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.

The shrine chamber beneath Yele Paya reportedly contains a buddha image that supposedly floated here on a raft from Sri Lanka in ancient times. A display of 21 Mandalay-style buddha statues sits over the spot where the Sinhalese image is buried. Note that women are not allowed into the main shrine here. One oddity here is that pilgrims standing at the water’s edge place clay pots of flowers and milk into the sea in order to ‘feed’ the spirits.

Adoniram Judson (1788–1850), an American missionary and linguist who has practically attained sainthood among Myanmar Baptists, was sailing to India with his wife when their ship was blown off course, forcing them to land at Kyaikkami. Judson stayed on and established his first mission here; the original site is now a Catholic school on a small lane off the main road.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Mawlamyine attractions

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