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.

Many other stupas and standing buddhas dot the area, including 500 statues lining the road to the Win Sein Taw Ya. Aside from inflated buddhas, the area affords some gentle walks with wonderful panoramas.

Every year around the first couple of days of February, a festival takes place here to celebrate the birthday of the monk who constructed the buddha. As well as a host of itinerant traders, monks and nuns, magic men and the odd hermit or two, the festival sometimes hosts a major kickboxing tournament, which leads to the slightly surreal sight of hundreds of cheering monks baying for blood in the ring!

At research time, another huge reclining buddha was under construction.