S ince the announcement of the Dawei Special Economic Zone in late 2010, Dawei has become more of a business destination rather than a tourist one. How-ever, I recently had the luck to go to Dawei for the weekend and realised this small charming town and its surrounds has some real attractions to offer.
What strikes you first when you arrive is the beautiful architecture of its colonial hous-es. Multi-coloured, fading pastel coloured two-storied wooden houses with arch topped balconies and intricate wood detail, they seem to have withstood the test of time and the elements and add a real sense of history to the town. Many are government buildings, but some are residential and their open win-dows and doors lead the eye to walls covered with family portraits, clocks and religious shrines. The cool dark interiors are inviting on a hot and dusty day in Dawei. I hope with much of the progress that is bound to change this charming town, that these beautiful old buildings are preserved and treasured.
The other thing that strikes you when you arrive in Dawei, particularly from the traffic choked streets of Yangon, is how few cars there are. In their place is the buzz and hum of mopeds and motorbikes that weave their way as they criss-cross the town. Tuc tucs are the main form of public transport for the vis-itor and can comfortably accommodate up to 6 people. It’s a nice way to view the town, looking out from the back of a tuc tuc as life whizzes by.
Our hotel, ‘Zayar Htet San’ on Ye Yeik street was a very comfortable mid-range priced hotel, with nicely designed and very clean bedrooms and a distinctly Thai feel, making you realise how close you are to the border. There is a pleasant garden and it’s centrally located, within walking distance to restau-rants and shops.
Like many hotels, I imagine this was built with a view to all the new business the Spe-cial Economic Zone (SEZ) would bring to town, and indeed at breakfast more business people with laptops in tow, than tourists lined up for the egg orientated breakfast. And while the choice of eggs ranged from scrambled eggs, eggs sunny-side up, om-elettes, or egg fried rice: a plate of fruit was not to be had which is surprising given the wide range of exotic fruits at hand on the nearby street corner.
The SEZ hasn’t quite gone according to its plan, with the current project stalled await-ing new investors. However I am sure this very pleasant hotel and the many other new establishments in town will do well in the fu-ture regardless of the SEZs’ future