Hpa-an is the capital city of Kayin State; also known as ‘Karen State’; located on the eastern bank of the Thanlwin (Salween) River, about 270 kilometers east of Yangon and 150 kilometers west of Myawaddy/Mae Sot border. Hpa-an is literally translated as ‘Frog vomit’ referring to the story of a naga that swallowed a frog which was carrying a crystal inside its mouth and because of this crystal, the naga was mysteriously stopped from swallowing the frog, making it to vomit the frog onto the Thanlyin river banks which is where Hpa-An is located today. If you go to Shwe Yinh Myaw Pagoda located on the river bank of Thanlwin River, you will see a gigantic statue of a green frog and a naga referring to the story behind the name ‘Hpa-an’.
Hpa-an is a wonderland of beautiful landscapes, a perfect limestone ridge protruding through the splendid green rice paddies. Visit Hpa-an is the chance for you to see the countryside, where you get to play around caves, swim in spring-sustained pools and climb through the jungle-wrapped Mount Zwegabin and Kyauk Kalat Pagoda, resting on a steep edge of a rock, will blow away the minds of even those suffering from overexposure of pagoda, as well as the opportunity to explore the various Kayin villages.
Today, the new highway from Myanmar-Thai border to Hpa-an is getting improved and will connect with India-Myanmar border.
How to Get to Hpa-an?
By air: There is no direct flight to Hpa-an as of now (2018).
By bus: Hpa-an can be reached by bus from Yangon, Mawlamyine, and Myawaddy-Mae Sot border. From Yangon to Hpa-an, it takes about 6 hours, and 1 hour's drive from Myanmar-Thai border. Myawaddy is served by minibuses and shared taxis. They will leave whenever they have sufficient passengers. For private taxi/transfer service, please contact here.
By boat: Hpa-an can be reached by boat down the picturesque Than Lwin (Salween) River from Mawlamyine.