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The South of Myanmar

PA-AN

Global Mark : 12.56

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
5 5 1 2 2 3 4 1 2 11.11

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
2 100% 50% 100% 14 14.00


Description :
An extended set of tropical villages by a river. 

Comments : Your first impression might be negative but after walking a bit off the busy main street, you may wish to extend your stay...

What to do ? Escape the main street / Wander around the numerous "villages" / Cross plenty of basic wooden bridges to more basic wooden houses with basic leafy roofs / Discover jack fruit & mango trees / Make kids laugh & everyone's head turn / Discover a charming market / Make a cure of fresh mango (K20 a piece) / Take the shade of huge trees by the river / Watch a match of legs-volley bamboo-ball / Experience sunset by a temple / If time (40km away, K150 one way), follow the crowd toward politically correct Thamanyat Kuang, a Buddhist village with a monk who favor the democracy movement / If even more time, visit a cave, a round lake or get up to the temple on top of the great looking karst formation on the opposite side of the river (boat crossing at 6am but certainly more with some money talks...) / In the (too) early morning, follow the local people : go to the market and wake up the roosters !

What you may not like ? The bad offer of accommodations / Having difficulties getting reliable info / The noisy & busy main street / Getting too much attraction / Running out of film as the place and the people are quite photogenic / Repeating too many times the same lines / The mosquitoes & numerous other flies attracted by the lights / On the bus, having to pay for Kyaiktyo (3 hours) the same price as for Yangon (12 hours) / Having little control over your wake up time...

How long ? One day only ? 


Where to stay ? No good place unfortunately in Pa-an : all are rather basic & dirty and serve no breakfast...

  • Prince Motel, opposite the bus station / $10 per person for room w. AC & shower but it is dirty & unpleasant
  • Parami Hotel (21647), not far from the clock tower / Sgl $5, Dbl w. AC $10, Trpl w. AC & shower $20 / Very basic & quite depressing rooms 
  • Soe Brothers GH (21372), No46 Thilsa Rd, in front of the police station / Very tiny Sgl w. shared AC $4, Dbl w. AC & shower $5 / Go there for the cleanest & most comfortable Dbl in town at good price / What you may not like : is this really the best I can get ?
  • Royal GH, by the jetty / Sgl $3, Dbl w. AC $6, Trpl w. AC & shower $10 / Go there for the cheapest bed in town but it is tiny, noisy, basic & dirty... 

Where to eat ? Not too many choices around here... The Indian restaurant by Royal GH serves adequate snacks. For dinner, test your luck with any of the small local restaurants (but ask for the price first) or the Chinese Restaurant Khit-Thit near the market. 

 << Discover some aspects of the villages


Backpacker's Tips : Jean-Marc Delatre, France (Sept 00)
 If you want to taste the "Tan Ye" or Sky Bier (fermented juice made with Toddy Palm fruit, homemade, not strong), go to the "harbour" (towards the pagoda), and you will be perhaps approached as I was for a tasting. 2 " bottles " = 60 K Not so bad, and friendly moment.


How to leave ? All the bus companies have representing shops near the mosque so there is no need to go to the far-away bus station. 

To Yangon, buses in the morning (7:30) or in the evening (17:00). It takes 12 hours and cost K600 (ordi) or K700 (AC)

To Kyaiktyo, the situation is a bit more confusing. The most comfortable bet would be to board one of the morning bus going to Yangon (3 hours, K600). Direct pick-up also depart in the early morning in front of the pagoda (3 hours, K400). And finally, pick-up by the mosque go regularly to Tha Ton (K200) from where there are connecting pick-up (another K200).

To Mawlamyine, a boat depart at 10am for the 2 hours trip. Ordinary class is K40 but foreigners could soon be charged $2, as it is the case from the other direction. Buses go at 6:30, 7, 9, 12 & 15 for K150. Pick-up also do the trip but in less scenic conditions (except if on the roof)


The trip to Kyaiktyo : SSS / L&R / K400 / 4 hrs / Pick-up's wet roof

I had set up my alarm clock at 5:30 but the town people, in general, and guesthouse guests, in particular, thought it was too late. 4:30 would give me more time to enjoy the great atmosphere of the guesthouse and my no-breakfast. It also let me experience the colorful market. 

The pick-up to Yangon showed up at the pagoda on time : 6am. Starting to have a little bit of experience about those transport's species, I insisted to climb to the roof as soon as it started filling up. Sitting on a bag of rice, I had a great 1.5 hours' ride toward Tha Thon (a big pagoda). But everyone had to get down before entering town : a dozen people hanging outside are apparently considered safer...

After a short break, we were off again and I was up again, this time lying on my bag. The rain tried to have me down again inside the crowded area but I courageously resisted with a couple of comrades.
We reached Kyaiktiyo at 10am sharp, after so many stops and wait that it was a real surprise. I had indeed been told that we would arrive at 11am only. Did my watch miss something ?

From the main street, I walked 5mn toward the train station and boarded a vehicle to Kinpun, the camp base. The truck took 30mn to fill up, then 30mn to get empty. The process cost K40.


See also the trip from Mawlamyine