Hpa-An (burmese: ဘားအံမြို့)
is a lovely little town in southern Myanmar and we had time to explore it and the sourrounding places for a few days.
We got there by train from Yangon and a small bus from the train station to the town and were greeted nicely by the people on the street. Hpa-An is a bit more touristy, propably because of the many nice things around, for example the Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda:
Sourrounded by a small lake, this pagoda was a real eye-catcher! We got there after a small hiking trip just right for the sunset. The view from the other side of the lake was also pretty nice. The mountains made a very interesting backround for a photo:
Our trip started at the Lumbini Buddha Garden, where you can see hundreds of buddha statues lined up next to each other, providing a nearly monumental impression of the area. The general atmosphere was very nice, people around us prayed and monks were giving out small bracelets.
We decided to hike up the mountain for a while and ended up at a monastery with a lot of animals and old monks around, it was such a peaceful place!
Another nice place to see is the Yathaypyan Cave, which is filled with buddhas and buddhism related pictures.Its already pretty impressive when you arrive, because you can see the cave already from the road.
There are also monkeys around everywhere, but they are a bit shy and not so used to people like in other places.
We decided to walk around a bit and ended up in a dried out bay with a small fishing boat. I tried to imagine how this place looks during rainy season, hopefully a bit better^^
The landscape around Hpa-An makes you stop while on the road ;) there are many nice views to discover and I was glad we rented out motorbikes, because its much easier to stop for a moment and snap a quick picture of the scenery around.
So here are some impressions:
On our last day in Hpa-An we saw a small table on the street where people can buy betel nuts. Do you know what they are? I didn't!
Weirdly around 600 Million people in the world chew it, thats nearly 10%!
Apparently this nut is rolled into a leaf with powdered limestone and chewed. After a few minutes you spit it out and it leaves a numbing menthol-like taste in your mouth.
The desired effect is that it makes you more active and awake, also you're not hungry while you take it. Its effects are a bit like cocaine or speed.
I tried it myself and it was pretty good. I was focused, awake and full of energy. But like every drug it has a downside: It lasts for around 45 minutes and then you crash hard, exept you take another one ;)
After a betel fueled evening with some locals I had enough, I couldn't even stand the smell anymore. So I gave my remaining betel nuts away to a nice local.
In the long term the use of betel nuts can also lead to cancer, so it's best not to form a habit and quit while you still can.
(If you want to read more about betel nuts click here)
Thank you for reading! :)
Have a nice day,
all photos I post are taken by me with a Canon 6D
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