August 19, 2016

Tourists flock to century-old Sawbwas’ Monastery in Nyaung Shwe

Century old monastery in Nyaung Shwe.
Century old monastery in Nyaung Shwe.

SWELLING numbers of international tourists have been visiting the famous century-old Sawbwas’ Monastic Chambers located in the southern Shan State township of Nyaung Shwe.
“Foreigners are coming here every day. The monastery is over a century old. People fast on top of the mountain every fullmoon. Different foreign tour groups of all kinds come here — it’s a place full of historic artefacts,” said U Hpo Chun, a 78-year-old Pa-O man who fasts every day on the mountain.
The foreign tourists visit the ancient wooden monastery when they come to the region to visit Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s top tourist sites.
According to tourist operators in the Inle region, most foreign tourists visiting the area in 2016 have been Koreans, followed by French, Italian and Indian tourists.
“The people here today have come from India. All the tourists that come to Inle come here. The numbers are only going to continue to grow. At the moment, most tourists are from Korea,” said Aung Soe U, a tour guide from the Asian Tour Company.
The building of the monastery was a result of the charitable efforts of two Shan sawbwas in 1886 and 1887 and was constructed with a black wood finish. As such, the monastery building is dubbed the ‘sawbwa’— or ‘Shan chieftain’— monastic chambers by locals after those responsible for its construction.
The monastic chambers are located within the grounds of the Shwe Yan Pye monastery in the town of Nyaung Shwe.


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