Hpa-an

With rock hills in the environs, Hpa-an lies in the countryside of southern Myanmar about 50 km away from Mawlamyine. It differs from other places of Myanmar as a capital of Kayin/Karen ethnic state which comprises about eleven tribes of Karen. Like Mawlamyine, Hpa-an is still one of the off-the-beaten-track towns for tourism, having a limited number of tourists since 2011. The atmosphere in the town is both peaceful and energetic with nearly half a million population. Its surrounding area has sacred hills and natural limestone caves mostly decorated with Buddhist sculptures and statues. Some human settlement on certain islands forms seasonal plantations which guarantee the population with the simple economy. Between Hpa-an and Mawlamyine, there lies a village named after U Na Auk, whose rivalry with the once Scottish owned Irrawaddy Flotilla river transport company in the British colonial Burma had become a big claim to fame, where the Mon village pattern and the 19th century art and architecture of local Buddhist monasteries are worth to see.

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