Mawlamyine formerly Moulmein) is the capital and largest city in Mon State,Myanmar. The city sits on the coast of Taninthayi. It is the third-largest city in Myanmar,with a population of 300000. The population is estimated as 75% ethnic Mon,with minorities of Myanmar,Kayin,Indian and Chinese.During colonial times, Mawlamyine had a substantial Anglo-Burmese population; an area of the city was known as “Little England” due to the large Anglo-Burmese community, many of them engaged in the running of rubber plantations; however nowadays this has dwindled to all but a handful of families as most have left for the UK or Australia.
Mawlamyine became the first capital of British Burma between 1827 and 1852 afe Taninthayi and Rakkahine(formerly Arakan)were ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Yandabo at the end of the First Anglo-Burmese War, primarily because it was a major port for the extraction of teak. Today,Mawlamyine is famous for its tropical fruits and for its cuisine as indicated in the popular Burmese expression, “Mandalay for the speaking, Yangon for the bragging and Mawlamyine for the eating”.
It is probably best known to English speakers through the opening lines of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The Road To Mandalay”.
“By the old Moulmein pagoda
Looking lazy at the sea
There’s a Burma girl a-setting
And I know she thinks o’me”
A visit to one of the little home industries producing pipes for smoking should not be missed and maybe you meet a fisherman who can dive for a long, long time under water – it is said that they have fins…You will arrive at the south of the island at Ywa Lut and cross the island by pick-up truck, departing at the north of the island in Chaungsone. Unfortunately there’s not enough time to see all the 100 villages on that island!
Picturesquely located at the river bank of the Ataran River, this small town is easily reached because of its quite good road condition-the roads are sealed! Flanked by toddy palms and rubber plantations, the road passes through eight villages before ending in Kyaikmayaw. Stroll around the charming town with its simple Myanma wooden houses, some covered with palm leaves, others with metal. It’s also really worth your time to visit.
Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery
The village of Thanbyuzayat is 65 kilometers south of the port of Moulmein, and the war cemetery lies at the foot of the hills which separate the Union of Myanmar from Thailand. Travel from Yangon to Moulmein is possible by both rail and road. Road conditions may vary, depending on the season, and the trip may take up to 8 hours. Only those in good health should attempt the journey.
The notorious Burma-Siam railway, built by Commonwealth, Dutch and American prisoners of war, was a Japanese project driven by the need for improved communications to support the large Japanese army in Burma. During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 civilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted in Siam (Thailand) and Burma (Myanmar). Two labour forces, one based in Siam and the other in Burma worked from opposite ends of the line towards the centre. The Japanese aimed at completing the railway in 14 months and work began in October 1942. The line, 424 kilometers long, was completed by December 1943. The graves of those who died during the construction and maintenance of the Burma-Siam railway (except for the Americans, whose remains were repatriated) were transferred from camp burial grounds and isolated sites along the railway into three cemeteries at Chungkai and Kanchanaburi in Thailand and Thanbyuzayat in Myanmar. Thanbyuzayat became a prisoner of war administration headquarters and base camp in September 1942 and in January 1943 a base hospital was organized for the sick. The camp was close to a railway marshalling yard and workshops, and heavy casualties were sustained among the prisoners during Allied bombing raids in March and June 1943. The camp was then evacuated and the prisoners, including the sick, were marched to camps further along the line where camp hospitals were set up. For some time, however, Thanbyuzayat continued to be used as a reception centre for the groups of prisoners arriving at frequent intervals to reinforce the parties working on the line up to the Burma-Siam border. Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery was created by the Army Graves Service who transferred to it all graves along the northern section of the railway, between Moulmein and Nieke. There are now 3,149 Commonwealth and 621 Dutch burials of the Second World war in the cemetery.
No. of Identified Casualties: 3617
Prior permission is not needed for tourists to travel to the cemetery, however it is recommended that up-to-date travel advice on Myanmar is obtained prior to your journey, from a government travel advice source such as: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, U.K –http://www.fco.gov.uk/travel/ Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia – http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/ Foreign Affairs, Canada –http://www.voyage.gc.ca/ Ministry of External Affairs, India – http://meaindia.nic.in/ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand –http://www.mft.govt.nz/travel/ Department of Foreign Affairs, South Africa – http://www.dfa.gov.za/consular/
Additional support is welcome and a formal organization has been registered in Myanmar “The Burma-Thailand Railway Memorial Association” to receive and acknowledge such support. The Myanmar Government has encouraged the formation of the support group and has assisted in a number of ways to move the museum support program forward. The Committee is prepared to assist interested parties who may wish to visit the Thanbuzayat area with advice and contacts for reliable travel services in Myanmar.
Kyaikkami is a resort town in the Mon State of south-east Myanmar. Formerly known as Amherst, named after WilliamAmherst, 1st Earl Amherst, then governor-general, it is situated on a peninsula about 48 km (30 mi) south of the town of Mawlamyine. It is a popular destination for local pilgrims and some tourists. The town has a pagoda (Kyaik-kami Ye le Pha Ya) just constructed on the sea using the natural foundation of its ocean reefs, which is connected with the corridor to the beach and always attracts the people for the festival of donations over the sea-tides. It was originally a settlement of the Mon people, but modern Kyaikkami was founded by the British during the annexation of Tenasserim and Arakan states after the First Burmese War (1824–1826). The town was a fishing village of the Mon but it used to be a certain head-quarter for British commanding officers for their southern-Burma control.
Hpa-an is a capital of Kayin State, Recently removed from the restricted list of travel destinations. Possible to reach it by road from Yangon across a new Bridge (Thanlwin ) over the Thanlwin River. Hpa-an is small town but busy commerce center you can see farmer coming to town in horse carts or trishaws stacked with baskets or mass to sell in the market. Most of people are Kayin. The small capital of Kayin State is recently accessible for tourists – either by boat from Mawlamyine or by car from Kyaiktiyo – and still unknown to many travelers, but very well known among Buddhist pilgrims who have to live strictly on vegetable while traveling to this area. Their destination is the revered monk Thar Manya, who dwells on top of the Tharmanya Hill. Now, the body of reverend monk lies in State.
The Zwekabin Hill has a very unusual shape, which, once seen, is not easily forgotten stands out 800 meters above the lowland and is a milestone for the Kayin people living in this lush plain. A climb of hundreds of uneven steps to the monastery on the peak will reward you with an outstanding view. The leading town in the northern section is Thandaung. It is a very beautiful hill station and an important tea, coffee and fruit producing region.
Kawgun cave is located near Kawgun village, which is two miles distance from Hpa An township, Kayin State. It is a natural lime stone cave and measures 200 ft height and 300 ft length. The rock surfaces are profusely decorated with different kinds of clay Buddha images and votive tablets. It is a rare cave in the lower Myanmar. According to the style of the Buddha images it can be datable to 15th century A.D. Hanthawaddy period.
Thaton was a center of a Mon Kingdom which stretched from the Ayeyarwaddy delta region to as far as Cambodia. Like the Burmese and Thai, some modern Mons have tried to identify their ethnicity and specifically this kingdom at Thaton, with the semi-historical kingdom of Suwarnabhumi (“The Golden Land”): today, this claim is contested by many different ethnicities in South-East Asia, and contradicted by scholars. In the kingdom of Dvaravati, Thaton was an important seaport on the Gulf of Martaban, for trade with Indaia and Sir Linka. Shin Aranhan, also called Dhammadassi, a monk born in Thaton and raised and educated in Nakhorn Pathom, an old capital of the Mon kingdom of Dvaravadi, now in Thailand, took Theravada Buddhism north to the Burmese kingdom of Bagan. In 1057, king Anawrahta of Bagan conquered Thaton.