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Located in the Sagaing Division of Myanmar, Phowin Tuang is a sight you have to see to believe. Luckily, you can do just that when you book one of our Chindwin River Cruises.

Twenty-five kilometers west of Monywa city and 10 km southeast of Yinmabin, this astounding Buddhist destination sits on the west bank of the Chindwin River. By boat, it's possible to catch sight of the over 900 caves and astonishing monuments that this location has to offer.

View from Phowin TaungView from Phowin Taung

Phowin Taung translates to "Mountain of Isolated Solitary Meditation," a name that local legend suggests was given by supernatural alchemist U Po Win. It's believed he could perform feats such as flying, surviving underwater, and curing illness. During his lifetime, legend tells that U Po Win practiced Shamatha Meditation to attain what the Buddhists refer to as Siddhi, or 'the ultimate state of renunciation'.

That is all anyone really knows about the caves found at Phowintaung, though experts suggest that paintings found in this destination may date back to the 14th-18th centuries.

History aside, some key facts worth noting ahead of a river cruise here include:

  • There are 947 large and small Buddhist caves
  • There are nearly 450,000 Buddha images
  • Sculptures have been carved into the sandstone
  • Most of the caves are 1.8 to 4.6 meters deep
  • Zone fees are $2 per person, and access is possible by boat or bridge

One of the Phowin Taung cavesOne of the Phowin Taung caves

Things to do on a trip to Phowintaung

As you can imagine from a destination with 947 caves to choose from, it can be tricky to know where to start when you reach Phowintaung.

During your stay, try to stick to key caves like the Hpo Win Daung Buddha Statue Cave Temple and the small galleries you can access from the image hall. Note, too, that there are plenty of spectacular sites to see just from walking around this destination. The iconic sandstone sculptures, such as the Myanmar lion and golden monkeys are all around.

Speaking of golden monkeys, it's worth looking out for these during your trip. They are a regular feature of the Phowintaung caves, and it's possible to buy monkey food for them from nearby villages.

Golden Monkey at Phowin TaungGolden Monkey at Phowin Taung

Note, too, that Phowintaung Pagode Festival is held here every year and is usually celebrated in November depending on the Myanmar lunar calendar. This is a vibrant time to visit, with plenty of traditional music and plays all around.

Phowintaung and the Chindwin river cruise

If you book our 7 night Chindwin river cruise, you can expect to enjoy your second day at Phowintaung via coach. This provides plenty of time to admire this spectacular Buddhist monument and the many caves in the area.

Phowintaung and the Chindwin & Upper Irrawaddy cruise

Phowintaung also appears on day 2 of our new Chindwin & Upper Irrawaddy cruise. Here, you'll spend the morning in these spectacular caves before visiting Kyauk Ka Village in the afternoon.

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