Cross the Hlaing River from Yangoon and you enter a world that couldn’t be more different from the bustle of downtown. Gone are the streams of trishaws and taxis. In their place: horse carts, little red-tiled farmsteads and temple ponds splashed with water lilies and lotus flowers.
The perfect way to experience this rural flipside to the city is on one of our popular cycle tours, which start with a ferry crossing of the river and proceed via a mix of dirt roads and back-country lanes along the banks of an old, British-built canal to the market town of Twante.
En route, you’ll have to chance to take tea in a local village, visit a Buddhist shrine, meet children in a primary school and enjoy lunch at a typical Burmese café. Well off the tourist trail, Twante itself offers a glimpse of life in a traditional Delta market town. It’s particularly famous for its pottery workshops, some of which still manufacture 50-gallon ‘Martaban jars’, used for centuries to transport fish paste, palm liquor and peanut oil by sea.
You’ll be shown how these and other large items are thrown and fired in brick kilns, before a tour of the colourful fresh produce market and soaring Shwesandaw Paya – Myanmar’s third largest pagoda. The full tour requires 3-4 hours of cycling over flat terrain. For those who prefer less strenuous modes of transport, a similar trip can be arranged by car.