Explore Pyay (Prome) – The Ancient Capital of Pyu Kingdom on a next trip to Myanmar
On the trip from Yangon to Bagan or Mandalay, visitors can drop by Pyay, an interesting stop as well as an important commercial and trading center among Rakhine State, the Central and Upper Myanmar. Formerly known as Prome, Pyay city is located 274 kilometers (170 miles) north of Yangon, across the Ayeyawaddy River, and is easily accessible by rail and road. Places of interest in Pyay include Buddhist related constructions and archaeological sites.
The highlight of a Pyay visit for sure is Thayekhittaya (or Sriksetra) below – the ancient capital of Pyu Kingdom in the time period of from the fifth to the ninth century. Standing behind thorny bushes dotted with beautiful white flowers, the site consists of several antique pagodas like Patagyi and Bawbawgyi. Also, there is a small museum displaying artifacts such as royal funerary vases, silver coins, stone carvings, terracotta votive tablets, and statues of Bodhisattva, Dvarapala, Vishnu, Lakshmi as well as other Hindu deities.
The country was split into two parts – Upper and Lower Burma – in the 19th century, and the major exchanging panel between these two is Ayeyarwaddy River. Lying across this river is the range of Akauk Taung (Gautama Hill) which is full of Buddha images supposed to be carved by traders stopping for a while at the area. Located about 15 kilometers away from Pyay is the small town of Shwetaung, which is famous for its two pagodas: Shwemyettman – Pagoda of Golden Spectacles, and Shwenattaung – Pagoda of Golden Spirit Mountain.
Pyay is geographically about half way between Yangon and Bagan but the road conditions beyond Pyay mean that in actual travel time it’s a totally different story. The bus from Yangon to Pyay wasn’t too bad. It took us about 7 hours on a regular average bus with no A/C, but the driver made sure we had plenty of fresh air howling through the windows by doing his best to maintain maximum speed. We were again the only tourists on the bus and the entertainment consisted of soft and happy karaoke music.
From Bagan it takes 9-10 hours to reach Pyay. Buy your bus ticket in Bagan a day in advance, costs 13,000 kyat (11,000 kyat for non-A/C bus) and departs at 1.30pm from Nyaug U bus station. In Pyay somebody will approach you to buy his ticket to Ngapali for 15,000kyat. His service is a private car which leaves the next day at 7pm and will take about 11 hours with door to door service. He sells bus tickets as well but they don’t drop you off at the hotel but reaches Thandwe only. From there you have to get a pickup to your hotel. Bus tickets cost 17,000 kyat and leave at 8.30pm. Book the ticket in advance or you will loose you possibility to go out.
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