Hpa An is a great town below Yangon in Myanmar that turned out to be my favorite stop during my three-week road trip from Mandalay to Yangon. One of the first things I did when I arrived in Hpa An, was to head to Hpan Pu mountain for sunset.
How to get to Hpan Pu Mountain
There are two ways to get to Hpan Pu Mountain and you may want to consider which mode of transport suits your needs better.
The most common way to get to Hpan Pu Mountain from Hpa An town is to walk to Shwe Yin Myaw Pagoda. (I’ve added a map below so you can find the Pagoda.) This is only 10-15 minutes walk depending on where your guest house is. Once you arrive at the pagoda walk down to the bank of the river and you will find some wooden boats docked rather informally and a few wooden shacks set up. When I arrived not much was going on and I waited for a boatman to approach me. He offered to take me across for 500 Kyat, which is 50 cents. This is the amount I had heard previously so try not to pay more than this for the short voyage across the lake. We shared the boat with a few locals and 6 chickens who were tied up to a pole. The issue with taking the boat across is that you need to take the boat back and our boatman didn’t want to bring us back after sunset. We risked it and luckily there was a boat to bring us back but this is not necessarily something you can count on. We would’ve liked to stay longer at the summit but didn’t want to risk getting caught without a ride back.
Once you cross the river you will walk through a small village. There are several signs pointing towards the hike and the locals know why you are there and will point you in the right direction if you look lost.
The other option you have to reach Hpan Pu Mountain is to drive a motorbike across the bridge. You can rent one in Hpa An for 6000 Kyat, which is about $5 USD. It is a 20km drive from Hpa An town, which might seem like a long drive. However, there are many caves and attractions near Hpan Pu Mountain so you might consider spending the day at this side of the river. Having your own motorbike means you can drive all the way up to the foot of the hike and you can return at whatever time suits you, even after the sun has fully set and the last boat has cruised back across the river. If you are into your sunsets and don’t want to be rushed this is the option for you.
Hiking Mt. Hpan Pu
I use the term hiking loosely because it is a short ascent but I think it still qualifies as a hike. I stopped a lot for photos but if you want straight up at a steady pace it shouldn’t take you more than 25 minutes. It is quite steep and gets humid in the dense foliage so be prepared for a sweat fest and bring a lot of water.
The hike was quite interesting with a mix of stairs, rock and dirt steps and bamboo ladders guiding us to the top. There were a couple of viewpoints along the way, which we happily rested at in the hot, humid weather. Probably the coolest part of the hike was a bamboo watchtower that is in the middle of the hike. I have no idea what the purpose is for the watchtower but we hung out here for a while, taking in the river and the town below before continuing the ascent.
At the summit of Hpa An Mountain, a golden pagoda marks the top. From here you have panoramic views. We looked back out over Hpa An town on one side and over the farming fields towards the mountains on the other. This is bang for you buck hike. With only 25 minutes of hiking, you have some pretty epic views and manage to get a sense of the life around the region as you watch people working below and boats cruising past.