Mawlamyine, a charming town, is the capital of Mon State, situated at the mouth of the Thanlwin River. Located 28 miles from the sea , it is the third largest city in Myanmar. Visitors to Mawlamyine are simply enchanted at the scenic beauty and it's temperature climate. The atmosphere of post-colonial decay is still palpable here. A beautiful river trip from Pa-An can be done but not recommended because of the irregularity of boat schedule. 299 Km, 10 hours drive and 18 hours by train from Yangon. It can be done as an extension of the Kyaikhtiyo trip.
The largest reclining Buddha image in the world, Win Sein Taw Ya, is situated about 20 km south of Mawlamyine
on the main road to Mudon. It can be clearly seen for miles as you leave Mudon for Mawlamyine on the right
side of the road in amongst the hills almost directly opposite the hill top Buddhist shrine of Kyauktalon
Taung. The reclining Buddha is 180 meters in length, and 30 meters in height. Inside there are numerous rooms
with dioramas of the teachings of Buddhism, similar to Haw Par Villa (Tiger Balm Gardens) of Singapore.
There is also a Buddhist shrine in one of the rooms, and being a place of worhship, you should remove your
shoes or slippers before entering the premises.
Getting there: The entrance to the reclining Buddha image is located about 100 meters south of the Hindu temple on Yadana Taung on the left hand side of the Mawlamyine-Mudon road as you head towards Mudon. You'll see a school on the corner of the road that leads to the the Buddha image as well as statues of 100 monks standing in single file with alms bowl in hand. It's a convenient stopover if you're heading to Kyaikkami, Setse beach, the Death Railway museum or the Htaukkyant War Cemetry in Thanbyuzayat.
Mudon is the first major town south of Mawlamyine on the way to Thanbyuzayat, Kyaikkami and Setse Beach. Most travellers from Mawlamyine to these destinations would bypass Mudon altogether, preferring to stop 5 km earlier at Kyauktalon Taung and Yadana Taung, whilst visiting Win Sein Taw Ya, the largest reclining Buddha image in the world.Kyauktalon Taung is an interesting flat rock formation 300 feet in height with a Buddhist shrine situated on top. Although reminding you of Mt Popa in central Myanmar, the outcrop is geologically different being made of limestone rather than volcanic rock. As you are heading south towards Mudon from Mawlamyine, Kyauktalon Taung is located on the right hand side of the road however access to the shrine appears to be quite difficult requiring a very steep climb to the top.Just opposite Kyauktalon Taung is Yadana Taung and the entrance to a Hindu temple where literally hundreds of monkeys roam about freely, similar to those found at the monkey forest in Ubud, Bali. Beware, however, as the monkeys here are often hungry and if they sense that you have food on you, they'll do whatever it takes to steal it! A hundred metres further south is the entrance to Win Sein Taw Ya.Mudon is a further 10 minutes from here at a distance of 29 kilometres from Mawlamyine. If you're on a half-day trip visiting this area, then a nice place for lunch is at Kandawgyi Lake located just after the main town centre on the left hand side of the road. There are a number of stalls selling rice and an assortment of side dishes, as well as moehingga (noodles in a fish based broth) and soft drinks.You can purchase locally made ice cream here from mobile vendors for about 300 kyat. This is quite an achievement considering there is little or no power for refrigeration!Kandawgyi Lake's cool clear waters and tranquil back drop makes it a beautiful place to chillout. There's even a "bandstand" resting area beside the lake designed in the form of a pagoda not far from the entrance to Kandawgyi Paya.
Setse is a beach resort on the Gulf of Martaban of the Andaman Sea in Thanbyuzayat Township, of Mon State, in southern Burma (Myanmar). The beach itself is composed of brown sand, is quite wide and long, but the water is often muddy when currents bring down silt from the Salween river which enters the Gulf of Martaban just to the north. Setse has been a resort since the 19th century, and still remains popular.Mawlamyaing University has its Marine Science Laboratory in Setse, which studies commercial uses of algae (seaweed), cultured pearl techniques, and produces commercial agar-agar. It lies 24 km south of Kyaikkami and 16 km south-west of Thanbyuzayut, Mon State.It 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. It is one of the noted beaches in Myanmar.
Located 9 kms northeast of Thanbyuzayat. Kyaikkami was a small coastal resort and missionary center known as Amherst during the British era. The main focus of Kyaikkami is Yele Paya. a metal-roofed Buddhist shrine complex perched over the sea and reached via a long two-level causeway; the tower level is submerged during high tide. Along with 11 Buddha hair relics. the shrine chamber beneath Yele Paya reportedly contains a Buddha image that supposedly floated here on a raft from Sri Lanka in ancient times.Some legend say that Buddha in Maha Sakarit 111 around 581 BC came on sojourn to Thuwunna Bhumi and got to Kyin Maing (Kyaikkhami). The land of Yawnaka. Buddha rested on the rock that would site the pagoda and gave the 20 sons of the king of Kyin Maing and mentor Kappina the hermit hair relics before he went to Thuwunna Bhumi. In Maha Sakarit 117 that was 575 BC. Hermit Kappina and ten of the princes built a pagoda enshrining the relics they got at the sacred rock cave. It has since been known as Eka Dasa. In Sakarit 237 that was 307 BC. after Parinibbana. Shin Mahainda. Arahanta Upatittha and King Devanampiyatittha sent afloat four sandalwood Buddha statues enshrining the Buddha's relics entrusted to them. making an oath to have them get to a place where there were repositories of Buddha relics. One of them came to Eka Dasa Pagoda in Kyaikkhami. Eka Dasa Pagoda is now one with five wonders midstream.The Buddha Images inside face the sea towards the south. A notable fact is that although the shrine is located at some distance from the shore. its basement is not engulfed even during the highest tide. Women are only allowed to worship from a pavilion removed from the shrine while men may do so from the hall facing the main image.