Mawlamyine was the first capital of British Burma between 1826 and 1852 after the Tanintharyi (Tenassarim) coast, along with Arakan, was ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Yandabo at the end of the First Anglo-Burmese War. After the first Anglo-Burmese war, the British made it their capital between 1826 and 1852, building government offices, churches and a massive prison. They started business enterprises and the country’s first newspaper.
Mawlamyine is the setting of George Orwell's famous 1936 memoir Shooting an Elephant. The essay opens with the striking words:
"In Moulmein, in Lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people—the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me."
During colonial times, Moulmein 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 running rubber plantations This has since dwindled to a handful of families as most have left for the UK or Australia.
After an early breakfast at your hotel, you will travel by boat to Bilu Island, a beautiful and fascinating island where daily life seems very far from modern civilization. Today you’ll travel around in an open-style pick-up truck, driving through paddy fields, thick vegetation and fruit plantations. You will explore quaint rural villages that have inhabited this island for many years, and are well known for producing handicrafts. You can visit a small wood workshop where typical Myanmar walking sticks and pens are produced. After exploring the natural beauty and small local villages on Bilu Island, you’ll head back to Mawlamyine, and this afternoon you’ll visit the Pa-Auk-Taw-Ya monastery, one of the largest meditation centres in Myanmar before visiting Win Sein Taw Ya, a 560ft long reclining Buddha.
Other highlights this afternoon, if interested, may include the 100-year-old Seindon Mibaya Kyaung, a monastery built by Queen Seindon, and U Khanti Paya built to commemorate the hermit of Mandalay Hill; a rustic, airy place centred around a large Buddha image. There is also the First Baptist Church (Judson Church) built in 1827 and the Mon Cultural Museum displaying Stelae with Mon inscriptions, 100-year-old wooden sculptures depicting old age and sickness, ceramics, silver betel boxes, royal funerary urns, Mon musical instruments and wooden Buddha altars. Finally you can explore Kaladan Mosque, a green-and-turquoise structure designed by Sunni Muslims that is arguably the most impressive building in Mawlamyine.
- English Speaking local guide
- A/C vehicle for transportation
- Drinking water during sightseeing
- Boat trip to Bilu Island
- Off-the beaten track