Mt Zwegabin

Top choice Hiking

in Hpa-an

The tallest of the limestone mountains that ring Hpa-an is Mt Zwegabin, about 7 miles south of town, which as well as being a respectable 2372ft is home to spirits and saintly souls. The two-hour hike to the summit is demanding – up many steps and with monkeys dogging your progress – but once you're at the top the rewards are plentiful.

The summit takes in staggering views, a small monastery and a stupa containing a hair of the Buddha's. If you arrive at the top before noon, you can take advantage of a complimentary lunch (rice, orange and tea) and the 11am monkey feeding – different primates, different menus.

The descent down the eastern side of the mountain takes around 1½ hours. There has been talk of constructing a cable car, but no work had commenced at research time.

You can go to the mountain on a tour from a guesthouse. Alternatively, motorcycle taxis do the return trip for K6000, while a thoun bein (motorised trishaw) is K10,000. The hike starts with a 15-minute walk through a village to the base of the mountain on the western side, past hundreds (1150, to be precise) of identical buddha statues lined up row after row.