Updated: March 2013
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Hpa-An (pann) is a rural setting surround by small mountainous stacks reminiscent of Ha Long Bay and Ninh Binh in Vietnam. The Phan Lwin river runs alongside the town with a daily boat service travelling down to Mawlamyine which is itself a good reason to stop off here for the day. The caves can be visited independently or on an organised tour.

There isn’t really much choice for budget travellers in Hpa-An but since it’s not one of the major destinations in Myanmar and most people only stay here a day or two, it’s generally easy to get a room or at least a bed. 

Golden Sky Hotel
Address: 2 Thida Street
Prices from: Twin $25
Includes: breakfast, en-suite, AC, TV, Wi-Fi
Tel: 058 215 10 Email: Web:
For that little bit more, you get a lot more. The rooms are big and spacious. Breakfast is included and the views are amazing. The staff have limited English (they told us no Wi-Fi but their signal was strong and we were surfing whilst being shown around?). The more you pay here the better the rooms get. The view from the $35 room is amazing - right out over the river to the north and the mount. Well worth checking out.

Address: Ohn Tor St/ Piya St
Prices from:
Tel: 058 216 47 Email: Web:
More information to come soon.

Soe Brothers Guest House
Address: 2/146 Thitasar St
Prices from: Single $5-6, Double $12-20
Includes: free tea/ coffee/ drinking water, fan, shared bathroom
Tel: 058 213 72 Email: soebrothers05821372@gmail.com Web:
There are a real mixture of rooms here and it really is the only budget guest house in town. They really try and accommodate everyone and if you’re stuck for a room, then they will put a mattress out in one of the communal areas and you’ll have somewhere to sleep for just $5. Some rooms have AC and a few AC and bathrooms. Bicycles can be hired for 2,000Ks for a full day or 1,000Ks for a half day (after 1200hrs).

Tiger Hotel
Address: Myint Lay St/ Thida St
Prices from:
Tel: 058 213 92 Email: Web:
More information to come soon.

Eating and Drinking
For the size of the town, there are a good few choices though be aware that the town does start to close up early, around 10pm. The market has street snacks available in the morning and there is a mixture of small bars offering more bland Chinese food as well as local Burmese food that really is worth the try.

Khit Thit Restaurant
Address: Zaydan St
Prices from: 1,500ks
A popular little place with reasonable dishes and cold beer.

Lucky 1
Address: Zaydan St
Prices from: Sides 500Ks, Vegetable 800Ks, Meat 2,500Ks, Draught beer 600Ks
The food is a little bland but the staff are welcoming and the place is clean.

New Day Coffee Shop
Address: Bogyoke St
Prices from: 300Ks
It looks out of place and it is! Sweet and savoury snacks, good local Burmese tea and a real selection of coffee and fresh fruit drinks. Worth popping in any time of the day.

San Ma Tau Myanmar Restaurant
Address: Bogyoke St
Prices from: Sides 500Ks, Vegetarian 500Ks, Meat 1,500Ks
Has a good reputation and rightly so. Your meal comes with 10 different side dishes and a selection of local sweets for desert. If we could list a place in each town that served good Burmese food like this, then the reputation this country has for bland boring food would quickly be diminished.

Shwe Myint Mo
Address: Paya St
Prices from: Draught beer 600Ks
A story of two halves – that is there is a bar area and a restaurant. The bar has good cold beer on tap and shows Fox sports channel. The restaurant is in a different building next door and serves local dishes that are worth trying. If you want, you can try Chicken Rump/ Human nose – though I think this is supposed to be Parson’s Nose!

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You can visit the majority of the sites as a day trip with the Soe Brothers Guest House or under your own steam. As well as the sites listed under Day Tour there are one or two others that are worth the mention.

Whilst wearing shoes is not allowed in the temple areas, you can wear them once you are inside the caves themselves, so probably worth carrying them through with you. A good torch is essential.

Mount Hpar Pu
Across the river from Hpa-An, mount Hpar Pu is a worth sun-set destination. Be sure to be back in time (before dark) to catch the return ferry. Fare is 500Ks per person and runs from north of the ferry terminal.

Mount Zwegabin
It is easy to hike Mount Zwegabin in a day. But you would miss out on a sunset to end sunsets and the experience of sleeping atop a Kayin monastery. On top of Mount Zwegabin travelers are rewarded with an incredible view and a place to sleep. There is no official cost but visitors are expected to leave a donation for the monastery prior to departure. Allocate at least a 2,000 kyat for the donation. Where to eat: Atop Zwegabin travelers don’t have much of a choice: a small restaurant will make a dinner for all guests for 1,000 kyat. Getting there: Catch an 8 a.m. pickup next to the market and get off at Zwegabin junction and start walking.
Caves Day Tour
The following can be taken with Soe Brothers as a day tour starting at 0830 and finishing at 1730hrs. The price depends on the size of the group, costing just 5,000Ks for 6 people sharing (children travel free). Register at Soe Brothers in advance. We’ve listed them in the order of the tour.

Yathay Pyan Cave
A large open mouthed cave and probably the one that you’ll have seen photographs of taken from the inside to silhouette some of the statues. If you want to walk through the cave system to the other side (about 10 minutes) you’ll be greeted with a worthy view.

Kaw Goon Cave
Admission is 3,000Ks per person and they have waived the 500Ks fee for a camera. If you are on a tight budget then this may be worth missing as the cave itself can be disappointing after visiting Yathay Pyan. The local monkeys run around freely constantly beating the dogs in the begging competition!

Kyauk Kalap
How the Burmese like to balance temples on rocks! You’ll see what we mean when you get there. The area is closed from 1200-1300hrs for the monks to eat lunch.

Lonebine Garden
Well over a thousand seated Buddha’s all perfectly lined though the vegetation is running amok! This is the base to Mount Zwegabin so if you have the energy try the first few steps to get a good view.

Water Lake
A local swimming area with inflated lorry tyres for you to play on. Most people take this as a lunch stop with guests being delivered to fast-but-freshly cooked Chinese dishes. Or visit one of the spots selling local food. A great spot to refresh before continuing your trip.

Saddan Cave
One of the larger caves to visit with a lake on the opposite side offering boat rides into the external cave system (1,000Ks per boat/ 2 people). You’ll really need that torch for this one and don’t forget to carry your shoes until you are off of the temple’s tiled floor. On the way back out, see if you can spot the various religious monuments that are made up of small molded Buddha’s on the walls and ceiling of the cave. 

Kaw Ka Thawng Caves
A bit of a let down, considering this is the last cave on the trip. It looks more like the modern temples of Myanmar with flashing lights to help entertain you.

Tide can vary depending upon the season and the tide. There are generally a few toilet stops along the way. A lovely way to travel on to Mawlamyine. Ticket can be organised at the jetty or in advance with either Soe Borthers or HI FI. Soe Brothers service works in conjunction with Breeze Guest House in Mawlamyine offering a 10 seater boat (5x2 seats) for 6,000Ks (1330hrs) 4-5 hours or with HI Fi at the jetty offering a 6 seater boat (6x1 seats) for 4,000Ks (1300hrs) 3 hours.

Chaw Su Bus Office (clock tower)
Yangon 7hours (0600, 0700, 0800, 0830, 0930, 1300, 1900) 5,000Ks
Mandalay 14 hours (1800) 15,000Ks

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    Posted 3 Jul 2013, 03:14 by Elli Murr
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  • Myanmar Sidebar
    Free Shuttle Bus at Mandalay Airport
    A free shuttle bus has been introduced for AirAsia customers in Mandalay. This service provides a free bus transfer between Mandalay Airport to Mandalay Downtown and vice versa. 

    1. How much is the fare for the transfer bus? 
    It’s free for all AirAsia guest. 
    2. How do I get the free transfer? Who are entitled to the free service? 
    AirAsia guest can present their inbound boarding pass, flight itinerary and their passport. 
    Service is only available on actual date of the flight as specified on boarding pass 
    3. Where do I find the service? 
    At Mandalay Airport: Exit gate of Arrival hall 
    In Mandalay City: Street 79 near Mandalay Palace (between 26&27) 
    4. How long is the shuttle bus ride between Mandalay airport to downtown Mandalay? 
    Approximately 1 hour depending on traffic conditions.

    Posted 16 Jul 2013, 19:24 by Elli Murr
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  • Travel Guides
    Over 1,000 downloads of "A travellers Guide to Myanmar"

    We've had over 27,000 hits in just 7 months! For some, that's nothing, for the charities we support, approx. 2% of our visitors visit on.Which means all of our hard work is worth it. 

    Looks like we'll be publishing an update to "A Travellers Guide to Myanmar" in September ready for the new season. And already we have Peter and Anne from Balmain, Sydney Australia on board to give us updates for their pending trip in October.

    So we have "
    Fish out of Water" and "Powered by Noodles" and now "Cool for Cats" set to update us in Myanmar. Can you get any more up-to-date?

    Free guides and downloads.
    Posted 24 Jul 2013, 21:12 by Elli Murr
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Definition of Charity: 
"Generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy and suffering"

This is all about giving something back to the people of the countries that we've visited, to thank them for the wonderful experiences that we've had. There are no charges for receiving information on this site, because this is about sharing the latest information and not making money. You'll also note, there are no pop-ups or sponsored links to businesses. So, please take the time to look at some of the charities that we've highlighted on our charities page, and if you want to "pay" for the information you've received, then look into some of these worthy causes. Otherwise we'd gladly accept any support to help keep this site alive.

You will be directed to an Email window. 
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  • Myanmar: The true land of smiles?

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    The map for Bago follows the route described above for cycling. And now the "map man" is back from Myanmar all of our others will be updated soon.

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    Posted 23 Jul 2013, 18:21 by Elli Murr
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  • Myanmar Charities: The Leaping Lemur Group
    There are no charges for receiving information on this site, because this is about sharing the latest information and not making money. That said, please take the time to look at some of the charities that we've highlighted beneath, and if you want to "pay" for the information you've downloaded, then look into some of these worthy causes.
    Elli xx

    The Burma Children’s Fund supports orphanages and pre-schools in various parts of Burma in order to provide shelter, health care and education for orphans and children. We will only support orphanages, clinics and pre-schools for infants and younger children where we know that the staff are dedicated and that the money they receive is spent on the children and for the direct benefit of the children. Children in Burma cannot control their own destiny and this is why our goal is “To Support their Future". [more] 

    Burma Campaign UK
     works for human rights, democracy and development in Burma.Burma Campaign UK is one of the leading Burma campaign organisations in the world. We play a leading role in raising awareness about the situation in Burma, and pressuring the international community to take action in support of the people of Burma. Founded in 1991, Burma Campaign UK is one of the leading Burma campaign organisations in the world. We play a leading role in raising awareness about the situation in Burma,  and pressuring the international community to take action in support of the people of Burma. [more]

     works with marginalised urban children and youth, their families and communities to become productive, independent citizens of their country. We do this by listening to and being guided by those who matter the most to us - the children and youth we work with everyday. Friends-International has been assisting marginalized urban children and youth across the world since 1994. We now run and support projects for these children and their families in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Honduras, Mexico, Egypt and Myanmar. Friends-International and its partners reach out to over 50,000 marginalised young people -particularly street children and youth – each year. We offer a range of comprehensive services as part of our holistic approach to assisting children and their families to improve their lives. [more]
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    Posted 27 Jun 2013, 20:17 by Elli Murr
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  • A sample from our facebook page. Follow us for regular updates.

    Garden of Reflection,
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    Krabi Thailand:

    Solitude and silent reflection seems to be moving with the times

    Almost Famous,
    Pai, Thailand:

    Toilet humour, bar humour and a great quiz.
    Posted 26 Jun 2013, 21:11 by Elli Murr
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