Mawlamyine in Myanmar

Mawlamyine (formerly Moulmein), is the fourth largest city in the heart of Lower Myanmar, 300kms southeast of Yangon and 70kms south of Thaton, at the Thanlwin river mouth. Capital of the Mon State, it was once a thriving teak port and administrative capital of British Lower Burma. Experience Myanmar’s spiritual aura at many monasteries and shrines, especially Yele Paya Buddhist shrine that offers a a vantage point over the sea at Kyaikkami. Built in 875AD, Kyaikthanlan Pagoda is the site from where Rudyard Kipling penned his famous ‘The Road to Mandalay’ poem and is Mawlamyine’s signature landmark. Thanlwin Bridge, Myanmar’s longest road and rail bridge that spans 11000ft over the Thanlwin river is another noteworthy spot.

Highlights

  • Pagodas
  • Marble Buddha Image
  • Mahamuni Paya
  • Sein Done Monastery

 Things to do

City Highlights of Mawlamyine

Visit the local market in the morning and glimpse slivers of vibrant local life in this harbor township; drive past beautiful colonial buildings, ancient mosques, Indian temples and churches; visit U Zina Pagoda, U Kanni Pagoda, Kyaut Ma Yaol (Marble Buddha Image), and Mahamuni Paya located atop a mountain with panoramic views of Mawlamyine. Visit the Sein Done Monastery, originally the residence of the Queen, where the corridors are lined with carved figures and interiors are decorated with floral designs. Visit the landmark Kyaikthanlan Pagoda.

Half Day Visit to Ogre Island – Bilu Kyun

Sounds scary? Worry not, there are no ogres. Instead you’ll discover a captivating self-sustaining island habited by Mon natives. Take a private boat along the mighty Than Lwin River to Bilu Kyun or Ogre Island. Several dozen villages dot the island, where expert craftsmen hone their ability to transform raw goods into daily necessities. Cottage workshops produce handmade smoking pipes, pens and rubber bands that are sourced from nearby plantations. Coconut fibre-mats and inspired creative cutlery, teapots small toys, walking sticks and slate are just some of the things you can watch being made. Visit one of the teakwood monasteries or meet fishermen who dive for long periods of time under water – locals say they have secret fins.

Visit to Win Sein Taw Ya – Reclining Buddha

On a 2.5 hour drive out of Mawlamyine you can see the Kyaikkami Yele Pagoda, unusual as it it built ‘in the sea’. About 30 minutess further on you will come across the Win Sein Taw Ya, the Giant Buddha of Mudon and the world’s largest reclining Buddha! 30m high and 180m long it can be viewed from great distances. Sitting across from this a huge rock formation called Kyauktalon Taung (or big stone), that houses several rooms showcasing dioramas of the teachings of Buddha, 200 images of monks collecting alms and a shrine. Although one can enjoy the novelty of walking into the giant structure, it needs to be kept in mind that this is a place of worship, and shoes must be removed before entering the shrine. If time permits, take a trip 24kms south of Kyaikkami to Setse Beach, a resort on the Gulf of Martaban in the Andaman Sea.

Visit to the ‘Death Railway’ Terminus

The Burma-Siam Railway, also known as the notorious ‘Death Railway’, lies 64kms south of Mawlamyine in Thanbyuzayat. Built by the Empire of Japan in 1943, this infamous railway once linked Thailand with Myanmar and stretched 415kms (258mi) between Bangkok, Thailand and Rangoon, Burma (today Yangon, Myanmar). Only 112kms of this line ran within Burma’s boundaries. A historical World War II site, 12,399 Allied POW’s gave their lives during its construction for the Japanese and their graves lie in the Allied War Cemetery, 1km away from the Terminus. The Death Railway Museum contains a piece of track from the original ‘death’ railway line found by a former Australian Ambassador to Myanmar. A memorial plaque and one of the original yet restored locomotives lies on the Museum grounds. You can see the famed ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ from here, immortalised by Pierre Boulle in his book and the film.

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