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Home >> Burma Destinations >> Pathein

Pathein

Pathein is the fourth largest city in Burma (Myanmar). It’s also known as Bassein locally, and is the capital city of the Ayeyarwady Region.

It is home to nearly 200,000 people and it makes for a great stop-off point before you head on to spend time on the country’s beautifully unspoiled beaches on the coast. The best way to get there is to jump on a ferry heading downriver from Yangon. It’s about 120 miles away and you can have a great night lying on deck under the stars without losing a moment of your precious sightseeing time for the next day.

Mon Roots

Culturally, Pathein was once part of the Mon Kingdom, but today you’ll find very few Mon people locally. Instead you’ll find Islam and Buddhism rubbing shoulders as the Bamar, Burmese Indians and Kayin live side-by-side.

Pathein is an important port city in Burma (Myanmar) and there’s plenty of local industry. Most of the country’s rice is milled there and that means your stomach shouldn’t be rumbling during your visit. Umbrellas will take up rather more of your time. The parasols that you see throughout Myanmar are made here. The handmade umbrellas are spectacular to look at and very reasonably priced and it’s unlikely you’ll find them cheaper elsewhere in the country.

Otherwise, most of the industry is based around agricultural products, though you might see the occasional pottery workshop or basket-weaving factory.

The best way to appreciate the city is to take a long slow walk on the waterfront. A cool wind coming off the water makes for a pleasant day of shopping.

Shwemokhtaw Paya

While you’re there, you’ll want to check out the Shwemokhtaw Paya. That’s a Buddhist temple which dates back to 300 BC or so. It was founded by an Indian king and the stupa was modified in the 1100s to an increased height of 11 meters. It was then given another boost by King Samodogossa in 1263 AD, rising to 40 meters.

Today, the stupa is nearly 47 meters high and the top layer is said to contain over 6 kilos of pure gold. The middle tier is made up of pure silver. The third is made out of bronze. There are more than 800 diamonds and 800 rubies studded on it as well as an abundance of semi-precious stones. There are plenty of other pleasant temples in Pathein, though they are less culturally significant than this one.

Cultural Museum

There’s also a nice museum, the Pathein Cultural Museum. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and it’s closed on Mondays. If you do make your way there, for a entry fee you can appreciate some fine Buddhist art, paintings, bronze drums, weapons, and other folk art. There’s also a small library of English language books on the site from which you can glean insights into Burmese culture. A good part of a trip to the museum is learning how those wonderful umbrellas are made.

If you enjoy a good dessert, you might want to finish up your stay in Pathein by a visit to the Myoma Market or the night market. There you’ll be able to pick up the Har-la-war, one of Burma’s best known puddings.

Finally, before you leave, take a trip out to the Yekyi Yenauk Lake and enjoy crystal clear waters at sunset. The lake is prominent in local legend and you’ll find many worshippers along its shores discharging their spiritual duties.

Pathein is a great place for a traveler to relax and soak up a little of the local atmosphere before returning to more hectic pursuits on the coast. It has an intimate feel and a welcoming environment that you won’t forget in a hurry.

Source: Myanmarburma.com

AROUND PATHEIN:

Yangon

Yangon

Ngwe Saung Beach

Ngwe Saung Beach

Chaung Thar Beach

Chaung Thar Beach

Mrauk U

Mrauk U

 

Other Information About Pathein

HOW TO GET TO PATHEIN

Overland

From Yangon, there are many bus operate this route. You can take a bus near the Sule pagoda which may take 4 hours to reach Pathein.

By boat

The daily boat runs from Yangon to Pathein which can take nearly 8 to 9 hours. Ideally, you can take the boat then overnight in Pathein before head back to Yangon the next day, either by boat or overland.