Akauk Taung Cliff Carvings, Myanmar

While you’re in Pyay to visit Sri Ksetra, here is a nearbyish place to visit that’s well worth the couple hours drive down the Irrawaddy River:

Akauk Taung (Customs Hill)

Apparently back in the day this was an inspection and customs point where boats would be held up for a while, and the crews developed a tradition of carving Bhuddas on the cliffs while waiting; and the result is a unique array of cliff carvings that really deserve much more of a reputation — they’re virtually unknown outside Myanmar.

You’ll need transportation to get to the nearest village, where you pick up a guide and boat:

Akauk Taung Bhudda Carvings

Then you chug down the river picking out Bhuddas along the cliffy banks for a good half hour, this is the largest collection:

Akauk Taung Bhudda Carvings

Zoom in and have fun counting them all — nobody seems to actually know how many there are, since many are covered by vegetation:

Akauk Taung Bhudda Carvings

At the end of the carved section, there’s several hundred stairs to a pagoda at the top of the cliff which takes you past seated Bhuddas,

Akauk Taung Bhudda Carvings

standing Bhuddas,

Akauk Taung Bhudda Carvings

reclining Bhuddas,

Akauk Taung Bhudda Carvings

… Bhuddas in every pose short of handstands you can think of.

We hadn’t managed to stumble across this in our pretrip research — you may recall, we recommend Green Golden Land for your southern Myanmar adventures? This is why good guides are a more than worthwhile investment, they suggest things like this that are obscure to the outside world but you really wouldn’t want to miss (at least, we wouldn’t have) while you’re in the neighborhood. Thoroughly recommended!

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I go places.


  1. […] you’re planning to visit Sri Ksetra and/or Akauk Taung, the sensible place to use for a nearby base is the town of Pyay, and we have a recommendation for […]

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