The region of Monywa is definitely a place, which is rich in culture and has monuments worth seeing. Sitting at the back of the car, my boyfriend and I were resting after our amazing adventure at the Thanboddhay Pagoda. If you want to know more about this extraordinary place, you can read all about it here. Our next stop was Laykyun Setkyar – The biggest standing Buddha in Myanmar.
On the way to Laykyun Setkyar
Before reaching the hill, the driver stopped us at one of the gardens at the base of it. While confused as to why we stopped, we went inside only to find one incredible scene. The garden was full of statues of Buddha, which were sitting under an umbrella. The driver told us that there were around 1000 Buddhas in the garden. It is believed that they are in a way protecting the two big Buddhas at the top of the hill.
Moreover, for each Buddha statue, a Bodhi tree was planted. A Bodhi tree is a large and sacred fig tree (Ficus religiosa), found at the Mohabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya. It is believed that the spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, achieved Bodhi (spiritual enlightenment), while sitting under this tree.
Laykyun Setkyar is the second biggest standing Buddha in the world and the tallest in Myanmar. It is built on top of one of the surrounding hill (Po Khaung) and it is 116m high. The first place is occupied by the chinese creation “Spring Temple Buddha”, located in Lushan, Henan, which is 128m high.
Fun fact: If the base of the Birmanese statue was to be calculated in its height, the statue would have been 130m, surpassing Spring Temple Buddha.
The construction of this golden statue began in the mid of the 1990s. Today, one can come up only until the 24th floor (in total 31). Many countries donated money for finishing the statue. As a result each floor is designed differently, depending on the country. The decorations include different wall paintings, ornaments and statues.
If you plan to visit Laykyun Setkyar, keep in mind that the opening hours are between 7 and 17 o’clock. Furthermore, there is no elevator in it, so you have to use the stairs. They are made of wood and at some places really, really steep.
Fun fact: From the ground terrace you can spot the third Buddha monument that is being currently built. This time it is a sitting Buddha.
In front of Laykyun Setkyar (a little bit down the hill) you can find the second statue of the lying Buddha. You can also go inside and see some colorful cement figures, which represent different religious scenarios.
As promised, here are some pictures of my boyfriend, being serious. Can you spot the difference to his „goofing“ around picture?
How to get there
As already mentioned in my previous article for the Thanboddhay Pagoda, I would not recommend taking the bus, if you plan to stay only a couple of hours there. It also depends from which city do you plan to travel.
From Bagan to Monywa
Taking the bus
If you are keen on taking a bus to Monywa, you can check this topic in Tripadvisor, which explains the bus schedule and where to go. The bus leaves from Bagan to Monywa at four different times (9:00am, 10:30am, 12:30pm, 7:30pm). It takes 4 hours to reach Monywa.
Hiring a driver
The other possibility is to hire a driver that can bring you to whichever destination you prefer. This gives you flexibility and freedom of exploring different places along the route, without worrying about the luggage on your back. The driver brings you to the arranged destination and waits to pick you up and drive you further.
The driving service that we use was with SK – Enjoy Bagan Day Tour. They offer not only tours of Bagan and the surroundings but also the option to rent a car with a driver. You can read below about our experience. The communication with SK was flawless and he was reachable at all times. SK knows good English and personalizes the tour to your needs. I would definately recommend their service. Here you can find everything that you need to know.
From Mandalay to Monywa
Sharing a cab
While I was researching our options online, I read that you can also share a cab with other people. It can be a little bit more expensive than the bus and cheaper than hiring your own driver but one has to just ask around. Many hostels offer this service or know somebody that can help you.
Taking the bus
There are three bus stations in Mandalay and the biggest one is located around 8km away from the city center – “Chan Mya Shwe Pyi”. Nevertheless, it has the biggest range of companies that start from there.
The one closest to the city center is called “Pyi Gyi Myat Shin” and it is located west of downtown at the end of the 23rd street. From the you can take buses to Shwebo, Hopin (to Indawgyi Lake), Katha, Bhamo and Myitkyinar.
From “Pyi Gyi Myat Shin” you can take buses to Pyin U Lwin, Kyaukme, Hsipaw and Lashio. This bus station is located on the corner of 60th and 37th street.
My recommendation is to book directly from the station, as there are a lot of bus companies that can take you to Monywa but not all of them has posted their schedules online.
Staying in Monywa
If you are planning to stay for a couple of nights in Monywa, here are some nice hotels that you can choose from.
Nice playces to stay
- Luxury: Win Unity Resort Hotel – This places offers you a great view, quite surroundings, fitness and spa center and of course a great pool outside. You have the option to book a bungalow between 80-120EUR or choose a standard room, which is no more than 40EUR per night.
- Normal: Shwe Taung Tan Hotel Lake View – You can find double rooms under 30EUR and you can say that it is close to the city center – around 3.8km. It offers free breakfast and you can also dine in the hotel. The staff is also friendly, as per the reviews on Tripadvisor.
- Budget: King & Queen Hotel – This hotel offers you normal bedrooms, for a few nights stay. It offers you the basics and free breakfast as well. The personal is friendly and speaks English. Another plus is being closer to the city center.
I hope you enjoyed the article on the second tallest standing Buddha in the world! Leave your comment and let me know!
xxx The Curly Pepper