Pyay (Prome, Pyi) is a small, charming town and district in Bago Division in the Irrawaddy region of Myanmar. It is home to the Ancient Pyu city ruins of Sri Ksetra, which, incredibly is the only UNESCO world heritage site in Myanmar (rather than Bagan as many people think). It's also known for the buddha images carved in the cliff faces along the Irrawaddy river, about an hour SSW.
From Bagan it takes 9-10 hours to reach Pyay. Buy your busticket in Bagan a day in advance, costs 13000kyat ((11000kyat for non-A/C bus) and departs at 1.30pm from Nyaug U bus station.
The city is fine on foot, but best seen on bicycle. Try not to rent from the stingy Myat guesthouse with sub-par bikes, and opt for the Pangabar hotel bikes which are cheaper.
Pyat doesn't seem to be too well visited by foreigners so you're sure to get lots of 'mingalabas' and smiles.
By private tuktuk / pickup truck (more than two people possible)
Help at the orphanage
The Parahita orphan home always needs some help and donations. There is information posted at Pangabar guesthouse. The orphanage is in a monastery at 18.830193, 95.251257.
several ATMs at the main road between bus station and roundabout.
There are several restaurants on the riverfront near the night market at Post Office Road. Watching the sunset over the Irrawaddy is sublime.
Faluda ice milk drink is sold at Taryarlinn ice cream south of the roundabout. Take it to go though, as the place sits near open sewage channels.
There are only a few places (3-4) that accept foreigner, so not much point in wondering round the town looking for cheaper accommodation. The cheapest include:
$12 for a twin room with fan, negotiable down to about $8/night (if staying multiple nights) The rooms are downstairs, and dark and dingy with a bad smell of damp and lots of mosquitoes. Upstairs there are aircon doubles/twins for $32 but probably negotiable. (March 2014: 25$ incl. mediocre breakfast, cheaper for two nights) The wifi is slow but working. Shared bathrooms are fairly clean, and there's a decent place for washing clothes (by hand, yourself). 'Mr Myat' is friendly, but a businessman looking to get your money at heart. For example, his quoted price for a tuk-tuk trip to the nearby ancient city is ~25,000 kyat, whereas street price is ~10,000 kyat (negotiable to ~8,000 kyat). It is not advised you book bus tickets with him (where he normally takes a comission of 1000-2000 kyat per ticket). If a bus is full he will find any other form of transport (e.g. small, 10 seater minibuses - not something most people will want to take for 11 hours on a bumpy road) just so he can make his commission. They shut down A/C quite frequently, so you have to ask to turn it on again several times a day.
No.10-11, Bogyoke Road, Sandaw Ward, Pyay. 053-25142. $22 for twin room with aircon. Price negotiable (possible down to $18). Probably the best value place in town (due to its cleanliness, friendliness of staff, and location)
November 2016: Super basic accomodation. Small room you can barely move and filthy bathroom. Aircon is a plus, but not working due to electricity shortages. Central location, ok breakfast.
One of the more expensive hotels (50$) in town. With swimming pool.Coordinates: 18.819549 95.213723. Address: 722 Strand Road, Pyay. Phone: +95 53 24222.
Lots of dogs patrol the city. Not usually aggressive, but watch yourself at night.
By bus 3,5km east of city center
In Pyay somebody will approach you to buy his ticket to Ngapali for 15000kyat. 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. Bustickets cost 17000kyat and leave at 8.30pm. Book the ticket in advance or you will loose you possibility to go out.
Buses from Yangon don't stop at Pyay anymore as they take a different (new) "highway" to Bagan. The only afternoon bus departs at 5 p.m. and arrives between 4 and 5 a.m. in Bagan (uncomfortable, old bus without adjustable seats for 12000 kyet). In the morning, there might be a same-day option via Magway, but after noon the above is the only option.
Via Magway: 2pm (and other times). It doesn't matter where you hop on or off, the price is always around 25000K. Serpentines through the mountains.