Shwe Ba Taung, Monywa

Shwe Ba Taung is a temple complex carved out of a sandstone outcrop located 45 km by road from Monywa, which is 129 km to the west of Mandalay.

About Shwe Ba Taung

Shwe Ba Taung consists of 46 temples hand carved from sandstone during a period from the mid 19th Century to the mid 20th Century. The eclectic architectural styles have lead to much speculation that the caves may have been dug not only by Burmese workers, but also by foreign contributors, perhaps visitors from the Middle East or North Africa as some of the structures are reminiscent of Petra or churches carved out of rock in Ethiopia. The pastel colour scheme of the temples is, however, a style that you would definitely associate with Myanmar rather than North Africa or the Middle East.

Shwe Ba Taung near Mandalay
Shwe Ba Taung near Mandalay

One of the striking features of Shwe Ba Taung is how much work has gone into creating this temple complex. The whole site has been created by digging down 5 to 10 metres into a huge slab of sandstone to create roads, paths and staircases, and then more carving horizontally to created rooms in the rock with elaborate facades. The massive amount of work involved must of taken decades to complete, particularly the intricate carvings of Buddha and animal images. The 2,500 Kyat entrance fee (approximately $2) is well worth it, along with the 25,000 to 40,000 Kyat you will need to pay a taxi or tuk-tuk to take you to Shwe Ba Taung from Monywa. A visit to Shwe Ba Taung should be combined with a visit to the nearby Po Win Daung caves temples which are similar but a lot older, believed to have been constructed in the 14th to 17th Centuries.

Location of Shwe Ba Taung

  • Shwe Ba Taung is 173 km by road from Mandalay Railway Station.

Google Map of Shwe Ba Taung

Travel to Shwe Ba Taung

Shwe Ba Taung is located to the West of Mandalay. For travel from Mandalay to Monywa you can use local bus services or taxis. Follow the links below for information about travel to Mandalay:

  • Train times from Yangon to Mandalay
  • Bus and train times from Naypyitaw to Mandalay
  • Train times from Bagan to Mandalay
  • Bus and train times from Inle Lake to Mandalay
  • Bus and train times from Mawlamyine to Mandalay
  • Bus times from Magway to Mandalay

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