Mon State

MON STATE is an administrative division of Myanmar sandwiched between Kayin State on the east, the Andaman Sea on the west, Bago Region on the north and Tanintharyi Region on the south. It has a short border with Thailand's Kanchanaburi Province at its southeastern tip. It covers 12,155 square kilometers. The Dawna Range, running along the eastern side of the state in a NNW - SSE direction forms a natural border with Kayin State. Mon State includes some small islands, such as Kalegauk, Wa Kyun and Kyungyi Island, along its 566 km of coastline. The state's capital is Mawlamyaing. Population (2002): 2,672,000 with a density of 220 people per square kilometer. Ethnicities: Mon, Bamar, Anglo-Burmese, Chin, Kachin, Kayin, Rakhine, Shan, and Burmese-Thai.

Mawlamyine (Moulmein) is the capital of Mon State and the third largest city in Myanmar after Yangon and Mandalay. Located in southeastern Myanmar almost directly across the Gulf of Martaban from Yangon. Mawlamyine has a population of almost 300,000. It is a river port and commercial center, it has traditionally been home to shipyards and teak mills. The chief town of British Myanmar, it is one of the few places where elephants are still used in lumber mills.

Mawlamyine is an ancient Mon town. The name according to the legend comes from Mot-Mua-Lum. meaning "one eye destroyed" . In this legend an ancient king had three eyes—the third eye in the center of the fore-head having the power of seeing what was going on in surrounding kingdoms. The King of a neighbouring country gave his daughter in marriage to the three-eyed king, ans she was eventually able to destroy the all-seeing third eye. Mawlamyine is now being transformed into a modern city with many new public and private buildings coming up. Only the old pagodas on the Mawlamyine Ridge remind us of the city’s ancient origins.

Mawlamyine can be reached by road, rail or plane. As Myanmar Airways flies to Mawlamyine only on Thursdays and Sundays, it is more convenient to go by car, bus or railway. There are at present three trains from Yangon to Mottama (or Martaban), the terminus across the Than Lwin (Salween) River from Mawlamyine. The trains leave Yangon at 3:00am. 4:00a.m. and 8:00a.m daily, and take about seven hours to reach Mottama. It is a pleasant half an hour's river crossing by passenger or car ferry from Mottama to Mawlamyine. The ferry goes in a southeast direction across the wide expanse of the Than Lwin River near its mouth. As you cross. you can see Bilu Gyun (Ogre Island) in the west.

Mon People

The Mon are an ethnic group that lives primarily in Myanmar but are also found in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. There are an old group that has been in Burma for over a thousand years and in Thailand at least 400 years and were largely independent and had a great empire until they were defeated by the Burmese in 1757. The Mon are also known as the Mun, Peguan, Talaing, Taleng,

The Mons are the principal Burma branch of the Mon-Khmer ethnic group and the remant of the first great civilization to dominate Southeast Asia. There are three million Mons scattered around southern Myanmar. While about a third of them still speak their ancestors’ dialect, the Mons refuse to be assimilated to the dominant Burmese ethnic group, the Bamar. There about 100,000 Mon in Thailand and smaller numbers in Cambodia and Vietnam.

The Mon speak an Austroasiatic language in Mon-Khmer group and practice Theravada Buddhism like the Burmese and Thais. In Myanmar, most also speak Burmese. For many Mon Burmese is their first language. Although they have their own state in Myanmar and have been active in the ethnic insurgency against the Myanmar government they have largely been assimilated there.

Pagodas in Mawlamyine

Kong mon

Three famous pagodas adorn the Mawlamyine Ridge. The Kyaik-thanlan pagoda was erected in A.D. 875 during the reign of King Mutpi Raja. A hair relic of the Buddha, Tripitaka manuscripts and gold images of the Buddha were enshrined in the pagoda. Successive kings raised the pagoda higher: from 56 feet to the present 150 feet. The present base of the pagoda is 450 feet in circumference. There are 34 small pagodas called Zediyan surrounding the pagoda. A lift has now been installed for easy access. Kyaik in Mon language means a Cedi or Stupa. The pagoda was repaired by King Anawrahta. founder of the Pagan Dynasty. and later enlarged by Mon kings. especially King Wagaru of Mottama in 1538 A.D. On the Platform can be seen a big bell with a medieval Mon inscription and also another bell with a quaint inscription in English. dated 30th March 1885: " This bell made by Koonalenga. the priest. and weight 500 viss. No one body design to destroy this bell." There is also a memorial to the famous Thingaza Sayadaw who passed away in Mawlamyine in 1900. Kyaik-than-lan was the pagoda that the famous English poet Rudyard Kipling wrote about in his poem "Mandalay" which opens with the line: “By the old Moulmein Pagoda. lookin lazy at the sea".

U Zina Pagoda is named after a person called U Zina, but no one really knows who he was. Some say that U Zina was a sage who lived at thc time of King Asoka. Others say U Zina was just a villager, who while collecting shoots on the hill where the pagoda now stands, found a pot of gold buried in a bamboo grove. The villager and his wife became rich and built this pagoda on the hill which gave up its treasure to them. The old Mon name for this pagoda is Kyaikpatan. named after thc white hill on which it stands. Legend says it was first built in the 3rd century B.C.

There is a record that Uugalay and his wife Daw Mi rebuilt the pagoda in 1832. They were buried near a water tank to the north of this pagoda. Soon after the annexation in 1886 the pagoda was rebuilt by U Moe and his wife Daw Nyein to the present height of 112 feet. Their stone inscription can still be seen on the platform. There is a reclining Buddha Image. Visitors can also see the four life-like figures: a decrepit old man leaning on a staff; a man suffering from a loathsome disease; a putrid corpse; and finally a monk in yellow robes free from all worldly cares. These four figures represent the four signs that made Lord Buddha leave the palace for the life of a religious recluse.

Mahamuni Pagoda houses a replica of the Maha Muni Image at Mandalay. The Seindon Mibaya-gyi, a prominent Queen of King Mindon from Mandalay, went to live Mawlamyine after the annexation. She and other members of the Myanmar Royal Family who were in Mawlamyine. felt a great longing to pay homage to the Maha Muni Image, and they arranged for a replica to be made in 1904. The building of this Pagoda was led by Sayadaw Waziya-yama, a prominent Buddhist monk, and Daw Shwe Bwin of Mawlamyine. The great image made in Mandalay was brought to Naga-with a Hill on the Mawlamyine Ridge, where a large building, the Gandakudi Taik, was erected to house it. The nearby monastery named after its donor, the Seindon Mibaya kyaung, has some excellent wood-carvings which are over a hundred years old.

Places near Mawlamyine

Mudon (29 kilometers south of Mawlamyine) is home to the world's largest reclining Buddha. Constructed at Win Sein Taw Ya Forest, the Buddha is named Zinathuka Yan Aung Chantha. It has a length of 400 feet (180 meters) and a height of 110 feet (nearly 34 meters). The Buddha is eight stories tall and large enough to hold 182 rooms. Near the image are 200 standing monks collecting alms

Thanbyuzayat (30 kilometers south of Mawlamyine) was the western terminus of the infamous Burma-Siam Railway, dubbed the ”death railway”, in World War II. Thousands of Allied prisoners of war— and tens of thousands of Asians—died after being forced by the Japanese military to build it. See Thailand.

A kilometer west of the clock tower in the direction of Kyaikkami lies the Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery, which contains 3,771 graves of Allied prisoners of war who died building the railway. Most of those buried were British, but there are also markers for American, Dutch and Australian soldiers. Other places connected to World War II include Japanese-built temples and a small museum with a locomotive. which marks the beginning of the "death railway." Two miles outside the town is the ancient city of Waguru (13th century). The walls are still plainly visible and the view from the hilltop is wonderful. Thanbyuzayat means “tin shelter.”

Setse Beach (24 kilometers south of Kyaikkami and 16 kilometers southwest of Thanbyuzayut in Mon State) is a very wide, brown-sand beach that tends toward tidal flats when the shallow surf-line recedes at low tide. The beach is lined by waving casuarinas trees. Vendors sell fresh young coconuts full of juice and restaurants serve seafood.


Thaton (100 kilometers north of Mawlamyine) was the seat of an ancient Mon kingdom also known as Suvannabhumi or the Golden Land, which extended from the Bay of Bengal to the region between the Sittaung and Salween(Thanlwin) rivers, which was known as the Mon kingdom of Ramanyadesa. Ancient Thaton was a flourishing port that traded with Southern India and Pegu. The old city of Thaton appears to have built on a quadrangular plan like the more modern cities of Amarapura and Mandalay. There are two ramparts in a rectangular shape and the moat lies between the two walls. which are faced with laterite stones. As the present town is developed within the old city the remains of the inner city are no longer visible. The chief pagodas were situated between the palace site and the south wall. Silting has resulted in the coastline moving 16 kilometers away from Thaton, which is now a sleepy town on the rail line from Bago to Mottama.

Dr. Richard M. Cooler wrote in “The Art and Culture of Burma”: “The early Mon kingdoms that were in power during the prehistoric period, were situated between the Sittang and Salween rivers and were referred to as Ramannadesa. Thaton, the seat of this kingdom, is believed to have been Suvannabhumi (“Golden Land”), a term that was also used to refer to the whole region of continental Southeast Asia bordering the Bay of Bengal. Thaton is thought to have been founded by King Siharaja during the lifetime of the Buddha, which would place it in the fifth century B.C. [Source: “The Art and Culture of Burma,” Dr. Richard M. Cooler, Professor Emeritus Art History of Southeast Asia, Former Director, Center for Burma Studies =]

Thaton was once a flourishing port community that communicated with and transported goods from as far away as Southern India. Later Burmese chronicles credit the Mon people of Thaton with bringing the Buddhist religion to Burma. In these chronicles it is also stated that Buddhist manuscripts from Sri Lanka were translated into Mon characters around 400 AD. Although scholars have questioned this fact, it is known from local inscriptions that Theravada Buddhism definitely existed in Lower Burma by the fifth century AD. Although the exact founding date of Thaton and the extent of its kingdom has yet to be discovered, it is known that Thaton fell under Burmese control during the 11th century when the first great King of Pagan, Anawrahta, sacked the city and returned to Pagan with Thaton’s King Manuha as his captive. Thaton remained under Burmese domination until the fall of Pagan in 13th century. Thenceforth, the Mons re-established their independence, although the capital was later moved to other locations including Marataban and Pegu. =

Thaton’s quadrangular city plan resembles that of the later Burmese cities of Amarapura and Mandalay. Four walls surrounded the old city creating a rectangular shape that enclosed the walled palace compound that was located at its center. From north to south the palace site measured 1, 080 feet and 1, 150 feet from east to west. Two chief stupas were situated between the palace site and the south wall. Today, the old city of Thaton is no longer visible as growth of the modern town has obscured the earlier settlement.

Pagodas in Thaton

Shwezayan Pagoda (in Thaton) is often called Thaton Shwezayan to differentiate it from another Shwezayan between Mandalay and Pyin Oo Lwin. The pagoda as it stands today has a height of 360 feet (110 meters) from base to the finial and by its configuration seems to be quite modern. A number of stone inscriptions, of which five display Old Mon writing, attest to its antiquity. The festival for this Pagoda is held on the 8th waxing day of the month of Dabaung which roughly corresponds to March.

The Shwezayan pagoda is said to have been built in the 5th century B.C. It has been built over and has now assumed a modern shape with a circular base and a bell-shaped superstructure. Within the precincts of the Shwezayan pagoda were found seven inscribed stones: five in early Mon of the 11th century, one medieval and the seventh illegible. Among the stone sculptures collected in the same building is a figure of standing Buddha depicted in relief on a sandstone slab.

Kyaikhtee Saung Pagoda (in Thaton) is an ancient laterite stone pagoda. It is the one of earliest hair relic pagodas in Mon State. Kyaikhtee Saung Pagoda is located on the Laterite Stone hillock, which has been formed by laying the laterite stones on top of one another forming a big square that has gradually shrunk, keeping the form of square but gradually getting smaller until it reaches the top platform. In 1971 a monk named U Pyinnyadipa (the abbot of Kyaikhtee Saung Sayadaw monastery) was visiting his native village, Zoke Thoke, and found the old pagoda under some bushes. He organized his disciples and villagers to clear the bushes. Then he rebuilt and renovated the old pagoda and old laterite hillock. Now, the Kyaikhtee Saung Golden Pagoda is surrounded by the new religious buildings.

Salween River

Salween River

The Salween River is powerful waterway even in the dry season. It runs 1,900 miles (3,060 kilometers) from the high Tibetan mountains to the Gulf of Martaban and the Andaman Sea, off Myanmar’s western coast. At Weigyi, on the border of Myanmar and Thailand, it produces a notorious whirlpool that is strong enough to pul a boat underwater. Locals leave offerings of rice, flowers and bananas to appease the god of the Salween and to thank him for vital water and prosperity he brings. The Salween is home to 70 species of fish including catfish, eel, featherback and carp who thrive in its surging rapids and deep pools. During the dry season the river dropes by 10 meters (33 feet) or more. [Source: Richard Lloyd Parry, The Times, March 23, 2006]

Three Parallel Rivers in Yunnan, China is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here the upper reaches of three of Asia's mightiest rivers—the Yangtze, Mekong, and the Salween—flow parallel to one another within a 55 mile band, divided by high mountain ridges. The Yangtze river, known in this area as the Jinsha, marks the boundary between Tibet and Kham. The Mekong is known as the Lancang. The Salween is called the Nujiang. “Jiang” is the Chinese word for river. The area is stunningly beautiful but rarely visited because the terrain carved by the rivers is so severe and rugged.

Fed by monsoon rains, the Yangtze, Mekong and Salween all sweep east of the Himalayas then drop due south, parallel to one another, before heading off in different directions. The gorges of the upper Yangtze, Mekong and Salween are among the deepest in the world, each twice the depth of the Grand Canyon, and reaching three kilometers in some places. Each gorge is separated from the others by towering mountains with more than a hundred peaks over 5,000 meters.

The Salween River flows undisturbed through some of the most outwardly tranquil territory on earth. It is Southeast Asia’s longest undammed waterway. But if the Myanmar government and the Chinese have their way it won’t be that way that way for long, turning parts of it into still-water lakes to which many of species that thrive in the river are ill-adapted.

In Myanmar much it flows through territory occupied by the Karen minority. “As long as I have lived here my family has been totally dependent on the Salween for our livelihood,” says Htoo Lwee, a member of the Karen ethnic group that lives in the village of Hoekey, a few miles below the proposed dam site at Weigyi. “The river gives us a living from fishing and from boating. It is our life and our mother. If the dam is constructed we will not be able to live.”


Kayin (Karen) State

Kayin State is a predominately Karen area of Myanmar. The Myanmar government refers to the Karen as Kayin. The state is also known as Kawthoolei and Karen State. Bordered by Mae Hong Son, Tak, and Kanchanaburi provinces of Thailand to the east; Mon State and Bago Region of Myanmar to the west and south; and Mandalay Region, Shan State and Kayah State to the north, Kayin is mountainous with the Dawna Range running along the state in a north-northwest and south-southeast direction with and the southern end of the Karen Hills in the northwest.

The hill regions are covered with tropical rain forest that contains great varieties of vegetation, ranging from towering hardwoods to dense bamboo groves and vines that fires burn off during the hot dry season. The tropical-monsoon climate has two seasons, the monsoon from mid-May through September and the dry season from October through April. It is cold from November to February and becomes extremely hot in March and April, before the cooling monsoon rains state. The precipitation range is from less than 200 centimeters annually near Shan State to more than 254 centimeters in the Irrawaddy Valley and more than 500 centimeters in Tenasserim. |~|

Karen State was established in 1952, a few years after Burma became independent. The region that forms today's Karen State was part of a series Burmese kingdoms beginning with the Pagan Empire in mid-11th century. The British seized the southern third of today's Karen State (below the Salween River) during the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824-1826), and the rest in the Second Anglo-Burmese War of 1852.Towards the end of the British colonial era (1945-1948), Karen leaders insisted on a separate state covering today's Karen State and much of Mon State and Taninthayi Region, within the British Empire. They refused to sign the Panglong Agreement of February 1947, which was the basis for the 1947 Constitution of Burma, and boycotted the pre-independence elections of April 1947. Nonetheless, the constitution granted the Karen a state, though with an area less than what the Karen leadership had asked for from the British. The constitution also guaranteed states with the right to secede from the Union after a period of 10 years.

Karen leader were not satisfied, and wanted outright independence. In 1949, a Karen rebellion began that continues to this day.Much of the state has been a battlefield since the the 1950s, with civilians suffering the most. The military government changed the English name of the state (Karen State) to Kayin State in 1989.

Hpa-an is a capital of Kayin State. it is also spelled Hpaan and Pa-An. In the 2000s, it was removed from the restricted list of travel destinations, it is a small town but busy commerce center. Farmers come to town in horsecarts or trishaws stacked with baskets of foodstuffs mas to sell in the market. Most of people are Karen. It is possible to reach Hpaan by road from Yangon across a new bridge (Thanlwin) over the Thanlwin River.

Interesting Places in the Hpa-an area: Mt .Zwegabin is a hill with an unusual shape. Kawgun cave, near Kawgun, three kilometers from Hpa An, is a natural lime stone cave and measures 200 feet in height and 300 feet in length. The cave is decorated with diffent kinds of clay Buddha images and votive tablets. Some of the Buddha images date to the 15th century A.D. Hanthawaddy period. Shwe Yin Myaw Pagoda (Theinseik Village, Thaton Township, Kayin State) is a 45-cubit-high pagoda with a 20-cubit-hugh Buddha image inside.


Working elephant with a Karen Mahout

Thandaung (320 kilometers from Yangon) is the leading town in the northern section of Kayin State. A beautiful hill station at the center of an important tea, coffee and fruit producing region, it was developed as a hill resort in Victorian times by the British and is inhabited mainly by Bwe Kayin (Karen) people who are mostly Christians.

Thandaung means Iron Hill. It is much closer to Yangon than other hill stations in Myanmar. It can be reached by car or bus in 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 by car passing through lush virgin forests and by cascading mountain streams, climbing gradually to over 4,000 feet, to reach Thandaung.

Legend of Thandaung: 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 nearby, at 4,824 feet above sea level. The legend is about a courageous prince named Saw Thaw oh Khwa and a beautiful maiden called Naw Bu Baw (Saw is the honorific for men and Naw for women in the Kayin language. Naw Bu Baw was the daughter of the king of the sea and she came to these high hills to marry Saw Thaw oh Khwa. the son of King Kiku of these highlands.

Naw Bu Baw possessed a magical silver comb which made her shine like the sun when she had it in her hair and made her invisible when she put it under her feet. She also had a magical cooking pot, which enabled her to cook a full pot of rice from only half a grain of rice. The Prince and the newly married Princess were very much in love with each other and roamed these lovely hills and mountains, streams and meadows together. But the Kayin people did not accept Naw Bu Baw as she came from far away and because of the powers she got from her magical comb they thought that she was a witch.

One day the prince went to the eastern mountains to repulse invading enemies. The faithful wife gave him the magical comb to enable him to disappear when his enemies attacked. In spite of the courage and daring, and also the possession of the comb, the prince died in battle. The people of the region blamed Naw Bu Baw. Accusing her of being a sorceress, they took her to the highest peak of Dawparkho Range and imprisoned her in a rock cavern. Even today local people will show visitors where she was kept tied and locked. She was eventually eaten by evil spirits. The lives of Saw Thaw oh Khwa and Naw Bu Baw came to tragic ends but their spirits still wander hand-in-hand through the beautiful forests and misty mountains.

History of Thandaung

Soon after the end of the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1852, when Lower Myanmar was annexed, the British using imported Indian laborers first developed Thandaung as a hill station. In 1883 two years before the last Myanmar King in Mandalay was deposed, Thandaung for about a year became a military sanitorium for soldiers recovering from wounds and diseases. A cantonment area was also marked out. After only about a year this project was abandoned and the town became a civil station. Earlier a road had been built by the Public Works Department running 22 miles north-north-east of Taungoo to reach Thandaung.

Around 1911, in Thandaung there was a police station with 15 men, a small hotel, a circuit house and a district bungalow for visiting government officials, a post and telegraph office, and two European boarding schools with 64 pupils, of whom 23 were girls. There were also a number of private houses built in the colonial style. The population was only 219 persons then. The Taungoo District Gazetteer published in 1914 quaintly says that "There is a licensed shop for the retail vend of foreign spirit and foreign fermented liquor", probably meaning that whisky and wine were easily available there for visitors.

As the population was mainly Christian a number of churches were built. Visitors can still see an old Baptist Church called Zion Hill Church, and another Baptist Church and an Anglican Church on another hill. You can also visit an old Roman Catholic Church. On Dawparkho peak a prayer room in a building shaped like a ship, and a huge cross were built in April 1995. Since 1954 Thandaung has been part of Pha-an District of the Kayin State. In 1971 the population had risen to 51,000.

Thandaung was neglected for many years due to the insurrections and troubled times that erupted soon after Myanmar became Independent in 1948. Only in recent years after regaining peace and stability has Thandaung been developed as a hill resort for visitors. 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 precious teak, pyinkadoe, padauk, ingyin and other hardwood trees can be seen in abundance.

Places in Thandaung

Thandaung is now divided into two towns, the original town on the hill now known as Thandaung Myo Haung (old town) and Thandaung Myo Thit (new town) which was developed at Pathi Chaung, beside the idyllic and charming Pathi mountain stream. The new town enlarged from the former Pathi-Chaung village is only about 13 miles from Taungoo and is a favourite picinic spot for the people of the plains. There are huge boulders at the side and among the rushing waters, and these rocks are favourite spots for taking photographs. The area of the new town is 177 acres. The population is still very sparse, and mainly engaged in taungya, shifting cultivation on the gentle slopes of the foothills. Around here and also on the hills you see bamboo mats and baskets and also other native utensils. The local people are good hunters and fishermen and if you are interested you can participate in their activities.

Thandaung Myo Thit (new town) became the township headquarters in 1959, as the old township headquarters at the old town on the hilltop was difficult to reach at the time. This new town is also known as New Thandaung. The original Thandaung Myo Haung or old town is reached after about an hour's drive going uphill through the winding slopes with lush, green tropical vegetation all around. There are breath-taking views from many places along the way. You will pass through some old Kayin villages, the largest of which is Bawgaligyi, which is especially famous for its sweet green-skin oranges.

The old town on the hilltop 4,050 feet above sea level is now officially known as Thandaungyi (meaning Great Thandaung). The town is quite small, only 1.57 sq-miles (1,007 acres) and you can easily walk around the whole area. The total population is only 3,766, but some new people are arriving. The Kayin people mainly Bwe' live there, but other Kayin races such as Sgaw, Paku, Moebwa, Palaychie and other Myanmar people.The town is divided into six wards and has 354 households. Gurkhas who were brought by the British and who now live around Thandaung, will warmly welcome visitors from far and wide.

The beauty of the town lies in its extensive views to be seen from all parts of this small attractive place. There are more hills and mountains to the north, east and south, while the Sittaung valley can be seen to the west with sweeping views right to the Bago Yoma hills beyond. Visitors who have been to Chiang Mai, the Doi Suthep mountain and Mae Sa valley to the west and north of the city will be able to visualize the type of scenery to be found around Thandaung as the two mountain ranges are in the same latitude, and are only about a hundred miles apart.

Around Thandaung, nature is entirely unspoilt; there are few people and all is green, the environment tranquil. Only the calls of the numerous birds and wild animals can be heard. The only man-made scenery around Thandaung really adds rather than detracts to her beauty. They are the pleasant groves of tea and coffee plantations on some of the slopes around Thandaung. There are 640 acres of tea plantations; the high altitude, the cool climate and abundant rainfall produce some of the best tea leaves of Southeast Asia. The coffee grown here too is one of the best in the region, although at present it is well known only within our country. Around Thandaung you can buy be bought huge delicious red or maroon bananas called Shwengapyaw or Golden Bananas. Many other tasty fruits and vegetables can also be obtained freshly and cheaply.

Visitors will appreciate the cool climate, with annual average temperatures of about 65 degrees 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 visit Thandaung. Visitors 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.

Myawaddy (in Kayin State across the border from Mae Sot, Thailand) is a border town between Myanmar and Thailand. It is connected to Mae Sot on the other side of the border. The border immigration between the two countries arranges for day-pass near the border. The Myawaddy market is full of all kinds of clothes, household goods, and vegetables. There is a pagoda in Myawaddy. See Mae Sot, Thailand

Lunnya Pagoda (in Indu Circle, Pa-an Township, Kayin State) was built by Arahant Marainda in 400 under the reign of King Thuwunna in Thaton (Thuwunna Bhumi). It is also called Tharaninga (Shwe Yaung Ya) Pagoda. The place has 55 pagodas. There is also a magic well believed to have some connections with the Lunnya Pagoda. The well is full no matter how much water is drawn from it; if women should go up to take a look, there would be unseasonal winds and the well would dry up eventually; only when some propitiation is made does the well rise again with water. The second point is that the well can grant wishes to bear child. And the third is its wish-granting for longevity for those bathing there.

Image Sources:

Text Sources: Myanmar Travel Information, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, The Irrawaddy, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP,,, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books and other publications.

Last updated May 2020

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