The spot for hiking and caves
Hpa An (sometimes spelt Pa-An and pronounced Pah-Ann) is the capital of Karen (Kayin) State.
It is a picturesque town with a backpacker feel that sits on the eastern bank of the Thanlwin (Salween) river, about 270 kilometres east of Yangon.
The setting with surrounding caves and mountains to explore as well as the laid back atmosphere, are the highlights of the area.
What to do
Do a small hike up to Hpan Pu Mountain
Hpan Pu Mountain is the perfect way to experience Hpa-An. In this morning, take the canoe boat (500 kyats) to the other side of the Thanlyin River.
Sadan Cave – open Nov – April (dry season)
There are a number of monuments at the entrance to Sadar Cave such as a golden stupa, a reclined Buddha, gold monk statues and wall carvings. Once you have explored this area, follow the pathway deeper into the cave.
The way is lit so a torch isn’t necessary.
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.
Hike up Mount Zwekabin. This 2.5-hour hike will definitely test your skills.
Tip: leave early to watch sunrise and avoid going at 12 peak heat in the middle of the day
There are concrete stairs that zigzag steeply all the way to the summit of Mount Zwekabin. Majority of the hike is dimly lit with hanging lights and safety railings are in place where needed.
There are 2 epic viewpoints not to be missed at the top of Mount Zwegabin!
Viewpoint #1: 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 half way 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.
Viewpoint #2: The second best viewpoint is on the opposite side of the Zwekabin Mountain, only 5-minutes 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.