Finding serenity in Hpa-An, Myanmar

The feeling of serenity does not happen that often in daily life (not for me anyway!), so when it comes along I try to take the time to appreciate it.

On my travels there are certain places and moments that make me take a breath and appreciate the stillness and peace of the moment.  One such moment was in Hpa-An in Myanmar. We had climbed to the top of Mount Hpar-Pu which is a very large rocky hill situated across the river from Hpa-An town.

Mount Hpar-Pu seen from Hpa-An town

To get there we had to catch a boat to the opposite side of the Thanlwin River and make our way through a little village and down a dirt road.

Our transportation to Mount Hpar-Pu

We didn’t really know where we were going, there was no-one else about, but eventually we found some steps that would take us up Mount Hpar-Pu. It was an effort to climb in the heat and the steps were different shapes and sizes and in various degrees of disrepair, which made it even more difficult.

Near the top was one last set of steps that would take us to a lookout point and as far as we could go at the time we visited – the steps were crumbling and on either side were sheer drops, deceptively hidden by a few bushes!  It took me a few tries to muster up the courage to ascend them – I am not good with heights and I found scaling these last few steps particularly terrifying!

I finally did it though, almost running up them and not looking down and joined my partner in marveling at the views set out in front of us, relieved that I had not tumbled to my death!

The view from the top across the river to Hpa-An and Mount Zwegabin in the distance

It was magnificent, peaceful, stunning – romantic too, just us, alone….. until a South African guy appeared from behind some rocks where he had been taking photos a bit further up!  Haha, you are never alone anywhere!!

It was fine though, we had a nice chat with him, he was definitely an adventurer and it was interesting to hear his stories. We discovered he was staying at our guesthouse, so we ended up running into him a few more times during our stay in Hpa-An.

After chatting for a while he departed to descend the mountain, which left us alone to enjoy the views.

Stunning views in all directions!

As the sun started to get lower in the sky we decided we had to drag ourselves away and start our descent.  We had a boat to catch to take us back across the river and we didn’t want to miss it.  Getting back down was much easier then going up thankfully.

Views from Mount Hpar-Pu
The setting sun as we made our way back to town

At the bottom of the hill we found a few little shrines which we just about had time to explore.  We scrambled up some rocks and were faced with the view below – wow!  I wasn’t expecting that!  I took a moment to take in the scene – there was no one else around and at that moment in time I was hot, I was sweating, I was dusty and dirty, but I was incredibly happy, at peace.

Hpa-An, Myanmar
Capturing that moment!

This photo encapsulates the serenity of that moment for me and will always remind me of the wonderful adventures we had – and that I conquered my fear and managed to scramble up those last few precarious steps to get to the top of that hill … and oh, was it worth it!

Daily Photo Challenge – Serenity








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