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Pathein lies at the heart of an area that produces the finest rice in Myanmar, including pawsanmwe t’ămìn (fragrant rice). It's a thriving, busy city, particularly along the riverfront – Pathein is Myanmar's most important delta port outside Yangon – and in the markets near the Shwemokhtaw Paya, the principal religious site.
Most travellers stop here only briefly on their way to nearby beaches, but the workshops in the city's northeast that produce colourful, hand-painted parasols are worth a look.

There are also architectural remnants of colonial days in Pathein, which the British called Bassein, including the central jail dating from 1879.

Pathein is the unofficial capital of the Ayeyarwady region and if you're interested in exploring the villages and towns of the delta, this is the logical place to base yourself and to arrange transport, whether boat or car.

Best time to visit

Many people prefer to visit Pathein from November to February as this is the period that follows the extended monsoon period and you will find the weather is usually stable and dry. In the period after February it can be very hot in Myanmar and from June to October the rainy season hits and you may find that it rains every single day. This also brings with it widespread flooding which can be an issue in Pathein as it is located along the banks of a river.

Check the below table for the general idea of Pathein weather throughout the year.

Month Avg. High (°C) Avg. Mean (°C) Avg. Low (°C)
Jan 32.1 25.2 18.2
Feb 34.3 26.8 19.3
Mar 36 28.9 21.9
Apr 36.9 30.7 24.4
May 34.5 29.6 25.2
Jun 31.4 27.7 24.9
Jul 30.4 27.1 24.4
Aug 30.3 27.1 24.3
Sep 30.9 27.3 24.1
Oct 32.8 28.4 24
Nov 33.3 28.1 22.6
Dec 31.9 25.9 19.4

Pathein’s current weather and 7-day forecast


Pathein may not be as popular as other cities in Myanmar, but don’t let that fool you. Pathein is a smaller but beautiful upcoming tourist destination that is worth a visit. You will be surprised by some of the unique things to do and places you can explore at this hidden destination.

Shwemokhtaw Paya

This centuries-old golden stupa looms over Pathein like a glittering beacon. The hti (stupa pinnacle) consists of a topmost layer made from 14lb of solid gold, a middle tier of pure silver and a bottom tier of bronze; all three tiers are gilded and embedded with thousands of precious and semiprecious stones.

Shwe Wetluu Paya

Escape the crowds by venturing across to the west bank of the Pathein River and strolling through the village to find this attractive pagoda complex with a small golden zedi, a hall of standing buddhas and other colourfully painted statuary. Look out for the small shrine sheltering a gilded pig.

The foot-passenger ferry here leaves from near the Chinese Temple on Strand Rd, just south of The First Hotel.

Tagaung Mingala Zeditaw

This pagoda is centred on a graceful stupa that sweeps inward from a wide, whitewashed base to a gleaming silver superstructure. There's also a new giant reclining-buddha image in the compound. It's about 2 miles south of the city centre.

Look for the small squirrel sculpture extending from the western side of the upper stupa, representing a previous life of the Buddha as a squirrel.

Shwe Sar Umbrella Workshop

Parasols are made in workshops scattered across the northern part of Pathein. This family-run workshop is particularly welcoming and they'll show you how these silk or cotton umbrellas, painted with lovely patterns, are made. Prices start from around K2000 and go up to K95,000 for the 3m-wide parasols.

If you'd like to paint your own umbrella, its's K4000.

Set Taw Yar Paya

This charming temple complex, spread across a hilly green setting, is like a Buddhist amusement park with all its colourful statues and decoration. It's dedicated to a mythical Buddha footprint left by the Enlightened One during his legendary perambulations through Southeast Asia. The footprint symbol itself is an oblong, 3ft-long impression.

St Peter's Cathedral

The focal point of a Catholic educational compound is this 1872-vintage cathedral, distinctively plastered emerald green. If you're not here for daily Mass at 6am (also 4pm on Sunday), when you may hear beautiful singing from the congregation, the priest will happily let you peek inside.

Twenty-Eight Paya

This rectangular shrine contains 28 sitting and 28 standing buddha images – many of them jazzed up with flashing lights giving the place a carnival atmosphere. The standing images appear in the open-robe style rather than the closed-robe pose that is typical of Mandalay standing images.

At one end of the hall stands a group of crude sculptures depicting a scene from the Buddha’s life in which he teaches a disciple the relativity of physical beauty by comparing a monkey, the disciple’s wife and a deva (celestial being).

Lei Kyun Yan Aung Paya

Known to locals as Yei Kyi Oo, this temple, about 2½ mile directly south of central Pathein, was renovated in the early 1990s to create a facsimile of Ananda Paya in Bagan. Forced labour was used in the renovation, so many locals avoid praying here.

Night Market

Each night vendors set up stalls beside the Pathein River selling fruit and vegetables, clothing, DVDs and the like. There's also a section for street-food vendors and it all makes for a lively scene with a good chance to mingle with locals.

Mahabodhi Mingala Zedi

About 2 miles south of central Pathein stands this temple patterned after the Mahabodhi stupa in Bodhgaya, India.

The food scene is not particularly exciting in Pathein but you can certainly find some decent food here especially if you are only passing through town. Close to many of the guesthouses in the centre of Pathein you will find a selection of different restaurants some of which serve limited international fare as well as standard Burmese dishes like curries and noodles. One of the best spots in Pathein if you are looking for some authentic bites however is the riverfront which comes alive at night with a series of vendors selling delicious local snacks like barbecued meats. There are also plenty of spots dotted around town that will sell you a cold beer which you can enjoy looking over the waterfront at sunset.

Hnin Wai Lwin Myanmar Cuisine - Try some authentic Burmese food here. 

Night market (17:00 - 22:00) - After sunset, the night market pops up. Grab a snack and people watch. Food stands are alongside the river, there are also street vendors/push carts with BBQ in the hotel area. 

Me Mf Lay - Provides decent breakfast and delicious drinks. 

Super Cool Restaurant - Famous for serving beer and the terrace. 2-3,500 kyat.

Beer garden with food for 2,000-4,000 kyat, overlooking the river.

Teashops are everywhere and easy to find. A cup of tea is 300 kyat, a plate of noodle salad is 800.

Most of the hotels in Pathein market themselves as two or three star accommodation options although this is overstating things somewhat. You won’t find a huge amount of choice here and it is mostly basic and not particularly cheap.

Many hotels like the Htike Myat San Motel are around USD 20-30 for a simple room with breakfast or you can get a room in a place like the Day to Day Hotel which does not include breakfast and which has a small room with a private bathroom for USD 15. 

Pathein is also not firmly on the tourist trail so many hotels may not accept foreigners (a permit is needed for this in Myanmar) or you may struggle to find English speaking staff.

Get in

By plane

Pathein Airport (BSX IATA). Myanmar National Airlines from Thandwe and Yangon.

By bus

Most pickups and smaller buses will drop of people at the City Bus Station from where it can be hard to find onward travel, e.g. north or to the beaches. If you do not want to stay in Pathein, take a motorbike (2,000 kyat) or pickup (1,000 kyat) out of the city to the bigger Highway Bus Station, from where it should be easy to catch onward travel. Equally, if you are dropped of at the latter, take a motorbike or pickup into the city.


There are regular bus services from Dagon Ayar Highway Bus Station in the far northwest of Yangon. The trip takes around 5 hours, including a 30-minute break for tea and snacks. Tickets cost around 3,700 kyat per person. It is probably cheaper to buy a ticket to Pathein and then further to Chaung Tha or Ngwe Saung, in case you want to go there. Try the Shwe Mingala bus company.

Chaung Tha & Ngwe Saung – There are regular buses and pickups into Pathein, taking 1½-2 hr for about 3,500 kyat. Private taxis are around 30,000 kyat.


You have to take a bus from Thandwe bus station to Yangon and get off at Ngathaingchaung with the large bridge, from where you have to catch another bus or pickup to Pathein. The trip from Ngathaingchaung to Pathein takes about 3 hr for 1,500 kyat in a non-air-con bus. However, the trip from Ngapali to Ngathaingchaung can take up to 8 hr, so start early enough.


The bus leaves at 06:30, takes about 10 hr and costs 6-10,000 kyat.

We recommend you check the latest bus schedule and price via

By train

The train to Pathein starts from either Kyankin (100 km from Pyay) or Hinthada. Hence, coming from Pyay, you first have to take a local transport or a boat to one of the two cities.

Get around

The town is small enough that you can see much of the town on foot. Motorbike taxis are also readily available and the standard fare for a trip is 1,000 kyat (which however seems a little excessive).

A local ferry can take you to the Karen village across the river.

Contact us to get more information




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