The hardest, the longest, but the most rewarding hike in Hpa An Myanmar is the famous Mount Zwegabin hike!
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WHERE IS ZWEKABIN MOUNTAIN?
Mount Zwegabin is located 10km south-east of Hpa An city center.
HOW TO GET THERE
There are two ways to get to Mt Zwegabin which I have listed below:
If you are renting a scooter/motorbike in Hpa An, it is a short 15-minute drive from the city center to the base of Zwekabin Mountain. You will be able to rent a scooter from your accommodation for approximately 6,000 – 10,000 Kyat per day.
The second option is by taxi. If you plan to hike to the summit for sunrise, it’s best to organize a taxi the day before to pick you up from your accommodation at around 3:30 am.
The cost of a 15-minute taxi ride should be no more than 5,000 Kyat one way.
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Viewpoint at the top
An aerial perspective
I arrived at the base of the mountain at 4:30 am, parked my scooter, and paid the 4,000 Kyat entrance fee to a monk at the beginning of the hike. He wrote me a ticket and I was on my way.
There was no easing into the hike, especially at 4:30 in the morning. There are concrete stairs that zigzag steeply all the way to the summit of Mount Zwekabin.
The majority of the hike is dimly lit with hanging lights and safety railings are in place where needed. I would recommend packing a torch to aid you in the darker areas along the trail.
It took me 1 hour and 15 minutes from the bottom to reach the top. This was with around three or four short breaks to sip on some water and catch my breath.
I arrived at the summit at 5:45 am with 30-minutes to spare before sunrise. However, I would recommend allowing 2-hours for the average person to hike to the top of Zwekabin Mountain.
A memorable sunrise
There are two epic viewpoints not to be missed at the summit and they are;
When you arrive at the Mount Zwegabin Monastery (gold pagoda) take a left-hand turn down the concrete stairs towards another pagoda below, but at about halfway down there is a dirt trail leading off to the right and this will take you to a rocky hillside with insane views facing east where you’ll find the best spot to watch the sunrise. See the images above for reference!
The second best viewpoint is on the opposite side of the mountain, only a 5-minute walk from the sunrise viewpoint. Look for the toilet block on the right-hand side of the Mount Zwegabin Monastery and you can actually climb on the roof for incredible west-facing views of Hpa An. See the images below for reference!
Mount Zwegabin Monastery
Drone shot of Zwekabin Mountain
WHERE TO STAY IN HPA AN
Hpa An has dozens of accommodations to choose from, so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay in Hpa-An to suit the needs of luxury travelers, budget backpackers, and everyone in between.
See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Luxury: Keinnara Lodge Hpa An
Mid Range: Hotel United Hpa An
Budget: Galaxy Motel Hpa An
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN HPA AN, SEARCH ON AGODA OR SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM
AIRBNB HPA AN
Another option for accommodation is to stay at an Airbnb, which generally has some great deals.
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Hpa An Guide: 5 Things To Do In Hpa An
LONELY PLANET MYANMAR
One of the best books to take on your trip is the Lonely Planet Myanmar Guide!
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Thanks for reading this article and if you have any questions about hiking Mount Zwekabin, please leave me a comment below this post and I will reply as soon as I can.