Kya Hnyat, Myanmar
Buddhism is the core of Burmese society, abundantly evident in Kya Hnayt's numerous temples of worship and the maroon-robed monks parading the streets. During an excursion in this town on the Upper Irrawaddy River, you will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the monastery where monks practice their daily rituals.
What We Love
Authenticity: As the monks pose for photo ops and marvel at your tech devices, it will hit you that you can’t reproduce these spontaneous interactions. They feel vastly different from the staged meetings in more touristed destinations.
Best Known For
Young Monks: Trips to the monastery include time with the monks-in-training, ranging from small boys to teenagers. The guide will walk you through a robe-folding demonstration and arrange an offering: The novices carry their alms bowls and file through the line according to rank and age. Though the children pool their donations, you might want to save a gift or two for the youngest of them at the end.
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Who It's Best For
Religion Buffs: Here you can get a taste of the more practical side of a mystical ancient religion that has had a lasting and profound impact on modern Myanmar. It’s a day in port that’s both enriching and enlightening.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Exclusive to Avalon Waterways: As of now, Avalon Waterways is the only line that includes stops in Kya Hnyat, specifically to visit the monastery. And you won't have much time to wander about the village on your own.
Lisa Cheng is a New York-based writer for ShermansCruise who also writes for Travel + Leisure.