Standing proud in the middle of a small, artificial lake is Kyauk Kalap, a tall finger of sheer rock atop which is one of the more unusual pagodas in Myanmar. The rock offers great views of the surrounding countryside and nearby Mt Zwegabin, and is allegedly the best place to see the sunset over this mountain.

A round trip by motorcycle taxi from Hpa-an will cost K7000, or K10,000 by thoun bein.

The compound is a working monastery and is closed daily from noon to 1pm to allow the monks to meditate. At the time of research, new buildings around the lake were under construction.

The monastery is also where the highly respected monk U Winaya, whose solid support of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is well known in Myanmar, first resided. U Winaya passed away several years ago and his body was entombed in a glass case at Thamanyat Kyaung, another monastery about 25 miles southeast of Hpa-an. One night in April 2008, the monk’s body was stolen (allegedly by soldiers) and has never been recovered.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby attractions

1. Kawgun Cave & Yathaypyan Cave

3.64 MILES

The 7th-century artwork of the Kawgun Cave consists of thousands of tiny clay buddhas and carvings plastered all over the walls and roof of this open…

2. Kaw Ka Thawng Cave


This area actually consists of three caves, only two of which are generally open to the public.

3. Clock Tower

4.88 MILES

Now digitised, but not always working, Hpa-an's clock tower is lit up at night like a gaudy lollipop.

5. Mosque

5.06 MILES

The main mosque in Hpa-an.

6. Market

5.06 MILES

Hpa-an's vibrant market is good for a wander and a chat with the locals.

7. Monastery

5.07 MILES

Monastery in the west of Hpa-an, close to the river.

8. Shweyinhmyaw Paya

5.24 MILES

Close to the waterfront, this golden pagoda is a popular hang-out around sunset, as well as an easy place to watch the world go by during the day.