Mohana Gill’s Column 25

Wonders of Myanmar - A Letter from Aunty Mohana -

posted: September 21, 2015

Mudon is the first major town south of Mawlamyine on the way to Thanbyuzayat, Kyaikkhami and Setse beach.
Travel another 40 kilometers south and there is the tiny town of Thanbyuzayat the western terminus of the Japanese ‘death railway’ of the Second World War.
Some 16,000 British, American and Australian and Dutch prisoners of war died building the 420-kilometer rail line from Kanchanaburi, in Thailand, to Thanbyuzayat. Tens of thousands of Burmese and Thais perished in this construction as well.
A simple cemetery sits by the side of the main Mawlamyine-Tanbyuzayat road.


Thanbyuzayat is a cemetery that contains 4000 graves of Allied Forces who died while building the infamous Death railway.
The Burma Railway, also known as the Death Railway, the Thailand-Burma Railway and similar names was a 415 kilometers (258miles of railway between Bangkok, Thailand, and Rangoon, Burma.
The Empire of Japan built it during world warⅡ, to support its forces in the Burma campaign.
The cemetery is marked by headstones with often unbearably poignant messages from the loved ones the men within left ‘in precious memory of my beloved only child, a dear son and a brave lad. Mother.’ is inscribed on the tombstone of Lance Corporal J.R.Wooton, of the Royal NorfolkRegiment


The magnificent grounds of the Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery are located 1 km from Thanbyuzayats main town center on the road to Kyaikkami and Setse.
It is established on land that was donated by the Burmese people to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to honor those who died in the construction of the Burma-Siam Death Railway in World War Ⅱ.

Kyaikkami Beach

Kyaikkhami beach is located 88km to the south of Mawlamyine. Located 9kms northeast of Thanbyuzayat Kyakkhami is a small coastal resort and missionary center known as Amherst during the British era.
The main focus of Kyaikkhami is the Ye Lei Paya (Shrine in the middle of the water) as the locals call it.

Kyaikkhami beach

It is a metal-roofed Buddhist shrine complex perched over the sea and reached via a long two-level causeway. The lower level is submerged during high tide.
Along with 11 Buddha hair relics, the shrine chamber beneath reportedly contains a Buddha image that supposedly floated here from a raft from Sri Lanka in ancient times.

Some legend say that Buddha in Maha Sakarit 111 around 581 B.C. came on a sourjourn to Thuwunna Bhumi and got to Kyin Maing(Kyaikkhami) the land of Yawnka.Buddha rested on the rock that would site the pagoda and gave the 20 sons of the King of Kyin Maing(Kyaikkhami) and mentor Kappina the hermit hair relics before he went to Thuwanna Bhumi.

In Maha Sakarit 117 that was 575B.C. Hermit Kappina and ten of the princes built the pagoda enshrining the relics they got at the sacred rock cave.
Arahanta Upatittha and King Devanampiyatittha sent afloat four sandalwood Buddha statutes enshrining the Buddhas relics entrusted to them making an oath to have them get to a place where there were repositores of Buddha relics.
One of them came to Eka Dasa Pagoda in Kyaikkhami. Eka Dasa Pagoda is now one of the five wonders midstream.

The Buddha images face the sea towards the south. A notable fact is that although the shrine is located at some distance from the shore its basement is not engulfed even during the highest tide.
Women are only allowed to worship from a pavilion removed from the shrine while men may do so from the hall facing the main image. Although it is a beautiful beach you cannot swim at this beach, as the tides are rough and the coast is rocky.

Setse Beach

24 km from Kyaikkhami and about16km of Thanbyuzayat is Setse beach.
It is very wide, brown-sand beach that tends toward tidal flats when the shallow surf-line recedes at low tide. The beach is lined by waving casuarina trees.
Setse has been a resort since the 19th century and still remains very popular.

Setse Beach 4

Setse Beach3


the author of the book “Myanmar : Cuisine, Culture & Customs” and the world prestigious “Best Asian Cuisine in The World” winning author.


“Myanmar : Cuisine, Culture & Customs”,

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