The Soe Brothers hostel came highly recommended, not only for somewhere to stay but also because they offer excellent tours. At $5 each they offered a full days tour of Hap-an and the surrounding countryside. What a bargain! As we boarded our six person Tuk Tuk and made our way out of town. The road conditions got worse and worse, as we bumped and banged our way across pot hole laden tracks we wondered what we'd got ourselves into.
We were extremely great full to arrive at our first location, a beautiful Buddhist temple built into a cave. Part of the tablets that adorned the walls dated back as far as the 7th century ad. Unfortunately our driver didn't speak any English so we had to guess which bits they were. This didn't really matter as the hundreds of ornate Buddhas told a story of their own.
Our second stop was also a cave featuring Buddhas (a theme across Burma and Thailand) and also a giant Pagoda or bell like structure. We had to first navigate a large flooded field which only added to the excitement. There was water dripping everywhere which added to the atmosphere and certain mysticism as the drops of water echoed through the cave.
We nearly missed the main attraction though, as we were about to leave one of our fellow tourists pointed out that you could navigate your way through the caves. We'd both thought the caves finished after 50 metres of so but on more careful examination we found steps leading up through the caves. You were rewarded by a large opening at the other end, the sunlight meant that moss and plants had grown within the cave itself. A large tree sat proudly at the edge and monkeys ran across the tree tops. It was one of the most visually stunning views we'd seen in all of our 7 months travelling. A lost world that we'd very nearly missed out on.
As we stood in silence trying to take it all the heavens opened and the view became a sheet of grey mist. Rain lashed against our clothes as the plant life bathed in all the moisture. We didn't want to leave though and Tim had to be physically dragged back to our rain sodden transport. Burma has already won a place in our hearts.