Mawlamyine wasn’t on our list as a city we really wanted to visit. We read about a scenic boatride from here to Hpa-An, and that is why we came here. Now, we are glad we did. The city itself isn’t that much special. In former times it was the capital of British Lower Burma, now it’s more of a sleeping town. But it does have some attractive sites to offer!
From Kin Pun || The Golden Rock we arranged a bus to Mawlamyine. Our bus left at 11.40 am which is great because this way we could check The Golden Rock in the morning and then head to Mawlamyine in the same day. The bus costed us 8.000 Kyat per p.p. We had a bustransfer at Kyaiktho (our bustransfer took 1 hour) from where we headed to Mawlamyine. This 150 km trough the dotted with golden pagoda hills, took us around 4 hours. The bus dropped us at the Mawlamyine High Bus Station. From there, for the remaining 3 km, we took a tuktuk (3.000 Kyat) to the Breeze Guesthouse.
When you leave the guesthouse and go left, go left again at the T junction at River View and walk for about 500 meters, you’ll find a little street restaurant (not the shops where they also sell food, but a bit further). You can choose between rice and noodles and you won’t leave this place hungry. The taste is really good and so is the price. For only 1.500 Kyat p.p. we had a mountain of noodles on our plates that was impossible to finish. But so good! We came here twice and loved the man. He didn't even want to take our tip but was happy with the happy faces and the thumbs up we gave him during eating.
We thought it could not get any worse than the room we had in Kin Pun. We were wrong. But it’s our own fault because we were cheap. We stayed at Breeze Guesthouse. That sounds fresh and clean, but it wasn’t. At least, not our room which was the cheapest room. We paid the ridiculous price of 14.000 Kyat for a room where hardly 2 beds could be fitted in. The walls are paper thin and we would probably been more comfortable sleeping on the floor. The breakfast however was ok, the men working here are really nice and charming and the location is pretty nice. They are building some new rooms, and they look a bit more promising.
Our initial plan was to stay one night after arrival and take the scenic boatride to Hpa-An the next morning. We thought they where joking at the guesthouse when saying the price would be a crazy 60.000 Kyat for one boat. We read about a cheaper company, that goes daily and only costs 8.000 Kyat p.p., no matter how many people they have for one boat. Unfortunately that company doesn’t exist anymore, so we decided to spent an extra day in Mawlamyine and hope that some people would arrive who want to do the boat trip as well and we could share the costs. At high season it will be easier to get some people with you, because then there wil be going at least 3 boats a day we have been told.
We rented a motorbike for the day for 10.000 Kyat and started to explore Mawlamyine. And there are some really nice things to see here. We already pinned some things on maps.me (which is awesome, download it now!) and started off with a spectacular viewpoint named Kyauktalon Taung Pagoda. You will find this viewpoint a couple of kilometers before the turn to the Big Reclining Buddha, you will drive in between 2 big rocks with pagoda’s on top. It’s the one on your right hand side. It is a bit of a climb up there (500 steps), but the reward is worth it. And the best thing is, besides the free entrance there was nobody there. It didn’t feel like a lot of people come up here anyway.
Second stop was the biggest reclining Buddha called Win Sein Taw Ya. An enormous construction, that wasn’t even finished but they already had to start restoring it.. And they started building another one opposite to the existing one. You can go inside the existing one, and that is a bit strange. There are 4 floors and on every floor they created little spaces where they show specific happenings that sometimes look a bit like horrific stories. Not really a happy place but interesting to see.
The 3rd stop was the Kyike Mayaw, which was not really special. And the 4th pagoda was Kyike Thanlan. This is one of the big Pagoda’s in the city from were you have a view over the city towards the sea. The pagoda itself is not that interesting.
After that, we just drove around a bit, passing the big market and following the river back to the guesthouse, this trip took around 4 hours.