Alaungdaw Kathapa is located in Mingin township of Sagaing. It was established as a wildlife sanctuary in 1941 and opened as a national park in 1984. About 200 species call the park home, usually traveling in herds of up to a dozen individuals.
Elephant, tiger, leopard, gaur, banteng, sambur, barking deer, jungle goat, mountain goat, bear, wild boar, jungle cat and many kinds of birds inhabit Alungdaw Kathapa. Alaungdaw Kathapa is also home to one of the most spectacular pilgrimage sites in all of Myanmar.
Alaungdaw Kathapa Pagoda, the most famous in the region, is located in the centre of the Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park. It is where the body of Shin Maha Kathapa, one of the Buddha’s original followers, is enshrined. Every year Alaungdaw Kathapa Pagoda Festival is held there in February. The road to this natural treasure of Myanmar is not for the faint-hearted.
Only motorbikes, 4-wheel drives, and buses can make it there and only in January–March. When the dry season comes to an end and the rains really set in, the mountain road is impassable. How will you get there? By elephant, of course.