This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Hpa-an.
Hpa-an, Myanmar (Burma), is a beautiful and picturesque city in the Karen State of Myanmar. Located on the eastern side of the country, Hpa An is about three hundred kilometers east of Yangon, the capital of Myanmar. Though it is a long journey, it is also a popular destination for travelers to cross borders with Thailand by land. Travelers have plenty of options to get into and out of the city, from the quickest option of mini-buses to large tour buses, train, and even boat.
While the city of Hpa-an itself is not particularly beautiful or inspiring, it does pertain all the necessities of a growing city. There is a large central market that sells produce, fruit, and meats, as well many household goods. There are many local restaurants and guesthouses.
Hpa-an is an interesting blend of Burmese and Indian culture, which is most notable in the cuisine served in the restaurants. It's common to find Burmese dishes mixed in with traditional Indian favourites.
The surrounding mountains are the biggest draw for travelers to visit Hpa-an. The large limestone structures are imposing, and some stand singularly on the plain fields making a striking image. It is even more astonishing to visit some of these mountains up close, as many have caves that have been turned into pagodas and places of worship.
Mount Zwegabin is the highest peak in the area and challenges climbers to make their way to the top to visit the pagoda, which many locals still visit regularly. The journey up the mountain is labourious and exhausting, but the view at the top is well worth it. For a small fee, travelers can also stay the night, making it a great destination for sunrises and sunsets.
Hpa-an, Myanmar (Burma) hostels are not all that common; instead, there are plenty of budget guesthouses available. The quality of these guesthouses are all fairly basic and similar. It is difficult to pre-arrange accommodations, as many don't have an online presence and do not have a reservation system in place either. Many guesthouses work on a daily rotation system, waiting until guests check out in the afternoon before knowing if they'll have space for new guests. Furthermore, even though there are plenty of guesthouses on the main road, there still seems to be a shortage during high season. If arriving later in the evening, many accommodations might be filled up already.
Written by local enthusiast for Hpa-an hostelsCharmaine