Hpa An is a delightful, small town in Kayin State with a population of around 40,000. Its location on the banks of the Thanlwin River, and the dramatic karst landscapes that surround the town, make it an increasingly popular venue with those wishing to see a different side of Myanmar - away from the traditional tourist routes.
Hpa An is the setting for a stunning array of karst mountains, many of which are home to a plethora of caves such as Bayint Nyi Cave, Kawgun Cave and the impressive Saddan Cave - all of which are considered holy places and as such are festooned with Buddha images and small pagodas. Other cultural sites are Lumbini Garden - home to a thousand Buddha images, the Shweyinmyaw Pagoda - which overlooks the Thanlwin River and the fantastically dramatic Kyauk Kalat - a solitary rock, in the middle of a lake, adorned by a golden stupa.
Hpa An is also a good place to visit for the active. Walking, cycling and climbing are all common pursuits in these parts and for the adventurous a climb up Mount Zwekabin makes for a fun morning or afternoon.
From Hpa An it is easy to continue your journey on to Mawlamyine either by car, which takes about an hour, or by boat which takes 4 hours on the Thanlwin River.