The capital of British Lower Burma from 1827–52, when it was known as Moulmein, Mawlamyine remains a busy port. Visitors looking for vestiges of colonial atmosphere may initially be disappointed by Myanmar’s third-largest city, but a wander around reveals many (mostly neglected) old buildings. The city is also the base for day-trips to attractions ranging from a colossal Buddha – big enough to walk into – to a sobering war cemetery.
The waterside Strand Road is the city’s most important thoroughfare, and towards its northern end are three busy markets. For colonial-era buildings, however, a better bet is Upper Main Road, running inland, parallel to Strand Road.
Dotted with pagodas, the central ridge of hills makes for a great sunset trip. Start at Uzina Paya at the southern end, head north to nearby U Khanti Paya and then continue for about half an hour to the impressive Kyaikthanlan Paya. A covered walkway runs back into town, but it’s worth pressing on to see the mirrored interior of Mahamuni Paya.