Kyaikhtiyo


highlights kyaikhtyoKyaikhtiyo Pagoda, known to the world as Golden Rock is located in the ancient kingdom of Suvannabhumi (golden land). This small 18 feet high pagoda is built on a gilded boulder, 25 meters in circumference, and balanced on what appears to be a very precarious position on a tabular rock that is jutting out from the Paung-laung ridge of the Eastern Yoma Mountains. Kyaikhtiyo lies at 1,100 m above sea-level, and 180 km away from Yangon. It will take approximately 6 hours to drive to the base camp call Kinponsakan, from the second stage of the journey is made on an open truck from the base camp to the top of Rathedaung. From the here travellers can chose whether they want to take the truck all the way to the top or to walk 1.5km to the top. As an easier alternative to walking, four porters can carry visitors in sedan chairs for a fee.

highlights kyaikhtiyo1At the top of the mountain there is ample resources to freshen up at many of the hotels and restaurants present there.  The legend of Kyaikhtiyo recounts back to the 11th century when King Tissa received a strand of the Buddha's hair from an old hermit to be built on a boulder resembling the hermit’s head. Thus, the rock was found at the bottom of the sea and carried to the top of the mountain. The boulder was placed on the tabular rock and its delicate balance is said to be maintained by the precise placement of Buddha’s hair. This pagoda was named Khyaik-ei-thi-yo, which in Mon means "pagoda borne on a hermit's head." A deep gorge separates the platform on the Paunglaung Ridge from the Pagoda standing on the gilded, hermit-head shaped boulder. The iron bridge spanning the gorge is used by male devotees to pay closer homage to the Pagoda and to cover the boulder with gold leaves.

Thaton

thatoneOnce the capital of the flourishing Mon Kingdom of Suvannabhumi during the 3rd Century BC, Thahton has lost much of its former grandeur and importance.  Situated due east of Yangon across the gulf of Moattama, it is located on the route from Yangon to Moattama. Thahton is the historical birthplace of Theravada Buddhism in Myanmar. Two missionaries were sent by Indian king Asoka to introduce Theravada Buddhism to Myanmar during the time when Thahton was thriving due to its extensive trade with South India and Sri Lanka. In the 11th Century, Shin Arahan, a monk from Thahton went north to Bagan and converted King Anawrahta to Theravada Buddhism. Anawrahta's religious zeal led to his conquest of Thahton in AD 1057 when he obtained not only the Tripitakas (Buddha's teaching) that he desired, but also captured the Mon King and held him captive; thereby, introducing the influences of Mon culture in the Myanmar capital. Today, Thahton has been reconstructed over the ruins of the ancient city, and very little of the ancinet Mon dynasty can be witnessed. What remains are traces of the city walls and pagodas of interest such as the Shwesaryan which is believed to date back to the 5th Century BC.

Hpa - An

Hpa-An,  the capital of the Kayin State is about 170 miles away from Yangon on the eastern bank of the Than Lwin (Salween) river. It can also be reached by boat from Mawlamying. The picturesque Mt. Zwekapin is only 10 miles away from Hpa-An, and provides an engaging view upon the landscape. The Ethnological Museum and the Main Market are some interesting places that can be visited in the city apart from observing the daily village lifestyles of different Kayin tribal settlements situated along the river bank.