Hpa An was not only the first city we visited in Myanmar but also one of the absolute highlights of our trip through former Burma. Even though Hpa An is not a really touristy place yet, it is said to be an absolute insider tip. In this post, I want to show you what you shouldn’t miss in Hpa An, things to do and the top attractions in the area.
What to find out in this post
- 1 Hpa An Facts
- 2 Best time to visit Hpa An
- 3 Your first time in Myanmar?
- 4 How to get to Hpa An?
- 5 Accommodation in Hpa An
- 6 A Hpa An Sightseeing Tour
- 7 Where to book a tour around Hpa An
- 8 What does a tour around Hpa An cost?
- 9 Kaw Ka Thaung Cave
- 10 The Saddan Cave
- 11 Lumbini Gardens
- 12 Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda
- 13 Yathaypyan Cave
- 14 Bat Caves
- 15 Other sights around Hpa An
- 16 Do you want to save a lot of money while traveling Myanmar?
- 17 Never travel without travel insurance!
Hpa An Facts
- The name Hpa An is pronounced like Pa Ahn
- Capital of the Kayin State (also known as Karen Staat)
- 420.000 Inhabitants (2014)
- The biggest religion here is the Buddhism
Best time to visit Hpa An
Middle of October – February
Hot season in Hpa An
March – May
Raining season in Hpa An
June – September
Your first time in Myanmar?
You can find everything you need to know before traveling to Myanmar in my post here.
How to get to Hpa An?
From Thailand Mae Sot / Myawaddy to Hpa An
Price: ca. 270 Baht (ca. 7 € / $ 8,4)
Duration: ca. 4 hours
From Thailand, you can walk on your own to Myanmar. The border between these two countries is marked by a river. You can cross over a bridge. As soon as you have entered Myanmar, you can take a shared taxi to Hpa An. Finding a shared taxi is easy as there are many taxi drivers waiting right at the border. But you might rather want to walk a little and compare prices as in our experience, the taxis right in the beginning cost much more.
The way to Hpa An was a little shaky as many parts of the street are not paved yet. The driver played some CD on repeat until we got tired of it. (After that, we heard this music probably another 200 times throughout Myanmar)
From Yangon to Hpa An
Price: 5300 – 8000 Kyat (3,30€ – 4,95€ / $3,92 – $ 5,91)
Duration: 5-8 hours
From the former capital Yangon (Rangoon), you can reach Hpa An by bus. The ride can take a long a time depending on traffic and weather conditions. Due to the AC, it is usually pretty cold inside of the bus. So be sure to bring a jacket.
It’s recommendable to choose a night bus, as you can spend the trip sleeping and also save some money on accommodation for that night.
Accommodation in Hpa An
Our first choice fell on a motel that I don’t even remember the name of, to be honest. We just chose the cheapest place we could find. But after I got woken up at night by a rat-sized cockroach that flew into my face, I decided not to recommend this one to you anyway.
Anyway, on the other side of the street, there is the Galaxy Motel. (Click here for the latest prices, deals and, availability) We not only booked our tour with them, but also met some other travelers that were super happy with their rooms there. I think this is the best option you have in Hpa An to stay.
Even though we were not guests of this Motel, the staff was super friendly and helpful.
If you are looking for something more luxury though, you might prefer staying in the Hpa An Lodge. (Click here for the latest prices, deals and, availability) It’s located a little bit away from the city center, but that makes it also much quieter.
A Hpa An Sightseeing Tour
If you wonder what to do in Hpa an: To be honest, in the city center of Hpa An, there is not really much to see, so your Hpa An Tour to the best sights will probably be rather short.
Around a 15 minutes-walk outside of the city center, you can find the night market Hpa An. It’s nice to get some snacks and watch some rats walking around, but it’s definitely not a must-see.
The main attraction of the city center of Hpa An is the clock tower. It’s located near the bus station, so if you arrive by bus, chances are that you will already see it during your arrival.
However, what makes Hpa An so special is its beautiful surroundings. You should definitely either join a tour or book a motorcycle to get around yourself to have a look at Hpa An’s stunning nature.
Where to book a tour around Hpa An
We booked our tour with the Galaxy Motel. You can find it after a 5 minutes walk from the clock tower.
What does a tour around Hpa An cost?
If you join the tour from the Galaxi Motel during raining* season, the price is 5000 Kyat (ca. 3€ / $ 3,67) per person.
* Not sure whether they have different prices in high season
Kaw Ka Thaung Cave
Entrance fee: free
The first stop of our tour to the top things to do in Hpa An led us to the Kaw Ka Thaung Cave. This Hpa An cave itself is not really big but filled with a lot of statues.
If you want to enter, make sure to take off your shoes and socks.
After having a look at the inside of the cave, you can have a walk at the lake next to the cave. You will find many monk figures along the way.
The Saddan Cave
Entrance fee: 3000 Kyat (ca. 1,85€/ $ 2,20) for the boat (with 3 people on board)
The next stop on our tour was at one of the most popular sights of Hpa An: The Saddan Cave. The cave itself is big and dark, but the true highlight is what is waiting for you at the exit of the Saddan Cave.
But first, you have to walk through the cave to get to the exit. The roof is full of sleeping bats. So take care that none of them is peeing on you. 😉 (Might sound like a joke now, but in another place in Myanmar one of the bats decided to pee right when I looked up to the roof, so the pee fell right into my eye. Bah!)
Most part of the cave is illuminated, but for the dark parts, a phone flashlight is completely enough.
At the exit, a wonderful view of the lake, that is surrounding the Saddan cave, is waiting for you. From here, you can take a little boat back to the entrance.
The boat ride is absolutely worth it! You have a wonderful vista on the lake and its stunning nature. Moreover, you will be driving under the rock face. So better duck your head!
Entrance fee: free
The Lumbini Gardens are a field full of amazing Buddha statues. Here, you can walk between the statues and enjoy the nice view. At the end of the field, you might wanna have a little break to buy some ice cream.
After walking through the statues, you will find a lift, similar to a ski lift, in which you can have a little ride around the area. Even though it doesn’t say anything about a price, they will charge you 1000 Kyat (ca. 0,62 € / $ 0,73) as soon as you are leaving the lift.
This lift mainly gets used by local tourists. And they will most probably find you really interesting. We had to do a 10-minutes break for photos until each of the locals had a picture with each of us foreigners.
Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda
Entrance: Donation of choice
The Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda is another highlight of the tour through the surroundings of Hpa An. Already from far, you can see the golden pagoda on top of this big rock.
You can walk up by taking many steps. But it sounds more exhausting than it actually is. When you get up, you will get rewarded with an amazing view of the stunning nature. Especially, if on one side of the rock the black clouds are already covering the sky while on the other site it is still sunny. But just have a look at it yourself…
If you want to go up, you have to leave a little donation for the monks. In return, you will get an orange bracelet knotted around your wrist. If you leave it on until it falls off by itself, it’s said to bring luck. (For me, it fell off the same day, for Eduardo it held at least 3 days)
Entrance fee: 1000 Kyat (ca. 0,62 € / $ 0,73)
Just for this amazing view, a visit to the Yathaypyan Cave is worth it.
You can see far over the nature of Hpa An and enjoy this magnificent view.
After enjoying the beautiful view, you can enter the Cave and you will find many Buddha statues.
The inside of the cave is not really different to other caves in Myanmar, to be honest. But also here, you will find a little surprise at the exit of the cave.
A little bridge from which you can get another amazing view of this stunning Burmese nature.
The last stop on our tour through Hpa An were the Bat Caves. As you might have already guessed by its name, it is a cave full of bats. Punctually for sunset, the bats will leave their cave in order to find food during the night. The spectacular thing about that, is that they will come out of their cave altogether. Thus, you can see hundreds of bats flying out of it at once.
Anyway, taking pictures of those small animals with that few illumination can get pretty difficult.
Other sights around Hpa An
The 722-meter (2368,77 ft) tall mountain in the near of Hpa An is a must for all hobby climbers. Going uphill might take you around 2 hours, which can get quite exhausting due to the heat of Myanmar.
Before, you could overnight in the monastery, which is located on the mountaintop. Today, it’s not permitted anymore.
Entrance fee: 3000 Kyat (ca. 1,85 € / $2,22)
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time on our tour anymore to visit the Kawfun Cave. However, it was highly recommended by other travelers we met on our way.
Do you want to save a lot of money while traveling Myanmar?
Probably, you will like my Myanmar on a Budget Post. In this post, you will also learn how we managed to just spend 400 €/ $483,59 for 28 days in Myanmar.
Never travel without travel insurance!
Always get a travel insurance when traveling. You can read about our Myanmar Hospital Horror Story here.
You can get your price and information about the popular World Nomdads insurance by entering your travel dates and destination.