It was not even planned to visit Pathein, the idea was to go directly to the Burmese west coast. But there were no direct buses, and a stopover in Pathein was therefore mandatory. That proved to be a blessing. While the bus was still driving through the friendly streets of the city, it started to exert its attraction. After the dynamism of Yangon, this seemed a so much more relaxing place. First place to hit was the evening market, starting hours before sunset. Here, people walked around, not necessarily looking for something to buy. It left a southern european sensation, people strolling, see and be seen.
The late afternoon light gave the passers-by an even more beautiful glow, and accentuated their complexions. The street market and the position right on the river instantly made us doubt to stay longer in Pathein or stick to our original plans. The busy boat traffic shuttling people and their belongings up and down the Pathein river with the setting sun on the horizon behind the river was a great spectacle. Turning back, it was hard to miss the Shwenotkhtaw Pagoda, another example of an impressive golden stupa dominating the city skyline.
Early next morning, I went out into the streets. Only then I realized that Pathein exerted such attraction because of the peaceful traffic. I only heard the movement of bicycle tires on the roads, the clic-clac of horses on the pavement, people talking, and not much else. No cars, almost no motorcycles, incredible for many visitors, especially because of the size of the town. When we spent another half day on the way back to Yangon, we explored the city a little more, the day market, the colourful people walking the streetsl; it was with regret that we left this bustling river town by boat later that day.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Pathein (Myanmar (Burma)). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Pathein.
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