Step away from the tourist trail and take Myanmar’s ‘less traveled’ road for part of your holiday.
Cast an eye towards any horizon in Hpa-an and you'll see it accented by limestone-mountains. The picturesque region is home to the religiously important and hike able, Mt. Zwegabin.
There’s also no shortage of ancient Buddhist caves to explore, local swimming holes to visit and acres of rice paddy fields and tiny villages to marvel. The originality of Hpa-an as a destination shouldn’t go unnoticed. Overnight services rate from standard to deluxe.
Trekking around Hsipaw offers visits to ethnic villages of both the Shan and Palaung tribes, along with natural experiences of waterfalls, as well as vistas of tea plantations and rice paddies. But Hsipaw is not just about the trekking (overnights in simple home-stays). There are also day trips up river, leisurely cycling in the nearby riverside villages, along with time spent soaking up the friendly and relaxed ambience of Hsipaw town. Overnight services are rated superior.
Mawlamyine, the ancient capital of the Mon Kingdom was also part of the annexation to British India, so there’s an obvious abundance of colonial style architecture in town. That, along with it’s bustling waterfront activity and impressive Pagoda complex presiding over the town on the hill-crest. There’s also nearby sites like the historically important WWII Burma Railway terminus of Thanbuzayat and the picturesque seaside location of Kyaikkhami Pagoda (pictured). Overnight services are rated superior.
PYIN OO lWIN
A charming hill-station destination, founded by the British in 1896, Pyin Oo Lwin is well known for its colonial-style houses, mountainside pine forests, fresh mountain air, cooling waterfalls and religious caves, home to the magnificent National Kandawgyi Gardens and the tastiest seasonal strawberries around. Pyin Oo Lwin is an accessible day trip from Mandalay or easily savored as a stop over for a day or two as part of an adventure leading deeper into Northern Shan State. Overnight services rate as superior to deluxe.
Close to Inle Lake, Pindaya is an easy day trip to be awestruck by a visit to the over 8,000 Buddha-image-filled cave. But Pindaya has much more to offer. Pindaya’s town centre is a bustling hub for the otherwise sleepy haven. The main of which wraps around the centrally located Pone Taloke Lake. Its shores are often busy with locals tending to daily chores. There are also socially responsible community projects to see. And in the nearby picturesque hills, there’s day and multi-daytreks accessing traditional villages of the local, Danu People. Overnight services rate as superior.
NGWE SAUNG BEACH
The warm waters of the Bay of Bengal are clear and seaweed-free, punctuated briefly by occasional volcanic stone, while the storybook tropical foreshore is dotted with pockets of palm trees. In the mornings, along the 15 kms of Ngwe Saung's prisitine beach, there’s always locals around when the fishermen come ashore and sell their catch fresh off the boat. It’s a great wind down location that’s accessed by road from Yangon, ensuring an interesting commute across the Ayeyarwaddy Delta. Overnight services are rated as deluxe.