The people of Myanmar used to say that the Ayeyarwady delta is the rice pot of the country. Pathein is the capital of the Ayeyarwady Delta with a major port. Pathein is located 198 km west of Yangon on the banks of the Pathein River. After the Second Anglo-Burmese War, the British transformed the Ayeyarwady Delta into a vast rice-growing area. The city is a center for rice trade and processing of fish and crabs, besides Pathein is well-known for hand-made bamboo umbrellas and sweets called Halawa.
In the center of the city, directly opposite the city market, stands the Shwemokhtaw pagoda on a small hill, which according to legend was founded by the Indian emperor Ashoka. With its 47 m high stupa, the sanctuary shapes the cityscape. The pagoda is crowned by a valuable 'hti'. The seated Buddha Image Thihoshin Phondawpyi stands in the southern shrine. It is said to be one of the four statues sent from Sri Lanka on four rafts across the sea to spread the Buddhist faith. The other three statues are in Kyaikhto, Kyaikkami and Dawei.
Meinmahla Kyun Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the last refuges of the endangered saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus). Meinmahla Kyun is an island in the Ayeyarwady Delta with an extent of 500 km2 covered by mangrove forest. The approximately 25 km long and 10 km wide island is located in the lower estuary of the Bogalay and Kadonkani rivers, about 20 km south of the city of Bogale. Since 1994, the island has been a wildlife sanctuary to protect the endangered crocodile from extinction.It was declared a Ramsar site in 2017.