Kyaik Khauk pagoda & Island pagoda

Pagoda in Thanlyin town
Thanlyin pagoda

Thanlyin or Syriam as it was formerly named is a town with a rich history that houses many pagodas and monuments. It is located across from Yangon on the other side of the river connected to Yangon by one of the longest bridges in Burma.

Thanlyin houses Burma’s largest sea port, Thilawa port, just South of Thanlyin town.

To do & see in Thanlyin

The towns major attractions area the Kyaik Hmaw Wun Pagoda, the Kyaik Khauk Pagoda in the river at Kyauktan village South of Thanlyin as well as some old colonial buildings dating back to the time when the city was under control of the British.

Kyaik Khauk Paya

The Kyaik Khauk Paya is a beautiful impressive pagoda in the same style as the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. The pagoda is believed to have been built more than 2,000 years ago, after which it has been enlarged and renovated many times. The base of the pagoda is surrounded by many small golden stupas. The temple area is open to visitors; as in any Burmese temple, please remove shoes and socks. The pagoda is located on a small hill on Kyaik Khauk Pagoda road heading towards Kyauktan in the South East corner of Thanlyin town.

Kyaik Hmaw Wun Pagoda or Island Pagoda

The Kyaik Hmaw Wun Pagoda and temple is found on a small island in the river at Kyauktan village, about 15 kilometers South of Thanlyin. It is also known as Ye Le Pagoda or the island pagoda. The only way to get to the temple is with a small boat to the river island which takes just a few minutes.

The temple was founded more than 2,000 years ago, at which time the pagoda was much smaller than it is today. The pagoda contains a magnificent golden Buddha image in a small intricately decorated room.

The temple complex contains several more richly decorated structures with fine wood carvings and golden decorations topped with a multi tiered roof called Pyatthat.

The whole island is a temple complex, so you will have to take off your shoes and socks in the boat. You can carry them with you in a plastic bag if you want.

Entrance fee to the pagoda is US$ 2. The water around the small island is full of catfish waiting for food. Along the waterfront area where the boats for the temple wait for passengers are several souvenir shops and restaurants.

The Island Pagoda in Thanlyin
Island pagoda Thanlyin

History of Thanlyin

Thanlyin or Syriam with its old name has been an important port since the 15th century. It later became a major port for trade with several European countries.

In 1599 Pegu (present day Bago) and Syriam were conquered by the troops of a Portuguese mercenary named Filipe de Brito e Nicote, who fought for the King of Arakan, a Kingdom that existed in present day Rakhine state.

De Brito who was given control of Syriam tried to turn it into a Portuguese colony and convert its inhabitants to Catholicism. In 1613 Syriam was invaded by the troops of King Anaukpetlun, ruler of the Taungoo dynasty. The city was conquered and brought back into the Burmese Kingdom. De Brito was executed by impalement.

How to get to Thanlyin

Thanlyin is located just across the river from Yangon. A taxi from the downtown area to Thanlyin should cost around US$ 5 for a one way trip. If you want to visit several places, hire a taxi for the day. Agree on the price and duration of the trip before setting off.