Mawlamyine and Mon State

Mawlamyine (Moulmein)

Situated at the mouth of the Thanlwin River (Salween River), Mawlamyine is the third largest city in the country and was the capital of British Burma between 1827 and 1852. This is a charming, sleepy tropical town off the main tourist trail and the major centre of Mon culture. This is a place to relax, chat with the locals, admire the colonial buildings, ride the ancient buses and wander the pagodas fringing the city, made famous by the verse of Rudyard Kipling.

Mahamuni Pagoda.

This typical Mon-style pagoda is the largest and most beautiful pagoda in the city. Built on the ridge on the edge of the city the pagoda contains a revered, centuries-old Buddha image.

Kyaikthanlan Pagoda.

Situated on the same ridge, this is the tallest stupa in the city standing 150 feet high. The pagoda was built in 875 and it is said to contain a hair of the Buddha. This is a popular pilgrimage site and boasts fantastic views over the city.

Queen Sein Don Monastery.

This was originally Queen Sein Don’s residence. The much-loved Queen of King Mindon donated this mansion to her revered abbot on her death in 1905. The building contains many features of Mandalay Palace including a scale replica of the Lion Throne. The corridors are lines with gilded carved figures and the interior is decorated with intricately-carved, thickly-gilded floral designs.

Shampoo Island.

The island is so-named because this was the location of the spring that supplied the water for the annual royal hair-washing ceremony performed during the Ava period. There is a small pagoda and meditation centre on this quiet island and views back across the water to the city.

Mon State.

Known as Amherst during the British colonial era this was the site of the first Judson Baptist mission in Myanmar. The main attraction today is Yele Pagoda, a shrine perched over the sea and reached via a partly tidal causeway. The pagoda is said to contain 11 Buddha hairs and a Buddha image which is said to have floated here from Sri Lanka in ancient times.


Setse is a colonial beach resort, established at a time when nearby Mawlamyine (Moulmein) was the capital of British Burma and the busiest teak-exporting port in the Empire. Relax for a couple of hours here on the casuarinas-lined beach, talk to locals who rarely see foreigners and explore the beach temple.

Yadana Taung.

The local meditation centre has long been well known within Myanmar, but the main attraction here is the immense, recently-built reclining Buddha image. The image, 183 metres (600 feet) long is the longest reclining Buddha image in the world. For comparison, Bangkok’s far more famous reclining Buddha at Wat Pho is a mere 46 metres long.


This town is infamous as the Western terminus of the ‘Death Railway’ from Thailand, built during WWII by the Japanese using prisoner of war (POW) labour. The name means ‘Shed of iron sheet’ and refers to the structure at the end of the line. The Commonwealth War Graves commission maintains the war cemetery which contains 3,771 graves of British and other Allied troops. There is a memorial south of the town centre featuring a locomotive and statue of a worker.

Myanmar Cycling Tours tailor-makes visits to Mawlamyine and surrounding Mon state by air-conditioned car starting from Yangon. We recommend spending at least 3 full days for a tour to the city and surrounding area. Our most popular tour arrangement in this area is a 5 day round-trip from Yangon which also takes in Bago, Taukkyan War Cemetery, Mt Kyaiktiyo and Hpa-An. All tours to the area can be extended and personalised to your preference.

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/phippine/public_html/ on line 332