Introducing Pathein (Bassein)
Pathein, Myanmar’s fourth city and the most important delta port outside Yangon, lies in the heart of a major rice-growing area that produces the finest in Myanmar, including pawsanmwe t’ămìn (fragrant rice). The growth of the delta trade, particularly rice exports, has contributed to a general air of prosperity in the city, which has a busy, buzzy atmosphere. Most travellers only stop off on their way to the beaches, but the workshops that produce colourful, hand-painted parasols, along with the shady, tree-lined village lanes to the northeast of the market, are worth a little more than this token glance.
Adding to the allure is the fact that Pathein can be reached by boat. The overnight trip, where large boats are laid up on the mud flats like dinosaurs taking their last gasp of air, is a rare window on the pattern and pace of the everyday lives of locals in the Delta region.