Mawlamyine is the capital of Mon State, and the fourth largest town in Myanmar. It rose to prominence as the first capital of British Burma between 1826 and 1852, a time when it was called Moulmein and was at certain moments home to Messrs Orwell and Kipling, both of whom waxed lyrical about its natural, and man-made, beauty.
Today this scenic riverside town is a bustling port, and thriving commercial centre, providing a trading gateway between the south and the north of Myanmar. Nowhere is this more evident that on the banks of the Thanlwin River, where an endless stream of shipments arrive each morning, and in its frenetic central market.
This commercial activity belies a quieter, more atmospheric side to Mawlamyine which can be seen in a number of beautiful, historic buildings that line its streets and the array of pagodas that dot the hills overlooking the town, and which form a glittering backdrop to welcome visitors.
Apart from the town itself other attractions around Mawlamyine are nearby Bilu Island, which is an interesting island home to a number of villages dedicated to cottage industries such as hat, pipe and elastic band making. Further south there is the country's largest reclining Buddha and a section of the Death Railway close to Htaukkyant War Cemetery.