Day Trip #1: Twante -Twante is a small town located across the Hlaing River to the west of downtown Yangon. Though close to the city, the town feels like a world away with its relaxing, rural vibe. Twante is famous for its numerous pottery workshops.
Many of clay pots used for storing water and holding plants you see by the roadside for sale around Yangon and Myanmar are manufactured in the bamboo workshops of Twante. Each pot is spun into shape by craftsmen using hand or foot power.
Getting There - One well-known option is the early morning ferry across the Hlaing River to Dala on the opposite shore. The ferry ride offers a great view of some of Yangon’s best architecture along Pansodan Street and Strand Road — giving a unique perspective not available from any other vantage point.
From Dala, it takes about 40 minutes of road trip west to reach Twante. You’ll find various methods of transport to choose from including private taxis, shared taxis and minivans but we think motorbikes are best because they allow you to take in the surroundings of rice paddies and farm animals as you zip along the route. Self-drive motorbikes and driver hire are now both options. Visit - Your first stop should be Baungdawgyoke Pagoda, also known as the Snake Temple, which is located 30 minutes along the road towards Twante.
Sitting in the middle of a lake full of large fish and other creatures, the temple is home to dozens of snakes which slither around on the window sills and shrines. Next to the lake, on your right as you return to the gate and hidden from view is a pagoda in a quirky and colourful garden with lots of painted statues, turtles, frogs and rabbits — and well worth a visit. Back on the main road towards Twante, you may notice some pop-up roadside shops full of locals drinking a cloudy white drink in the shade. This is locally brewed rice wine or kaung ye. The drink is sweet with a slight fizz and just a little stronger than beer. Take a rest here and sample the local tipple. Drive the final 10 minutes to Twante and visit Shwesandaw Pagoda the spire of which is nearly as tall as Yangon’s Shwedagon. Slot machines with dancing figurines depicting Shan traditional musicians and scenes from Buddha’s life provide an unusual experience. Nearby is Bandar Di Tou, a complex of a thousand Buddha images to get lost in. Perhaps at this point you want to take a rest and have lunch at teashop or other restaurant in the centre of the town. The pottery workshops are not hard to find because they cover whole quarters of Twante. Inside the bamboo buildings you can see the entire process of pottery-making from preparing the raw clay, forming the pots on the spinning plate, to drying and firing the pots in huge kilns followed by polishing and painting. The workshops are usually run by a family and you can see husband-and-wife teams working at the spinning wheel. One person spins the wheel with their hand or foot and the other shapes the clay into the desired form. Every few days a huge wood-fired oven is lit to fire about 800 pots as the final stage before they go to the markets. Workers will appreciate if you buy a one of their finished works to take home with you.