you will be amazed to see a small lake behind the cave.
- There are boat rides available in this lake which take you on the other side of the cave in a traditional rowing boat. It is definitely a must have experience.
- Boat ride lasts for around 15 minutes and you are left with spreading rice fields and calm lake water around you.
- After getting off the boat, you walk another 15 minutes on the dirt road full of small stones barefoot (because you have left your shoes at the entrance) leading you to the same place where you got off from your vehicle.
Visit Duration:- 1 Hour
Ticket Cost:- 1,500 for Boat Ride
6. Kaw Ka Thaung Cave
- This was the last stop for our day tour and not that worth visiting. If you are short on time or tired of visiting caves, you can skip visiting this one.
- The amazing thing about this particular cave was the 108 standing Buddha statues one behind the other.
- They also had a boat ride for leisure in the lake in front of the cave.
Visit Duration:- 15 Minutes
At the end of my tour of Hpa An, I felt like I have absolutely correct decision about this destination. But if you are traveling with a family this can be a little hectic program, since it involved traveling by the tuk-tuk which is not that comfortable. At the end of the day, your back starts aching because the roads that are used for caves are all dirt roads.
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