Spending a few days in Yangon is a wonderful chance to understand Myanmar people and visit its splendid sites. One of those is having a full day to discover the lives by Ayeyarwaddy River in Dala and Twante.
If Dala – about 40km from Yangon – is one of the most joyful villages of Myanmar (Burma), where you can experience the life on motorcycle, the friendliness of vendors on the street and the cheerful eyes of children, Twante is the traditional pottery handicraft of this country, where you can learn about the skillful people and their beautiful works, admire how young generation is keeping and developing the secret of their family’s traditional workshop. One day in these beautiful towns is worth experience to bring some memories of your beautiful Myanmar holiday back home.
Dala – How the lives get on by the Ayeyarwaddy River?
How to get there:
Being a small town in the South of Yangon river, the trip to Dala starts by taking the jetty at Pansadon street. Walking to the end of the street then you can find the local jetty which is ready to depart at any time of the day. Foreigners can buy the ticker at the booth near the jetty, the price is about $4/pax/two ways, which can be paid by local currency (kyats) as well. The ferry will leave every 20 minutes and will reach the place at an approximately similar time.
Going along the river by ferry will surely bring a Burmese local taste to your holiday. Immense by the scenery view, amazed by the fact that local vendors will try to sell almost everything hand-made to customers with the warmest smile and brightest eyes. You can expect from snack, fruit to bread and egg… ect. Taking the beautiful photos and feeling the “village smell” should add memories to your trip.
What to see
Leaving Yangon in about 20 minutes and take a tour in Dala for 2 – 3 hours in the afternoon is an excellent adjustment of the day. There are a lot of things recommended in this town:
Take a walk around Dala, there is a mix of harsh, dusty dirt roads and the piles of animal walking through streets to streets. This is the uncommon thing which could not be found in busy cities like Yangon or Mandalay. You will see chicken, goats and cows are freely crossing the road now and then. Spend some kyats (the local Burmese money) to take a trishaw ride and enjoy being a farmer. Trishaw is one of the most common means of transportation in here. Riding by trishaw, watching authentic rural life, looking at the young kid slowly pass-by is something that has been lost in the big and modern countries. Visit the fresh fish market of the village and interact with the “local businessman” are also interesting and notable activities.
Belong to Myanmar means there is no place that you cannot visit without a golden temple. Shwe Sayan Pagoda is a significant landmark of this town. All people that coming to this pagoda will pay their respect to the mummified monk in a glass cased for their peaceful life. The sacred Buddha has been taking care of the whole town for around 150 years and surely more to come. The legend has said 10 – 12 years ago, he has warned the villagers about a coming cyclone from Thailand.
Twante – Not only a pottery village but also a town of many surprising things
How to get there
There are several ways to reach this boutique workshop village. From Yangon, you can travel to Twante by ferry from Pandosan Street (near Strand road) in 2 hours through the Twante Canal. If you are already in Dala, first take the ferry at Dala in 10 minutes then 45 minutes by car via Twante Bridge. All in all, reaching this town is as easy as it said.
How to visit the town:
Not like Yangon, where the only means of transportation is by bus or taxi, reaching small towns like Twante of Dala, you can experience from bike to motorbike to trishaw, local minibus, large bus and taxi (if you do not visit with the private car), and a mix of them. If you ever try on bus, you will notice that each bus will have a ‘conductor’, who can speak some Burmese-English, will collect the money on hand and shout out the destination. It would be an interesting experience.
What to see:
George Orwell, in his famous book “Burmese Days” has mentioned Twante as one of his favorite places while living in Myanmar. As a neighbor of Dala on the Ayearewaddy delta river, this town will welcome you with its rich agricultural products. Not only that, Twante is famous for its pots, the Shwe san daw Temple or the mysterious snake pagoda.
First one in the list is the Twante market, you can buy most of the local products in here, from tropical fruits to quail eggs to local powder and other goods. People will normally hang their products on any type of vehicle and carriers, on bike, on boat, or even on their head….
The most famous pottery village is Oh-Bo Pottery, visitors can reach there by trishaw by somewhat 300 – 500 kyats (Kyats is Myanmar currency) from Twante market. From now on, you can explore a whole world from water mugs, pots, vases, water filter, bowls and many more. Almost everyone in a family will together handle the work by hand in each step. There is no machine but everything has been finished manually, from collecting the raw material, building to proper objects to firing and drying process. Although there is no paint or color on the final product but there are carvings and sculpting vases and pots which reveal the skills of those native artists. The products, after that, will be shipped to Yangon or other big cities via boat then sold there.
Spend some time to visit Shwe san daw Pagoda (Shwe san daw means “the temple of golden hair”), a perfectly smaller duplicate of Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. There are only four temples in Myanmar have the name Shwesandaw (one in Yangon, one in Bagan – the most famous one, one in Pyay which is approximately 300km to the north of Yangon and one in Twante). The temple embraces two strands of hair of Buddha and is where all local people in Ayearewaddy regions come to pray for good life.
Besides, one of the very rare sites in Twante is the Snake Temple, which would clearly encourage our adventurous tourists. The Snake Temple is located in the middle of the lake which is 4 – 5 km from Twante. The pagoda is where the large snakes (pythons) are living, there are two nuns who devoted their lives to take care of snakes in various sizes. They believe that Buddha is protected and kept calm while he listens to his people’s peace and happiness asking.