Mawlamyine is the capital of Mon State with a population of nearly 400,000 and the fourth largest city in the country after Naypyidaw, Mandalay and Yangon. On first sight it doesn’t appear to be much, but there is plenty for the tourist on the Myanmar local tour package to see and do, such as touring the nearby Siam-Burma "death railway”, wooden buses from World War II, and stunning colonial architecture.
The main sightseeing tour on the Myanmar travel packages in this region is the Kyaikthanlan pagoda which was constructed in approx 875. The Thanlwin Bridge is the longest rail and road bridge (spanning 11,000-ft) in the country and a further popular landmark. Even though this isn’t one of the most accessible regions, it is still well worth a visit for its long history and culture. It is only accessible by road and a drive from Yangon can take a full day to complete. Plus, this isolated location means there are limited visitors to make it a more authentic tour of the bygone Myanmar days.
Plus, the lively waterfront has a near constant flow of passenger ferries, river taxis and fishing boats departing and arriving from the different ports.
The preferred time to visit and explore Mawlamyine on the Myanmar travel tour is throughout the months of December to April when the weather is warm and pleasant. Most travellers should avoid travelling from June to August when the rainy season is taking place, which can present difficulties in touring the local area.
How to get there
The closest international airport to Mawlamyine is located in Yangon, which is then following by a 7 hour bus ride to reach the city.
Alternatively, a train journey is possible to Yangon to Thaton, and then the remainder of the trip (approx 25 miles) is completed using the local bus service. The train ride from Yangon takes in the region of 9 hours to complete. Train journeys aren’t the more comfortable with no sleeper trains available. The cost of travelling is about $2-$5 which varies with ordinary or upper class.
Using the local bus service is a further option with regular trips taking place from Yangon, while a minibus trip can be completed in a shorter time.
There are plenty of ways to get around in Mawlamyine with the most popular choices including the moto-taxis, pick-up van taxis and tuk-tuk. A moto-taxi can cost in the region of $1-$2 for trips ranging from a small hop around town to going further out, such as the local bus or train station. A ride on a tuk-tuk can cost slightly more with a price range of about $7.50 for up to two hours of use.
Other options include hiring a motorbike for the day, which can cost $8 for the day for a relatively new Honda. Most of the guesthouse and hotels can help with hiring out the bikes. Plus, there are the mountain bike rentals that go for about $4.50 per day.
Where to stay
The guest house and hotel accommodation in Mawlamyine has seen a great improvement in recent years with plenty of places to stay on the Myanmar tours and holidays for the tourist in the budget and mid-range bracket.
A stay at the Cinderella Hotel is one of the finest places to relax in town and because of its popularity, it is necessary to book early during the high season (and even still quite busy during the low season). The rooms are spacious and kept clean and cost in the region of $20 to $40 per night. Plus, it is well located to make it easy to reach the best places in town.
The Attran Hotel is a pleasant stay with plenty of large and open bungalows that are spotless and have a nice balcony to give perfect views of the river. All of the bungalows have spacious rooms with a great bedroom and lounge area. The cost per night at the Attran Hotel is $40 to $100.
Eat and drink
A great place to visit for the local restaurants is Strand Road; this long road not only provides some of the finest restaurants in town but also gives the fantastic sea views. Elsewhere there are plenty of tea and curry shops located close to Lower Main Road and the market area. However, for the sit down eateries, the best place to visit is the waterfront.
A visit to My City Cafe is great for those interested in mostly western offerings and fresh juices and coffee. Popular items on the menu include veggie burgers, salads and sandwiches. Plus, there are plenty of choices when it comes to pizzas, which cost in the region of $3.50 to $7.50. For those interested in the more traditional dishes, there is a choice of fried rice.
For the travellers interested in the street food scene, there are plenty of choices down by the riverfront, which is great for seafood dishes like prawns, squid and whole fish. Other dishes include the traditional noodles and soups. Most of the stalls down by the night market open late afternoon until about 10pm.
A walk through the local Mawlamyine's markets makes it possible to experience a taste of the local life. Most of the markets, such as the New Market and Central Market are best visited early in the morning – although there is also the wet market that is open in the afternoon.
Some of the great items on the stalls include plenty of clothing and household goods, as well as a variety of interesting seafood and a fresh food section and a great choice of herbs, fruits and vegetables. The markets have a few food stalls ready to serve local dishes and drinks to stay energized.
Things to see and do
There are plenty of hilltop pagodas and temples to visit throughout Mawlamyine with the most prestigious and largest including Mahamuni Pagoda. This is a very attractive sight to explore and gives great views of the local surroundings. The preferred time to visit is early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
Other temples to visit in the local area on the Myanmar travel packages include the Kyaik Than Lan Paya and Uzina Paya which are appreciated for their religious significance and also the sweeping views.