Want a badass yet spiritual, active adventure? Yes, I know you do.
When I came to Myanmar, I came with very few specific things I wanted to do because I find that going wherever the wind blows me works out best. Yet, sleeping in a monastery on top of Mount Zwekabin was one of my three Burmese bucklist items. (The others being sleeping in one of Bagan’s temples and riding the scenic 14 hour train from Hsipaw to Mandalay. Check and check 😉 ) To say the least, this adventure was no doubt one of the highlights of my trip.
So if you catch yourself in Myanmar, take a trip to Hpa-an in Karen State from Yangon. It’s a great place to spend 2 or 3 days if you have time. Yet you obviously only need one night to stay on this mountain. I recommend staying at the Galaxy Motel when you get to Hpa-an. Kim and family are so incredibly nice and will you help you with everything, like bag storage and taxi’s back and forth to the mountain.
What you need for your trip:
- obviously sneakers and water for the hike up.
- something to cover your knees and shoulders when you reach the pagoda
- 5000 kyats for the overnight donation & at least 5000 more for dinner and breakfast (the prices are negotiable for food)
- a camera for the amazing sunset & sunrise
- BUG SPRAY
I started my hike at about 3pm so it wasn’t too hot and reached the top about an hour before sunset. This is also the time when the MONKEYS climb up the mountain and expect you to feed them. There are SO MANY MONKEYS. Make sure not to put your bags down, they like to steal phones. (Luckily the monks are good are getting them back, thank goodness) Another unexpected animal that lives atop the mountain are CRABS. Strange, right?!
When I hiked up, there were surprisingly 6 other foreigners up there spending the night as well. It’s a great place to meet more adventurous people. If you do this at the beginning of your trip, it’s a great place to meet potential future travel buddies which is enjoyable and almost essential since accommodations can be pricey throughout Myanmar. It was an incredible night!
SPECIAL TIP: There are two routes you can take to the top. You want to start on the side of the mountain that is OPPOSITE the Lumbini Buddha Garden. The hike up is waaayy more beautiful and way easier. 😉 The Lumbini Garden hike side is way steeper so it’s easier to come down this way. (Kim from the Galaxy Motel will help arrange your taxi driver to drop you off and pick you up the following morning on opposite sides of the mountain for 4000 kyats.) It took me about 1.5 hours to go up and 1 hour to come back down. In addition, I made many friends at the bottom while waiting for my taxi ride back. 🙂
This is definitely an opportunity you do not want to miss if you are traveling Myanmar! I hope I helped 🙂 Good luck!
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