Be warned : Now hearing more and more ‘ripped off in Dala’ stories.
Taking the ferry over to Dala from Yangon’s Pansodan Jetty has quickly become a tourist must-do (along with the circular train). It is a great way to get a quick look at what other parts of Myanmar might be like. And an easy get out into the countryside option.
Paying $4 return for a boat ride that costs locals 100 Kyat each way has always felt like a bit of a rip-off but things have got worse.
I’ve now heard more than a few very recent stories of tourists being ‘picked up’ by young girls in the Pansodan ticket office. They offer to show you the sights, help you to get a tri-shaw.
You do get to see the sights but on your return to the Dala jetty the price you agreed may turn out to be ‘for the half hour’ rather than for the whole trip. Or worse, if you did not agree a price, you may be asked to pay a stupid amount (as much as 120,000 Kyat in one story I heard first-hand). By this time you will not be dealing with the sweet young thing you met on the boat but several men, some somewhat threatening, one at least prepared to hold and hit a young woman last week.
And the ‘buy (massively overpriced) rice for a tsunami village’ thing? That’s a scam too.
The tourist police (Pansodan, lower block) know it’s happening, Dala has become their biggest source of complaint. The Kyauktada township police (37 St, lower block) say it’s not their business (despite Pansodan jetty being on their patch). They say ‘go back to Dala’ if you want to complain.
Dala already has a bad reputation amongst many Yangon locals. Until something changes maybe it’s time it got one amongst tourists too.
Top tip. Get yourself down to Lan Thit jetty where you will be allowed onto the small ‘gondola’ style boats for the 200 Kyat trip across to SeiKyiKanaungDaw island in the Twante Canal. All yours until Lonley Planet catch up.