Hpo Win Daung Complex

Top choice in Myanmar (Burma)

One of Monywa's biggest attractions, this rural complex of 492 buddha chambers was carved into a limestone hillside between the 14th and 18th centuries. None of the 'caves' are more than a few yards deep, and many are just big enough for a single image, but a few of the best (notably caves 478 and 480) have retained well-executed murals. Others, though, are returning to the dust from which they came, but this only adds to the sense of discovery.

The area is fairly large and there's no map, so some visitors prefer to engage an informal guide (around K5000) who is likely to be friendly but not especially informative. Without a guide, just head up and left from the starting point and don't worry, it isn't necessary to climb nearly as far up as the hilltop stupas that loom high on the ridge above. Around the complex, cheeky monkeys are all too keen to help you gain merit by donating food to them. Avoid the temptation – they can become very aggressive.

The complex is located southwest of Monywa, about a 27-mile drive if coming directly from Monywa. A taxi from Monywa is around K35,000 return.

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