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.