It is reachable by car about 6 hours drive from Yangon via Bago, Kyaik-hto ( Golden Rock town) and Thatone between Yangon – Mawlamyine Hiway road. You will be pasing through Yangon Division, Bago Division and Mon State to Kayin State. You will go Hpa-An (approximately 1 ½ hours) from Mawlayine (capital of Mon state) by car or a small private charter boat upstream along Thanlwin river ( about 3 ½ hours). It is a pleasant Journey and one can see beautiful scenery and villages of Mon and Karan People.
Hpa-An is the main capital of Karen state but it looks like a small town. It is easily accessible by car from Yangon or Kyaikhtiyoe (Golden Rock) and also by boat and by car from Mawlamyine. Earlier very small number of tourists visit to Pha-Ann because of political turmoil. Although still unknown to many international travelers, around Hpa-Ann area is very well known among Buddhist Pilgrims.
It is one of the symbol of Hpa-An and can be reach within an hour from Hpa-An. The formation of the lime stone rock mountain is very unusual look. If you looks from different angle, you will see different perspective. It rises around 200 meters steeply from the plain. There is a pagoda and monastery on top of the mountain. The view of the river and surrounding mountain will compensate you for 3 hours hard trekking.
Thamanya hill is very popular Buddhist pilgrimage site located 22 miles south east of Hpa-Ann. It was started by Thamanya Sayardaw (most venerable monk, passed away in 2003. He is a vegetarian monk and people who live villages around the hill and pilgrims who come to that area to be strictly on vegetarian food.
Thandaung( Hill Resort)
Thandaung was also developed as a hill resort from Victorian times by the British. Thandaung is a romantic place. It is in the Kayin State and is inbabited mainly by the lovable ad simple Bwe Kayin (Karen) people who are mostly Christians. Like many of the picturesque hill towns there is a romantic legend, a kayin folktale connected to this place and the Dawparkho or Bwihikho mountain range which has its highest peak nearly, at 4.824 feet above sea level. Thandaung is a very beautiful hill station an important tea, coffee and fruit producing region.
During the colonial period a few of these towns on the hills were developed as summer resorts, where the Europeans went to escape from the heat and humidity of the Central Plains. The most famous of these hill resort towns are Maymyo or Pyin Oo Lwin, Kalaw and Taunggyi . We often overlook another picturesque hill town called Thandaung (meaning Iron Hill) which is much closer to Yangon than the above mentioned towns. Thandaung was also developed as a hill resort from Victorian time by the British. It happens to be the hill resort closest to Yangon as it is only about 200 miles away and can be reached by car or bus on a half day’s journey. If visitors prefer using the railway, they can ride the train from Yangon to Taungoo in about six hours, and from Taungoo to Thandaung it is only 27 miles up by car passing through lush virgin forests, see cascading mountain streams and climb gradually to over 4.000 feet, to reach Thandaung.
In visiting Thandaung, the best way is to take a car from Taungoo and drive up the 27 miles of undulating road. After crossing the Sittaung River you will first of all see Kayin and Bama villages with rich fields of rice and various market vegetables. Soon you will enter the lush tropical monsoon and deciduous forests of the Kayin State, where many percious teak, pyinkadoe, padauk, ingyin and other hardwood trees can be seen in abundance.
Visitors will appreciate the cool climate, with annual average temperatures of about 65 F. The copious rainfall averages 225 inches annually. The winters are mild and like most areas in Myanmar the months from October to the end of February is the best time to visti Thandaung. Isitors to Myanmar during the heat of March to mid-May would feel pleasantly cool if they go to Thandaung. A new modern hotel is being built for visitors.
The simple mountain folk, the various races of local Kayin people as well as the Gurkhas who were brought by the British and who now live around Thandaung, will warmly welcome visitors from far and wide.