How to Kill Time in Mawlamyine, Myanmar

Photo credit: Dominik M. Ramík

Mawlamyine is the capital of the Mon State. The lifestyle is too slow for an urban area but too fast to be rural. Just my perfect laid back town. The colonial houses lining up the main streets has a charm of its own. It is no wonder that Rudyard Kipling and George Orwell has fallen in love with this place and has used it as a backdrop for some of their literature.

If you are looking for a party or an adventure, this place is not for you. If you are looking for peace and quite, this maybe a good pit stop for you. It's also a great place to stop before heading out to Hpa-an.

So, if you are in Mawlamyine and looking for activities to do, here are my suggestions:

1. Stay at a hotel facing the Mekong River

Photo credit: Dominik M. Ramík
For great views, book into a hotel facing the Mekong river. From the balcony, you can observe beautiful sunsets. You can also people watch while eating your breakfast.

Photo credit: Dominik M. Ramík
There is a free breakfast. It includes powdered ready mix coffee, banana, egg, two slices of bread, margarine and jam. The view of the brown river with emerald isles and the streets below was great though. There was not much traffic in the area.

I stayed at the Breeze Hotel for 7USD a night. It was a twin bedroom with thin walls and an old rickety fan. Bathroom is shared. It almost feel like a boarding house in the Philippines. There was only one socket so bringing an extension wire really helps when you backpack.

The old man who serves as the receptionist is really nice. He arranged our trip to Hpa-an by boat.

2.  Check out the colonial-era houses

Photo credit: Dominik M. Ramík
Mawlamyine is ripe in history as the first capital of British Burma. In fact, there is one part of the city that is called "Little England" because it once has a sizable Anglo-Saxon community that has since dwindled down.

Walk through the side streets and discover tiny surprises. The houses here have beautiful architectural designs. I love old buildings. They have so much character and stories to tell!

I saw unfamiliar caged animals and a tiny clinic with an interesting pharmacy. There were also these tiny home restos that served unique food and drinks. The locals were nice enough to engage conversations with.

3. Visit Kyaikthanlan Paya

Photo credit: Dominik M. Ramík

Admission is free. You would have to walk barefoot here. The best time to visit is at sunset.

4. See the Catholic Church in Mawlamyine

Photo credit: Dominik M. Ramík

Check out the facade! Don't you think it is pretty? I just sat in front of it and tried to sketch its details. It was so lovely!

Photo credit: Dominik M. Ramík

Photo credit: Dominik M. Ramík

I'm not a Catholic but I am familiar with the Catholic prayers and mass so it was interesting to follow the songs and prayers even if it was said in a different language.

I was mostly busy checking out the details on the women's clothes and the flowers on their hair and the veils and all that. The veil reminded me of Lola. She would wear one when we go to church. Each mass we attended as well as each church we went to was unique. I think I'm now putting Visita Iglesia as part of my to-do list when traveling.

"If you love me, it is natural to know me. If you love God, you would want to know Him. Do not say you are not interested in spirituality and eternal life."-D.

5. Take a day trip to Shampoo Island or Ogre Island

Too bad we didn't get to visit Shampoo Island or Gaungse Kyun. Spring waters from this island was historically used for the annual royal hair-washing ceremony. If you want to see this island, you can arrange a boat with the hotel or go to the jetty and haggle yourself.

All this writing makes me want to pack up my bag and see a new place again...


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