Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hpa An - Caves and a mushroom rock temple

Our next overnight destination was Mawlamyine. Myo sang us some Burmese songs during the drive, and we stayed at a nice waterside hotel and watched a lovely sunset drinking cheap rum and coke. We didn't visit the temples here, but the Kyaik Than Lan Paya is where Rudyard Kipling is thought to have written Road to Mandalay.

For me though, today was about the places we visited on the way, around the Hpa An area, which were two of my favourite places in Myanmar, and I would definitely recommend both to future visitors.

Our first stop was at the Kawgun caves. The monkeys running around may demand your food, but your attention should certainly be on the caves themselves - and perhaps on avoiding treading on the monkey poo with your bare feet!

There isn't a lot to say about the caves really, so I am just going to post a few photos. In case you can't see them properly, all of those little red figures in rows on the walls are little individual Buddha images.

My photos don't do the place justice at all, but I hope you get an idea at least of how beautiful the decorations in these caves were.

Our second stop was the Kyauk Kalap monastery where, if you are so inclined, you can partake of a free vegetarian meal. But we weren't there for the meal, we were there to see the mushroom rock temple. Although I did finally get around to trying the freshly pressed sugar cane juice, which was tasty and very refreshing in the heat.

If you do visit here, and do go up to the temple, you might want to allow yourself a little bit longer than you expect to need. We found that here, more than anywhere see we visited, people were fascinated by us and I and a couple of the other women were constantly being stopped by people to have our photos taken with them.

Some would ask first, other times I would just find that someone was suddenly holding my arm and posing with me. Sometimes it would be just one person, other times there would be a whole group and they would each take a turn for their photo opportunity. It was always friendly, but it did mean that it took a lot longer to get around.

OK, the temple on the rock is nothing special in itself, but the overall sight was pretty impressive. Personally, I would much rather see this than the big gold painted rock at Kyaiktiyo.

Oh, and I finally got around to getting a bag of the pressed sugar cane juice.

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