If you’re looking for Yandabo in your Myanmar guidebook, there’s a decent chance you’re not going to find it. Yandabo today is a very small village that's home to a school and a large-scale pottery operation that seemingly employs nearly every family that calls this sleepy town by the Irrawaddy River home. History buffs might recall, however, that this was the place where the Treaty of Yandabo, which put an end to the First Anglo-Burmese War, was signed in 1826.
What We Love
The Authenticity: It doesn’t get more real than this. Most river cruises will take guests on a walking tour of this little village, with its bamboo picket fences and modest houses. Roads are made of dirt, chickens and livestock roam freely, and local children will run up to grab your hand. It’s as if someone flipped the calendar back a few centuries.
Best Known For
Pottery Production: Most if not all of Yandabo's residents are involved in the making of pottery of varying shapes and sizes, and chances are good that you’ll be treated to a demonstration of how well the locals know how to play with clay — and how quickly they can shape pots, plates, and vessels. Production methods are firmly rooted in another lifetime, from the manually powered pottery wheels to the traditional kiln made of a giant mound of earth and combustible materials that can burn for days.
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Who It's Best For
Anyone Looking to Slow Down: Yandabo is the place to step back in time and take a look at an authentic slice of rural Burmese life.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It’s a Furnace in More Ways Than One: Yandabo gets hot — very hot. Stepping off your river cruise ship, the massive bank of trees that seems to end right at the town line looks alluring enough, but beware: It’s equally as hot in the shade. Carry multiple bottles of water ashore.
Aaron Saunders is a Calgary-based contributor to ShermansCruise.com.