Hpa An is a little hidden gem located east of Yangon and it’s a MUST-see destination on your Myanmar backpacking adventures!
Hpa An is not usually on everyone’s typical Myanmar route but I can’t recommend this location enough as it ended up being my favorite place to visit in Myanmar.
I have put this complete guide of the 5 Best Things To Do In Hpa An to help you plan your trip ahead of time
HOW TO GET TO HPA-AN?
The best way to get to Hpa An Myanmar is by bus.
Whether you are on a budget or not, I recommend traveling by bus throughout Myanmar. The main bus companies (JJ Express, Elite, Ok Express) are very efficient and will get you comfortably from A to B.
The cost of bus transportation between cities in Myanmar is on average around $10 to $30.
Bus duration times:
- Yangon to Hpa An – 6 hours
- Inle Lake to Hpa An– 14 hours
- Bagan to Hpa An – 13 hours
To check timetables, and ticket prices, and to book online in advance, visit the 12Go Asia website.
HOW TO GET AROUND
Rent A Scooter:
Renting a scooter in Hpa An Myanmar is very affordable and the most efficient way to get around self-guided. You will be able to rent a scooter from your accommodation for approximately 6,000 – 10,000 Kyat ($6) per day.
Taxi’s / Tuk-Tuk’s:
Taxis and tuk-tuks are other great modes of transport. Depending on where and how far you are going determines how much the cost will be. Always agree on a price with your driver first before jumping in.
MAP OF HPA AN
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5 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN HPA AN
HPAN PU HIKE
Hiking to the top of Hpan Pu Mountain (Pha Bhu Taung Pagoda) for sunset was a welcoming adventure at the beginning of my visit.
The short hike up Mount Hpan Pu is more rewarding than expected with speechless views of the incredible landscape and one of the best things to do in Hpa An!
WHERE IS HPAN PU MOUNTAIN?
Hpan Pu Mountain (Pha Bhu Taung Pagoda) is located across the Thanlyin River, northwest of the main town.
There are two ways to get over the river to hike Mt Hpan Pu which I have listed below:
If you plan on renting a motorbike during your visit to Hpa-An, you can simply drive across the bridge on road 85 and take a right-hand turn onto the road that runs parallel with the river.
There is a sandy parking lot at the base of Hpan Pu Mountain to park your motorbike and you’ll see a concrete stairway leading up the side of the mountain. The drive from Hpa-An to Hpan Pu Mountain is approximately 20-minutes.
You will be able to rent a scooter from your accommodation for approximately 6,000 – 10,000 Kyat per day.
Taking a boat across the Thanlyin River is the second option to reach Hpan Pu Mountain.
Head down to Shwe Yin Myaw Pagoda, which is a short walk from the center of town and you will be able to jump on board a local boat for 500 Kyat.
The boat will drop you off at the riverbank on the other side and it is a few hundred meters walk to the base of Hpan Pu Mountain.
Note: The boats stop running across the river at nightfall so you will need to coordinate with the boat driver if he will be able to wait for you or not to take you back across the river after hiking Mt Hpan Pu at sunset.
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WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE HPAN PU MOUNTAIN HIKE
Hiking to the top of Mount Hpan Pu for sunset on my first day in Hpa-An was one of the best experiences I had in Myanmar! The short 20-30 minute hike is steep, sweaty, and thirsty work but more than rewarding once I reached the summit!
On the trail to the top of Hpan Pu Mountain, you can expect overgrown shrubs, loose gravel, sharp rocks, and bamboo ladders, so your full attention is recommended during the hike so as to not have any slips.
At the summit of Hpan Pu Mountain is the Pha Bhu Taung Pagoda, offering 360-degree views of Hpa-An, the Thanlyin River, and distant mountain ranges!
The awe-inspiring views of the incredible landscapes in the region had me jaw-dropped and smiling from ear to ear. The fiery sunset on this day was the icing on the cake!
RELATED ARTICLE: BEST LENSES FOR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
I recommend having at least 2 liters of drinking water for the Mount Hpan Pu hike as the humidity is quite intense. Believe me, it was thirsty work getting to the summit and back.
If you are hiking Mt Hpan Pu at sunset, you may want to pack a torch or phone light to aid you on the way back down the trail as it gets dark very quickly.
Full Blog Post: Hpan Pu Hike
Hpan Pu Mountain
Sadan Cave is one of the most impressive cave systems I have ever seen. Featuring a golden stupa, a reclined Buddha, gold monk statues, wall carvings, and much more!
WHERE IS SADAN CAVE
Sadan Cave is located 30km southeast of the city center.
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WHAT TO EXPECT AT SADAN CAVE HPA AN
When I arrived at Sadan Cave I had to pay an entrance fee of 1000 Kyat before making my way down the stairs and into the cave. Shoes must also be taken off at the start and appropriate clothing is to be worn to cover your shoulders and knees.
Sadan Cave is incredibly huge inside and one of the biggest caves I have been in.
Once you have explored the first area, follow the pathway deeper into the cave. The way is lit so a torch isn’t necessary.
The Sadan Cave stretches at least 500 meters from one end to the other and the floor-to-ceiling height, in my guess, is approximately 30 meters high. Listen out for the almost deafening sounds of the thousands of hanging bats and admire the oversized stalactites throughout the Sadan Cave.
After around 15-minutes of strolling through Sadan Cave, you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel and emerge at the opposite side of the cave from which you entered. On this side of Sadar Cave is a secret lake with a dozen fishing boats and local vendors selling cold drinks and fruits.
Note: The Sadan Cave is only open during the dry season (November – April) and closed during the wet season.
Full Blog Post: Sadan Cave
TAUNG WINE MOUNTAIN
Hiking to the top of Taung Wine Mountain for sunrise was one of my ultimate favorite things to do during my stay.
If you are an adventure enthusiast like myself and looking for a bang-for-buck hike, then you can’t go past an unforgettable journey to the summit of Taung Wine Mountain!
WHERE IS TAUNG WINE MOUNTAIN
Taung Wine Mountain (Taung Wine Pagoda) is located 13km east of the city center.
HIKING TAUNG WINE MOUNTAIN
Some friends of mine recommended the Taung Wine Mountain hike prior to my arrival. They raved on how insane the views were at the summit and that the hike only took them 45-minutes from bottom to top.
I left my accommodation (Keinnara Lodge) at 4:30 am and arrived at the base of Taung Wine Mountain at 5 am to begin the 45-minute ascent to make it to the summit for sunrise.
The hike does not ease you in at all. From the get-go the stairs are steep and the humidity is intense. I broke out in a sweat from head to toe about 15-minutes into the hike and my quads were already starting to burn.
However, I was so determined to make it to the top before the sun popped up over the horizon.
I would recommend giving yourself at least one hour to hike Taung Wine Mountain, allowing for short breaks on the trail up to catch your breath and rehydrate.
I arrived at the summit of Taung Wine Mountain about 15-minutes before sunrise, so it was nice to have a breather before getting out my camera gear to get some shots.
As the sun started to rise and light up the Hpa-An region I was in complete awe of the insane panoramic views from the Taung Wine Pagoda!
The steel stairway on Taung Wine Mountain has a slight resemblance to the Stairway to Heaven stairs in Hawaii and this is the best spot to take photos.