Site Name: Doesn’t have one yet. I’m calling it Mottama Hills
Area: Mottama (aka Moke Ta Ma) Village, Paung Township, Mon State, Myanmar
In the hills behind the town of Mottama are many pagodas and Buddhist sites that are not frequented by tourists. Whilst some of these are quite run down and dilapidated, others are beautifully unique – and who doesn’t want to have a site all to themselves?
Some of the most notable points of interest in the area are:
– A small building that houses a tunnel to the Thai border. The site used to be a palace and this was their escape tunnel. It is believed to be full of water now and is disused and completely unsafe. Please don’t go into it!!
– Many pagodas, including one with an adjoining palm wine stall and one with a giant concrete ship attached.
– An all white pagoda.
– The body of a monk who died 8 years ago. The body appears mummified as it has not decomposed. We are told that this happened naturally because he was so pure and nothing was done to him.
– Amazing views
There are a couple of options here. You could hire a local guide who will take you around these sites, give you the history of the sites and speak with anyone on site to make sure that you don’t miss anything.
Or you could do this yourself. There is no signage or information at the sites though, but they are relatively close together and once you find one, you will find many more. I would suggest hiring a motorbike to ride around. Walking is not out of the question but it’s hot up there. For those who would try to find their own way, GPS coordinates of some of the more interesting spots below:
16.527845, 97.613548 Pagoda
16.528225, 97.608803 Pagoda with palm wine stand
16.526445, 97.613487 Viewpoint (not marked, climb up hill)
16.531055, 97.607964 Pagoda & Monastery
16.497095, 97.619553 Viewpoint (not marked, climb up hill)
16.527748, 97.617012 White pagoda. Large bell here looks as though it may be bullet damaged
16.544838, 97.598503 Mummified monk (someone will need to let you into the room)
16.535134, 97.608452 Disused tunnel to Thailand
16.534651, 97.600624 Pagoda with Buddha footprint
It’s a good idea to go early as gets hot!!
There is nowhere to eat or buy water up here so make sure you bring what you need for the day. It’s worth noting that there are no public toilet facilities either and this area is not wheelchair accessible.
If going it alone, apply some common sense and stick to the tracks. It’s sparsely populated up there, with no patrols or close by medical help.