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[Photos] Exploring Dala Township on the River Yangon's South Shore

Only a 10-minute ferry ride from central Yangon, Dala is a blur of motorbike horns, trishaw drivers peddling scams and old ships rusting on the riverbank.

The ferry leaves Pansodan Pier every 20 minutes and you feel the difference as soon as you walk off the boat. Hawkers yell at passengers as they flow down the jetty ­and into town and motorbikes, which are banned in Yangon, whine along the streets.

There are many myths explaining why motorbikes are banned in Yangon, including one legend in which a rider swore at a military general, causing him to banish them from the entire city. Whatever the reason, their presence is overwhelming in Dala, especially after the relative peace north of the river.

There was once a major shipyard based here called the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, and its tale is still told on the riverbank; carcasses of old boats line the shore, including a decaying ferry half full of mud and silt. Between the boats, fishermen cast their nets into the river while workers climb onto ships to maintain or dismantle them.

As you get further from the river, however, the area is more tranquil. With no bridge connecting Dala to Yangon, the township is largely undeveloped, and streets further south feature wooden houses, schools, Hindu temples and ponds. Locals cycle around under parasols or enjoy a game of Chinlone, and you realize how far you’ve come from the hassle of the pier.

The ferry crossing.

Smaller boats also take passengers across the River Yangon.

Passengers coming off the ferry.

Trishaw drivers transport people around the villages.

Chilling in the afternoon.

Fishing boats line the riverbank.

A fisherman casts his net into the river.

The only way onto the ship.


A homegrown tattoo parlor.

A game of Chinlone played over a tennis court.

Family time.

A trishaw driver near the pier.

Preparing the boats

The beginnings of a rainbow as a boat heads downriver.

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