How to get to Kayin State
It can be reached in 8 hours by driving from Yangon. In the north a road leads to Thandaung from Toungoo in Bago Division. Mawchi-Mawchi road passes through the Kayin State. In the south, the Yangon-Mottama Road branches out to Pha-an via Thaton and Myaing Galay. There is another road from Mawlamyine to Pha-an. Kayin State still has no rail service but it is well provided with natural waterways. The Thanlyin river is one of the major transport routes. River boats from Mawlamyine can sail upstream to Shwegun in the north of Pha-An, the capital. Along the Ataran river boats are able to connect Kya-In-Seik-Gyi with Mawlamyine. Visitors to Pha-An normally arrive by road from Thaton on Yangon – Mawlamyine highway. Some tourists come by boat from Mawlamyine.
The small capital of Kayin State is only recently accessible for tourists – either by boat from Mawlamyine or by car from Kyaiktiyo – and still unknown to many travellers, but very well known among Buddhist pilgrims who have to be strictly on vegetarain food while travelling to this area. Their destination is the revered monk Thar Manya, who lives on top of of the Tharmanya Hill. Pha An, although small it is a very busy commerce center where you can see farmers coming to town by horsecarts or trishaws which are stacked with baskets full of commodities to be sold in the local market.
On the other side of the lake, just cross the bridge, is a small Museum displaying Karen Culture. Thamanya Monastery is located 23 miles south-east of Hpa-an beside the Hpa-an – Kawkareik road. This place is very famous for the most venerable monk “Thamanya Sayardaw”, passed away in 2003. Pilgrims all over the country come to pay homage so it is always full of pilgrims and devotees.
has a very unusual shape, which, once seen, is not easily forgotten. Rises around 650 Meter steeply from the plains. A pagoda is on top for those who are fit enough to walk up to the top. It takes app. 2 hours, but the view over the river and the plains will compensate you for the strenuous walk. There is also a monastery on the top. Kawgun cave is located near Kawgun village, which is two miles distance from Hpa An township. It is a natural lime stone cave and measures 200 fts height and 300 fts length. The rock surface is profusely decorated with different kinds of clay Buddha images and votive tablets. It is a rare cave in the lower Myanmar. According to the style of the Buddha images it can be datable to 15th century A.D. Hanthawaddy period. Bayin Nyi Cave is closer to Thaton and makes an ideal stop on the way to Yangon.There is a hot spring with bathing possibility. Soon after the end of the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1852, when Lower Myanmar was annexed, the British using imported Indian labourers first developed Thandaung as a hill station. Thandaung is only 200 miles away from Yangon and can be reached by car or bus on a half day's journey.
If visitors prefer using the railway, they can ride the train from Yangon to Taungoo in about six hours, and from Taungoo to Thandaung it is only 27 miles up by car passing through lush virgin forests, see cascading mountain streams and climb gradually to over 4,000 feet, to reach Thandaung. Thandaung is a very beautiful hill station and an important tea, coffee and fruit producing region. It is the landmark of the Kayin state.