Hpa-An is a city of Karen State (Kayin State), just 250Km from Yangon Old City.
Population: 500,000 people, mainly Karen people
Religion: Theravada Buddhism, Baptism, Christianity
Main attraction: Zwegapin Hill as the landmark of Kayin State, The Zwegabin Hill is an attractive place for visitors. Kyaukkalatt (Kyauk Kalat Monastery) and Kawtgon Cave (or Kawgoon Cave) is also a place of interest.
Kyauk Kalap is a truly unique pagoda, set on top of an unusual rock formation in the middle of a (man-made) lake. It is a beautiful spot and another that offers great photo opportunities of Mount Zwegabin
the Kawtgon Cave, which is not far away from Hpa An, the capital town of the Kayin State. The cave is a very important buddhistic and archaeological site. Its origins date back to the 7th century. Sometime it is called the cave of the 10.000 Buddhas, but in my opinion there are much more buddha and statues to explore here.
The town lies on the east bank of Thanlwin River with stunning views across to an imposing limestone mountain which is topped by a chedi. It is surrounded by limestone hills and the impressive ridge of 722-meter Zwegabin Hill, the tallest among the chain of Myanmar’s limestone mountains with 2372 feet high. The hill is crowned by a stupa which is said to contain a hair of the Buddha. Moreover, Hpa-An is a marvelous hill station and an important tea, coffee and fruit producing region.
Eight miles south of Hpa-An is sacred Kawgun Cave, which mainly attracts tourists by its hidden gallery of 7th century artwork. Here you can find up to thousands of Buddha images and carvings on walls of roofs. The pagoda was first recorded in 1893 in an Archaeological survey of India Report. One of headless carving of an elegant torso is believed to represent a queen who donated some images to the cave pagoda. There is a Mon language inscription on the piece which writes: “I, the queen of Martaban, living in the town of Du Ei Wut, have the image of Lord Buddha made…”
One of the best memories of experienced travelers is the breathtakingly huge Saddar Cave. The pilgrimage nature is evident in the many small shrines and Buddhist iconography greeting you at the entrance. The sacred atmosphere is initiated from the décor there. Ranging from small clay figures that have been arranged into mosaics depicting holy places and figures, to statues and stupas, the mouth of Saddar Cave deems like most holy sites in Myanmar. As you walk down the stairs into the cave, lighting is intermittently provided by fluorescent lamps and the ground is damp. Moreover, the cave is home for a flock of bats. Visitors will find these entire atmospheres quite intriguing and memorable.
Climate: Temperatures are very warm throughout the year, although maximum temperatures are somewhat depressed in the monsoon season due to heavy cloud and rain. There is a winter dry season (November - April) and a summer wet season (May - October). Torrential rain falls from June to August, with over 1,100 millimetres (43 in) falling in August alone.