Mawlamyine was our second destination, we caught a direct flight there from Yangon (NB: There is only 1 flight a week at the moment going from Yangon to Mawlamyine departing every monday with Myanmar National Airlines). We booked our flight online through Myanmar National Airways before we left Sydney which can be both a good and a bad thing. It’s bad only because it cost us so much – $100 US one way, whereas if we had waited and tried to book it in Yangon it probably would have been cheaper. Although, I wouldn’t risk it if missing this flight will ruin your whole itinerary. The airplane we caught was so old and tiny – it had only 17 seats, openable windows, ashtrays in the armrests, leather seats, and no separating door between the cabin and the pilot (just a couple of curtains pulled across to block view of the pilot), and no bathroom. It was a short flight, but my nerves were through the roof. You could feel every bump of air and turn of the plane. We were fed a juice and a cookie mid flight, which did little to settle my nerves. Landing on this plane was one of the scariest moments of my life. The runway was a mere rocky, dirt path surrounded trees and grassland. The wheels seemed too small to withstand the vigorous rocking and shaking of the plane as it landed. The hunks of metal holding everything together moaned and creaked as if they were about to give way under to force.
Upon arrival at the ‘airport’ (in inverted commas due to the fact that it mainly just consisted of a small open room where they literally just wheeled the bags off the plane and across the dirt tarmac to give to you) we had a sort of customs check where security officers wrote down all our names and passport details before ushering us into the back of a pickup truck to take us to our accommodation.
We stayed at the Ngwe Moe Hotel in the superior river view room which was very quaint and clean. The views from the bedroom were spectacular! You could sit and watch the sunset from bed every evening before walking down the road to the night markets for dinner.
I recommend staying in Mawlamyine for 2 or 3 days. It was the perfect amount of time to spend exploring the town and surrounding area.
Watch the sunset from Santawshin Pagoda
Enjoy local delights at the night markets
Win Sein Taw Ya (Reclining Buddha)
The Death Railway Museum
A day trip to Setse Beach