Hiking to the top of Hpan Pu Mountain, also known as Pha Bhu Taung Pagoda is one of the awesome things you can do in Hpa An. The short hike of around 20 – 25 minutes is a perfect way to enjoy the incredible landscape of Hpa An. With views as far as the eyes can see, you will have an incredible view on the river, mountains and village. The hike is quite interesting with a mix of stairs, rocks and dirt steps leading to the top. You will also pass a pagoda and locals homes. When we did the hike in February 2020, the bamboo ladder was broken, so unfortunately it is not possible anymore to get to the top of the mountain. But there is still a viewpoint with a cement platform where you can sit down and enjoy the view, for example with sunset! Read in this blog post all the tips you need before doing the Hpan Pu mountain hike.
How to get to Hpan Pu mountain
There are two ways to get to the start point of the Hpan Pu mountain, via the road or across the river with a local boat. It depends if you have a rental scooter and if you are confident enough to drive it yourself. Otherwise you can also arrange a TukTuk to drop you off and pick you up after you’re done with the hike.
If you have your own rental scooter 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. So if you don’t want to be rushed this is the option for you.
It is a 20km drive from Hpa An town with beautiful views along the way. There are many caves and other attractions near Hpan Pu Mountain, so if you have a rental scooter you might consider to spend a whole afternoon at this side of the river. We rented a scooter for 10 000 Kyat per day in Hpa Pan.
If you would like to go via the river, there is a local boat going to the other side. Once you cross the river you have to walk through a small village where several signs are pointing towards the hike. You will get to the docked boats from Hpa An town if you walk to Shwe Yin Myaw Pagoda which takes about 10-15 minutes. There you have to walk down to the bank of the river where you will see some wooden boats docked. A local boatman can bring you to the other side of the river for around 500 Kyat. But you have to make sure you will get a boat ride back. Arrange this up front or don’t be later than 6.30PM when the last boat leaves back to Hpa An town.
Best time to do the Hpan Pu mountain hike
The best time to do this hike is before sunset so you can enjoy the beautiful colors from the top of the mountain. It will also be less humid. Hiking during midday is not advisable because of the heat. Of course you can also do this hike early morning, but for the most magical view sunset is the best!
The best season to do this hike is right after rainy season, which means September – January. When burning season starts at the end of January, farmers burn their land which results in a lot of smoke. Because of this, the views are less clear. You can see it in our pictures that there is a lot of haze which is a pity! Because if you have a clear view, you will see the beautiful mountains of Hpa An in the backdrop with the river in front.
The hazy view from Hpan Pu mountain
What to expect during the Hpan Pu mountain hike
Once you arrive at the start point of the hike, you will see the stairs going up to the pagoda. This is the path you need to take to the top of Hpan Pu mountain. The hike itself is with a mix of stairs, rocks and dirt steps leading to the top. You will also pass local homes, and on some points it can be a bit confusing what the right way is to go. That’s why I took this picture of the paths you need to take.
There is a lot of loose gravel and sharp rocks, so your full attention is required during the hike to not have any slips. Because of this, it is also really important to wear good hiking shoes. You will need the grip and support for you feet. I’ve seen people doing this hike on flipflops, and they were struggling big time! Especially when you get sweaty feet, you will slip easily in flipflops.
Unfortunately when we did the hike in February 2020, the bamboo ladder and watch tower were broken. There was just a pile of bamboo, the left over from the watch tower, on a cement viewpoint. Also the ladder towards the golden pagoda, which is actually the real top of the mountain, was broken. So we couldn’t get to the real ‘summit’ of this hike. But still the view was very worth it!
Make sure to pack a headlamp or torch if you go with sunset because it gets dark very quickly. And because the path is very uneven with sharp rocks and gravel, you really want to see where you put your feet.
The view from Hpan Pu mountain. You can see the leftovers from the bamboo ladder on the right side
Other things to do in Hpa An
There are many other interesting things to do in Hpa An. If you love hiking and nature, you also will love to hike the Taung Wine mountain, or the even more challenging 2,5 hour hike to the top of Mount Zwegabin. But there are also lots of cultural things to do in Hpa An, like exploring the caves and pagodas.
Read in this complete guide about all the best things to do in Hpa An
The Taung Wine mountain hike with an incredible view on Hpa-An and the surrounding area
Best time to visit Hpa An
The best time to visit Hpa An to admire its true natural beauty is right after the rain season. The whole landscape will be lush green then and temperatures very pleasant to hike and explore. Since rainy season in Myanmar lasts from June until September, that means the very best months to visit are October, November and December. In January – February the burning season starts. This means that farmers burn their land which results in a lot of smoke in the air and less green landscape. Sunrises and sunsets will be very hazy which makes it less attractive to make beautiful pictures. The hot season in Myanmar is from March until June, which is the worst season to go because temperatures can rise to 40 degrees! You certainly don’t want to hike or explore with that heat! But you also shouldn’t be discouraged to go to Myanmar in rainy season because it might only rain for 3 days in one month.
How to get around in Hpa An
The best way to get around in Hpa An is by renting a scooter. For 10 000 Kyat a day we rented a scooter and we were free to go! Most of the Hpa An attractions are a few kilometers outside of the city situated. So if you are not confident to drive a scooter yourself, you can also rent a private TukTuk for a day trip. The price will be around 35 000 Kyat.
The roads in Hpa An are pretty good, but for some locations you have to drive on unpaved roads. These can be a bit bumpy and very dusty, especially in burning season! So whether you are on a bike or in a TukTuk, wear a mouth mask to prevent yourself from the dust.