Introducing Pyay (Prome)
With a breezy location on the Ayeyarwady River, Pyay is the most interesting stop on the Yangon–Bagan Highway. The city’s glory days date back to the ancient Pyu capital of Thayekhittaya, the partially excavated remains of which lie 5 miles east of Pyay’s other stellar attraction: the dazzling Shwesandaw Paya.
Myanmar folk alternate the town’s pronunciation between ‘pyay’ and ‘pyi’. The Brits, apparently, couldn’t deal with the confusion and called it Prome. The current town site became an important trading centre during the Bagan era. The Mon controlled it when King Alaungpaya conquered it in 1754. Pyay boomed, along with the British Irrawaddy Flotilla Company in the 1890s. Today, it remains an important transit point for goods between northern and southern Myanmar. Soak up its lively atmosphere along the riverfront and at the roundabout, at the centre of which is a gilded equestrian statue of Aung San.