POPULAR SITES & ATTRACTIONS
Prayer Mountain/Naw Bu Baw Mountain
Located at south of the town, this is a famous pilgrimage destination for Christian Karen people. It can be reached after a 10-15 minute walk up 374 steps from the car park or a 30 minute walk uphill from the centre of town. The peak is the focal point of an ancient tale, about princess named Naw Bu Baw who moved to these mountains from the sea to marry a local prince. There are various chapels on the way to the summit where you will find a giant cross (one of the largest in Myanmar) and stunning panoramic view of the surrounding areas. There is also an odd boat-shaped chapel on the peak, evoking the biblical tale of Noah’s Ark. Prayer Mountain is a perfect location to view the sunrise or sunset.
Karen New Year Mountain
Adjacent to Prayer Mountain (10 minute walk), this site displays Karen cultural items connected to the Karen New Year. The New Year Mountain provides a perfect view of Prayer Mountain and Thandaung Gyi as a whole. The hill opposite Naw Bu Baw (named Kayin New Year Mountain) is another religious site for Kayin Christians, topped with the cave of Mary and the statue of Jesus on a white post. It is a tranquil, easy walk up to the top, usually accompanied with the sounds of a fresh breeze and a few singing birds.
Churches of Thandaung Gyi
The Christianisation of Karen people during the British occupation means that there are number of different Christian churches in Thandaung Gyi today. There is the old St. John Chapel close to the tea plantations in the centre of the town; the St. George Anglican Church located in midtown; and the Zion’s Baptist Church Pa Lay Chi on the way to Prayer Mountain. Tourists are welcome to take a look into the churches and to attend the different services every Sunday.
The tea factory is housed in an old colonial building that was originally built by the British to house the Kingswood Methodist English High School. Around the 1870s, the school moved to Kalaw, and the building was bought by a wealthy Indian to be used for processing tea grown in the plantations of Thandaung Gyi. Workers were brought from in India and Nepal to work in the plantations and factory, and some of their ancestors still live and run many of the retail shops in Thandaung Gyi. The tea was considered some of the best in the world and was shipped to the Lipton Company in the United Kingdom. This has now long ended and the factory is now run by the army to process and package black tea for Myanmar soldiers. Up until 2017 fascinating old machinery and systems were used for processing the tea leaves. There is now new machinery installed in the building along with some of the old equipment and you can get a free tour from the staff at the building. No photography is allowed inside the building.
The British Hill Station/YFC St. George’s Property
In the centre of town near the bridge, take the steps up to the old British Fort on the YFC St George property. This fort is one of the oldest buildings in Thandaunggyi and was originally built as a prison. But due to the lack of crime and the absence of prisoners, it was bought by the Anglican Church. A climb up the unique spiral staircase of the fort offers spectacular views and vistas of Thandaung Gyi. The lower newer large building was built about 20 years ago and currently hosts large groups of domestic tourists, mainly church groups.
Sri Duraka Dayvi Hindu Temple
AA short distance from the Tea Factory is a Hindu Temple. It is a small building now fully renovated. The temple was built for the Indian workers of the Tea Factory during the colonial time. The temple isn’t permanently manned, but you can try your luck to take a look inside and learn about the history of the Indian workers in Thandaunggyi.
Pyay Taw Aye Pagoda
This beautiful little pagoda is located right next to the main road, at the entrance to Thandaunggyi. The Buddhist building is close to the military training camp and has a gold-decorated stupa, as well as a lying and a sitting Buddha. The pagoda provides a nice view to the tea plantations and the surrounding areas.
Located along the river in Ward S (the road to the right at the main entrance to Thandaung Gyi town), this is Thandaung Gyi’s newest attraction. There sides of the river bank are landscaped with flowering plants, and there are shade umbrellas, benches and a hammock for relaxing. Drinks and eats can be ordered from the owner/operator and you can easily take a dip in one of the pools in the cool river.