Karen and Mon state

Kyaikhtiyo pagoda

Kyaikhtiyo pagoda is located in the small town called Kyaikhto, in the Mon State. This destination is 175km away from Yangon. The pagoda is 1090m above sea-level. It is a 11 kilometer uphill climb for the hikers from Kinpun base camp. Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda known as the Golden Rock was consecrated in 574 B.C. The Kyaikhtiyo pagoda stands on a huge boulder which itself rests on a projecting rock, separated from the rest of the hill by a chasm. The boulder stands on the extreme verge of the bare rock, and hangs over it as if a slight push would make it topple down away into the valley below.

The view from the pagoda is superb, bounded on the east by the blue mountain and hills, fading away into the dim peaks of Thailand, and extending southwards over jungle and paddy land to the Sittaung delta.

They cover the pagoda with flowers and small light candles, making it looks like a new nebulous constellation from the far-off plains. The small stupa, Kyaikhtiyo is nearly 5.5 meters high.

It is of celebrity and attracts crowds of worshippers annually beginning from October to March which is the seasonal pilgrimage period for worshippers Especially on the full moon day of Thidingyut and Tabaung month, the platform of the pagoda is lighted with ninety thousand candles offered to the Buddha and thousands of worshippers gather around the pagoda offering fruits, foods incense to the Buddha.

Pha-an

Pha-an is a capital of Kayin State 280 km by road from Yangon across Thanlwin River. Pha-an is small town but busy trading center. Most of people are Kayin. It’s a reasonably quiet town, with no high-rise buildings and not much traffic. It has a rural feel as ox carts and trucks laden with vegetables mix with an assortment of other vehicles of all ages and states of dilapidation. Pha-an’s busiest place is around the market. There are mosques, churches, chedi, and Chinese and Indian temples reflecting the diverse faiths practised here.

Mt Zwekabin is the landmark of this town. Kawgun cave is located two miles south-west from Pha-an. It is a natural lime stone cave and measures 200-ft height and 300- ft length. The rock surfaces is profusely decorated with different kinds of clay Buddha images and votive tablets. Yathaypyan cave is challenging for adventure lovers. Saddan cave the most wonderful one in Myanmar. Surrounding Pha-an is actually like an artful painting- with lush green fields, growing mountains covered trees, streams and bamboo hut villages.

Mawlamyaing

Mawlamyaing is a capital of Mon State and a big trading centre. 300 km by road from Yangon across Thanlwin River. The city's population is mixed with Mon, Kayin, Bamar, Indians and some Chinese.

The town is situated on the left bank of the Thanlwin River, before it debouches into the sea 28 miles below the town, it is bounded by hills on the east. The town generally slopes down to the west and its length fronting the river is much greater than it breadth. Being near the sea and at the confluence of four rivers, it enjoys an equitable climate which, combined with a fertile soil, has promoted the cultivation of grain, variety cash crops and orchards. A considerable amount of teak, rice, rubber, and fruits such as durians, mangosteen, pineapple,

rambutan, mango and cashew are produced.
Mawlamyaing enjoys good communication links with Yangon, being connected by road, rail and sea.
Kyaikthanlan and Mahamyatmuni are much venerated for their antiquity. Seindon monastery where King Mindon's Queen Seindon sought refugee after the last monarch. Mon Cultural Museum is a collection of Mon inscriptions, hundred-year-old wooden sculptures, ceramics, thanakha grinding stones, silver betel boxes and Mon musical instruments. Short trips by car to Mudon where there is world largest reclining Buddha. Then to Thanbyuzayat which anchors the infamous "death railway" on the Myanmar side, Setse beach and Kyaikkhami can be taken from Mawlamyaing. While crossing the river to Chaungzon acquaints one with the enterprising craftsmen of Ywalut and a chance to sample their products.