I rented a motorbike in Hpa-An for two days to explore the caves, mountains, and Hpa-An pagodas. I think it was the best option, and after a wonderful first day, the following one wasn’t disappointing.
Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda Hpa-An
After climbing Mount Zwegabin, I headed to Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda by the worst path ever. Please don’t do the same. When I searched on maps.me directions from Mount Zwegabin to Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda it showed me this:
So I thought, no way I am going all around town when the pagoda is just across the mountain. But maps.me always shows you the way through bigger streets, and there is a reason why it does so. And don’t be stupid like me and ignore it.
After realizing the way to go from Mount Zwegabin to Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda is too long, I try to find an alternative myself. I follow the dotted path on maps.me that seems to lead to the other side of the mountain. For someone who is not confident riding a motorbike that sounded like a decision from a much confident person. And that could have been the stupidest idea! This was the path I followed:
*please don’t do it. It is not possible to proceed on a motorbike from the point marked in yellow
Well, I guess I don’t need to mention how bad this decision was. It is a very bad and dusty street, in some areas very narrow. It was so bad that I would probably get to the other side faster if I took the longest way. This path was shorter in the distance, but not in time.
The street is bad, but doable until one point. After the yellow dot on the map, you can’t go any further by motorbike. Forget it, that is not a street anymore but a trek in the forest. It was the same as climbing rocks with a motorbike. I followed this path until I fell down on the motorbike on an uphill. Luckily, I was so slow that nothing happened to me or the motorbike. Taking the motorbike out of that rock wasn’t that easy. Why did I keep on accelerating on a rocky uphill is trauma from the past. Stopping wasn’t an option so I kept going until I literally can no more and the motorbike fells.
It was a very stressful situation as the motorbike was stuck and I couldn’t handle its weight very well. I was shaking all over and truly scared, blaming myself for being such an idiot. 10 minutes later I managed to get the motorbike out of there and I went the way back. I ended up going through the main street so all my previous efforts were in vain. Just a waste of time and the addition of stress. I had wakened up at 4.30 am to climb Mount Zwegabin and I’m truly tired.
Once I get to Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda, I take some pictures and try to get up the little hill. It is not possible. There is a sign saying: only for prayers. As a good and responsible tourist, I follow instructions and don’t go further. I was really mad cause I’m sure the view from up there would be great! Being that, you will not take much time to explore this place, but it is still quite impressive how they built a pagoda in that tip-top of thin rock.
Nearby stand what it seems to be a temple under construction. It doesn’t look finished. It provides a cooler place and a groundfloor that it’s perfect for my nap. I’m feeling exhausted and sleepy. Extremely sleepy. I lay down on a corner and give myself some rest for almost one hour. This was meant to be a long day…
Yathaypyan Cave Hpa- An
I was feeling very tired even after the nap and just wanted to go back to my hotel. But instead, I decided to explore one more cave. After all, this will be my last day exploring Hpa-An. So, besides being a bit far, I decide to visit Yathaypyan Cave on the other side of the river. Be aware that the turn leading to the cave is just after the toll. I didn’t see it at first because there were some policemen standing there. The street leading to Yathaypyan Cave in Hpa-An is very beautiful, among lush green rice paddies. There is a boat trip available just before the cave as there is a boat channel. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anybody there or I would have gone for a boat trip.
The cave turned out to be a great spot for sunset. It is also a big cave like Saddan and equally beautiful with bat sounds inside and Guano that stinks a lot. Yathaypyan Cave is a cave that leads you to another world in Myanmar. I actually found this one more impressive than Saddan Cave.
At the end of Yathaypyan Cave stands beautiful rock formations but most of all an entrance for another world. This really feels like those movies where someone enters a cave and leaves it to find that dinosaurs still exist. Fortunately, I haven’t found dinosaurs, but some storks and monkeys. There were big groups of storks flying around that were impressive to see. Not as many as bats leaving the Bat Cave, but a considerable number of birds that look very big from a distance. On this other side of the cave, the landscape is flooded rice fields, so flooded that it resembles a lake. The view is wide and majestic, that’s why I like it better than Saddan cave. Because in Saddan cave you have mountains too close to have a view of the surroundings.
On the other hand, Yathaypyan Cave has such a wide view that it is the perfect spot for sunset in Hpa-An. Unfortunately, I didn’t stay for the best part of the golden hour cause I need to deliver my motorbike by 7 pm and the city center is not so near.
This is not a crowded place for sunset in Hpa-An, but be aware of the monkeys, you will not be able to enjoy the sunset eating some snacks and drinking… ☹
See my video about this day: