Must see attractions in Mawlamyine

  • Top ChoiceSights in Mawlamyine

    Mahamuni (Bahaman) Paya

    Directly north of Kyaikthanlan Paya and linked by a covered walkway, this is the largest temple complex in Mawlamyine and easily the most beautiful. It’s built in the typical Mon style with covered brick walkways linking various shrines. The highlight is the Bahaman Paya itself, a gorgeous chamber shimmering with mirrors, rubies and diamonds, and containing a century-old replica of its namesake in Mandalay.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Mawlamyine

    Kyaikthanlan Paya

    Rudyard Kipling’s visit to Myanmar spanned just three days, but it resulted in a poem, 'Mandalay', that turned Burma into an oriental fantasy. It began with the lines ‘By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin’ lazy at the sea…’. The pagoda Kipling cited was most likely Kyaikthanlan Paya, the city’s tallest stupa. It's a great sunset-viewing spot, with fine vistas over the city. To reach it, approach via the long covered walkway that extends from Kyaik Than Lan Phayar St.

  • Sights in Mawlamyine

    Bilu Kyun

    Bilu Kyun (Ogre Island) isn’t a hideaway for nasty monsters. Rather, it’s a beautiful island directly west of Mawlamyine. Roughly the size of Singapore, Bilu Kyun comprises 78 villages that are home to more than 200,000 people. It's a green, fecund place, with palm-studded rice fields and fruit plantations, and it has the vibe of a tropical island, only without the beaches. A bridge now links Bilu Kyun to the mainland, allowing travellers to drive there themselves.

  • Sights in Mawlamyine

    Nwa-la-bo Pagoda

    A local pilgrimage site, Nwa-la-bo is still relatively unknown outside Mon State and few foreigners make it out here. This is surprising because the pagoda is a smaller but, geologically at least, far more astonishing version of Kyaiktiyo. Unlike at that shrine, where just one huge boulder perches on the cliff ledge, Nwa-la-bo consists of three sausage-shaped gold boulders piled precariously atop one another and surmounted by a stupa.

  • Sights in Mawlamyine

    Win Sein Taw Ya

    If you thought you’d seen some big old buddhas, just wait till you get a load of this one. Draped across a couple of green hillsides at Yadana Taung, around 15 miles southwest of Mawlamyine, and surrounded by a forest of other pagodas and shrines, is this 560ft-long reclining buddha. It’s easily one of the largest such images in the world.

  • Sights in Mawlamyine

    Kyaikmaraw Paya

    The small town of Kyaikmaraw (က်ိဳက္မေရာ), 15 miles southeast of Mawlamyine, is the site of Kyaikmaraw Paya, a temple of serene, white-faced buddhas built by Queen Shin Saw Pu in 1455. Among the temple’s many outstanding features are multicoloured glass windows set in the outside walls, an inner colonnade decorated in mirrored tiles, and beautiful ceramic tile floors.

  • Sights in Mawlamyine

    Mon Cultural Museum

    Unlike most of Myanmar's regional museums, Mawlamyine's is actually worth a visit, even if the collection isn't huge. It's dedicated to the Mon history of the region, and the exhibits include stelae with Mon inscriptions, 100-year-old wooden sculptures depicting old age and sickness (used as dhamma -teaching devices in monasteries), ceramics, silver betel boxes, royal funerary urns and Mon musical instruments, with most exhibits accompanied by English-language descriptions.

  • Sights in Mawlamyine

    First Baptist Church

    Founded by American Adoniram Judson in 1827, this was the country's first Baptist church. In addition to this place of worship, Judson's legacy also includes being the first person to translate the Bible into Burmese. As a result of his work, today Myanmar has the third-highest population of Baptists in the world, after the USA and India.

  • Sights in Mawlamyine

    Pa-Auk-Taw-Ya Monastery

    Only 8.5 miles south of Mawlamyine, the monastery teaches satipatthana vipassana (insight-awareness meditation) and, at 500 acres, is one of the largest meditation centres in Myanmar. Foreigners can visit for the night or several days; sleeping and eating is free but you're up at 3am every day.

  • Sights in Mawlamyine

    Aung Theikdi Zedi

    This silver- and gold-plated pagoda overlooks Mawlamyine.

  • Sights in Mawlamyine

    Kyaikkami

    Located 15 miles northwest of Thanbyuzayat, Kyaikkami was a small coastal resort and missionary centre known as Amherst during the British era. The town is an atmospheric seaside destination, although you’ll probably not do any swimming at the rocky and rather muddy beach. Instead, the main focus is Yele Paya (ေရလယ္ဘုရား), a metal-roofed Buddhist shrine complex perched over the sea and said to house 11 Buddha hair relics.

  • Sights in Mawlamyine

    Thanbyuzayat

    Thanbyuzayat, 40 miles south of Mawlamyine, was the western terminus of the infamous Burma–Siam Railway, dubbed the ‘Death Railway’ by the thousands of Allied prisoners of war (POWs) and Asian labourers who were forced by the Japanese military to build it. Half a mile west of town lies the Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery, containing 3771 graves of Allied POWs who died building the railway.

  • Sights in Mawlamyine

    Gaungse Kyun (Shampoo Island)

    This picturesque little isle just off Mawlamyine’s northern end is so named because, during the Ava period, the yearly royal hair-washing ceremony customarily used water taken from a spring on the island. Tranquility rather than sights is the reason for venturing out here. You can hire a boat (K3000 return) here from the pier at the northern end of town.

  • Sights in Mawlamyine

    Setse Beach

    With much better beaches further south now open, few foreigners make it to Setse these days. Around 50 miles southwest of Mawlamyine, Setse is a wide, brown-sand strip lined with waving casuarina trees. It's a very Burmese beach experience here – rubber rings for hire, tricycles to be ridden along the beach and most people swimming fully clothed. At low tide you can walk along the beach to the small temple on the rocks at the northern end.

  • Sights in Mawlamyine

    Death Railway Museum

    This modest museum in Thanbyuzayat is located at the actual western terminus of WWII's infamous 'Death Railway', which connected Myanmar to Thailand and was built under appalling conditions by Asian labourers and Japanese-held Allied prisoners of war (POWs). A short stretch of railway track and a Japanese WWII-era locomotive lead to the museum, which has a collection of photos and a dramatic 3D painting depicting a scene from the railway's route but little else on display.

  • Sights in Mawlamyine

    U Zina Paya

    On the southern spur of the ridge overlooking Mawlamyine, this pagoda was named after a former monk who dreamed of finding gems here, then dug them up and used the proceeds to build a temple on the same site. One of the shrine buildings contains a curvy, sensual-looking reclining buddha. There are also statues depicting Gautama Buddha’s meeting with a sick man, an old man, a dead man and an ascetic – encounters that encouraged him to seek the meaning behind human suffering.

  • Sights in Mawlamyine

    Kandawgyi

    This lake formed by Azin Dam (a water storage and flood-control facility that’s also used to irrigate local rubber plantations) also boasts a tidy recreation area and is a favourite picnic spot with locals. Don’t miss the tasty buthi kyaw (deep-fried gourd) sold here. At the northern end of the lake stands the gilded stupa of Kandawgyi Paya. The lake is around 18.5 miles southeast of Mawlamyine.

  • Sights in Mawlamyine

    Kha-Yon Caves

    Spirited away in the back of the little-known, dark and dank Kha-Yon Caves are rows of ghostly buddha statues and wall paintings that come lurching out of the dark as the light from a torch catches them. Close by is another, smaller, cave system with an open cavern and a small cave-dwelling stupa. Bring a torch or buy candles from the stall near the entrance. The caves are northeast of Mawlamyine, 30 minutes by bus along the road to Hpa-an.

  • Sights in Mawlamyine

    Kyauktalon Taung

    Kyauktalon Taung is a strangely shaped, sheer-sided crag rising out of the surrounding agricultural land and crowned with stupas. It’s a sticky 20-minute climb to the summit. On the opposite side of the road is a similar but smaller outcropping surmounted by a Hindu temple. Kyauktalon Taung is around 40 minutes' drive south of Mawlamyine, on the road to Thanbyuzayat.

  • Sights in Mawlamyine

    Seindon Mibaya Kyaung

    This rickety and dilapidated 100-year-old wooden monastery is famed for being the place where King Mindon's Mon queen, Seindon, sought refuge after Myanmar’s last monarch, King Thibaw, took power. It's now manned by a skeleton crew of five monks.