National Park More of a Roadside Attraction
Driving time to the park from Yangon is minimum one hour despite being only 27km. The good news is that the majority of the park is made up of attractive marshland which surrounds a central lake. Picnic sites are scattered throughout. Wildlife-wise we saw a variety of bird species, deer, wild pigs and water buffalo. One has two options when entering the park, either paying to come in on the single track-one way dirt road in your own vehicle or pay for the “park shuttle” which is more or less a 15 seat golf cart (ks500 pp, 4 buggies total/ or 1 hr. private 24 seat buggy ks15000 total). The bad news is that guests are sold kilos of bananas at the park’s entrance. You’re encouraged to throw these bananas to packs of monkeys which descend on the cart throughout the entire 30 minute loop. It’s a 101 in promotion of evasive species. In addition to the lake-loop, Hlawga also has a mini-zoo. The atmosphere of this feature is depressing at best. It’s dilapidated, overgrown and without many actual animals. Those that are there are kept in huge sad enclosures. There were two massive areas which housed some version of Asiatic Black Bears which guests were encouraged to feed with loafs of white-bread sold at stalls nearby. There were several cages that did have a variety of bird species, including hawks and vultures, however none were particularly well looked after. Though it was unavailable when we were there, the zoo supposedly offers elephant rides on Saturdays & Sundays.