Mawlamyine is at the mouth of the Thanlwin (Satween) & Gyaing Rivers and the Attaran Creek entering the sea. Located 28 miles from the sea, it is the second busiest seaport & third largest city in Myanmar. Rail and motor road from Yangon via Bago ends at Moketama (Martaban Gulf) 169 miles and then ferry across by launch. The railroad continues south up to Ye terminal (90 miles), but the motor road continues up to Myeik (Mergui). Air flight from Yangon, sea-going vessels, coastal boats and inland-river crafts play up & down. Visitors to Mawlamyine are simply enchanted at the scenic beauty and its temperate climate. Many pagodas of renown and the highlight of the Maungngan festival is the lavish alms-giving to over a thousand monks in the month of Thadingyut (Sept-Oct). The atmosphere of post-colonial decay is still palpable here. It’s also an attractive and tropical town with a ride of stupa-capped hills on one side and the sea on the others. Mawlamyine was the capital of British Burma from 1827 to 1852, during which time it was a major teak port. Although, Pathein (Bassein) and Yangon have superseded it as Myanmar’s most important seaports, much coastal shipping still goes on. It’s the third largest city composed of 75% Mon or some mixture of Mon, Karen, Bamar, Indian and Chinese.
Kyaikmaraw Wish-granting Phaya(Pagoda)
“Kyaikmaraw” city is another famous city located in Mon State which takes only about an hour drive from Mawlamyine. Among the many popular Buddha statues in “Kyaikmaraw”, Mynmar people believe tht the wish-granting pagoda can fulfill their wishes, therefore, it is the most visited pagoda by pilgrims. It lies in the precincts of “U Khema” Monastery in town. The donor was the powerful queen of Mynamar history; Shin Saw Pu or Banya Htaw who is the Queen of Hanthawaddy. It is different from other famous pagodas. Though others are cross-legged, standing, or reclining, Kyaikmaraw Buddha is sitting with its legs hung down. The Buddha statues in the Gandhakuti Taik are numerous that one cannot count a common figure at any tally. “Gandhakuti Taik” stores ???
Maha Myat Muni Pagoda
“Mahar Myat Muni” Pagoda can be found at several cities in Myanmar. Every “Mahar Myat Muni” pagodas look exactly the same and their origin is from Rakhine State. “Mahar Myat Muni” pagoda in Mawlamyine is the most famous pagoda of all in Mawlamyine. It is cast in the likeness of Maha Myat Muni Image in Mandalay. It lies on the northern-most part to Naga with a Range in Mawlamyine.
About 34 km from Mawlamyine is “Thanbyuzayat”, and a well-kept Allied War Memorial Cemetery for prisoners-of-war who died while building the “Death Railway” during World War II; the Railway Museum and a Japanese-built pagoda in memory of the perished Japanese engineers and prisoners-of-war.
Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery
The cemetery contains 3771 graves of Allied POWs who died building the railway. The cemetery is under the maintenance of the Commonwealth War Graves commission and is reminiscent of the Tauk Kyant War cemetery near Yangon. Most of those interred were British. There are also markers for American, Dutch and Australian soldiers.
Kyaik Kami Yele Pagoda
It is located 24 km north east of Thanbyuzayut and was a small coasted area and missionary centre known as Amherst during the British annexation. The main focus of Kyaik Kami is Yele Pagoda. “Yele” in Myanmar language means in the middle of water so you can imagine that the pagoda is built in the river surrounded by islands. It is a metal roofed Buddhist shrine complex perched over the sea and reached through a long two-level causeway; the lower level is submerged during high tide. The shrine chamber beneath Yele Pagoda contains sacred hairs of the Buddha. The pagoda festival is held in October annually and is one of the famed pagoda festivals in Myanmar.
Shwe Saryan Pagoda (Thaton)
It was built by King Thuriya Sanda, and believed to have enshrined eight hair relics of Kakusana Buddha the staff of Gonaguna Buddha, the emerald alms bowl of Kassapa Buddha and four tooth relics of Gautama Buddha, in addition to gold images. It was built on Thuna Pranta Hill. It is 251 feet high, with Mya Thein Tan Pagoda or Thagya Pagoda in the east, with Shwe Chegan Pagoda on its platform, and Pitakataik Pagoda in the north. Shwe Saryan Pagoda festival is one of the famous pagoda festivals in Myanmar.
Mon Culture Museum
It is a two-storey building dedicated to the Mon history of the region. Exhibits are displayed downstairs while reading rooms are upstairs. The modest collection of the museum includes Mon inscriptions, hundred-year-old sculptures of wood, ceramics, thanaka grinding stones, silver betel boxes, an English Language letter dated 22 December 1945 from Bo Gyoke Aung San to Mo Chit Hlaing, a famous Mon Leader, lacquerware and folding manuscripts. In front of the museum you see a British cannon 1826, and a huge Myanmar gong. Most labels are in Myanmar only although some are in English. The museum opens Wednesday to Sunday from 09:30 am to 04:00 PM.