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Home >> Burma Destinations >> Mrauk U

Mrauk U

Nestled just below the border with Bangladesh, Chin state, and the Bay of Bengal on Burma’s far west coast in the state of Rakhine, the spectacular former Royal city of Mrauk U is another of Burma’s key cultural highlights. Located in a predominantly agricultural region on a rocky plateau in the Rakhine state, this unassuming town was once the Mrauk U Empire’s splendid capital, a thriving nexus of exotic trade routes from Portugal, Spain, Holland, the Middle East, India, Burma & beyond. Founded around 1430, the kingdom prospered for over 350 years before its collapse in the late 18th Century.

Mrauk U measures some 50 miles inland from the coast and is located on the banks of the Kaladan river. Despite the fact that it has been an important religious centre for many centuries with temples, littered throughout the town and further afield into the surrounding countryside amongst working rice paddies and small villages was off limits to tourists, up until recently. Therfore, the infrastructure of the area is relatively simple and poor. Hotels do not meet the international standards, lack of power is regular, the roads are bumpy and the restaurants do not carry Michelin stars. But once you have paid it a visit, it all means that you will be one of few tourists to experience a truly stunning and mystical place stuck in a medieval time warp.

In our opinion, it is unfair to compare the site to Bagan where was gifted with many favourable conditions to develop, while Mrauk U, with numerous villages of small thatched houses all over the archeological site, lending it a lived in and timeless feel, lacking the scale and much of the ‘wow factor’ of its older brother. Saying that does not mean Mrauk U is not worth a destination to be considered by those wishing to get to grips with less-visited highlights in Burma. The site glows via its daily features when shepherds lead their flocks to water, women toil in the paddy fields, young girl’s gossip and giggle at the well, men water their vegetables and small children run around waving and shouting bye-bye. Pagodas and shrines are lovely nestled surrounding hillocks and covered in vegetation. Smoke from cooking fires twists in the gentle night breeze before dispersing into the evening sky will remind you of ancient times. You cannot resist of adoring this untouched jewel that is the quintessential rural Burma.

In the town you will easily find a local market, an array of small-sized restaurants with regional food, and the ruins of the royal palace. The palace complex houses an interesting archaeology museum full of artefacts rescued from the crumbling temples, and a small model of the town, which provides a helpful overview of the area. Other places within reach include a visit to several Chin Villages where you can see the ladies decorated with tattooed faces and learn more about the unique Chin culture without taking on the complexities of travel to the state, which is often severely restricted.

MRAUK U ATTRACTIONS:

Dukkanthein Paya

Dukkanthein

Andaw paya

Andaw paya

Shite Taung

Shite Taung

Kothaung pagoda

Kothaung pagoda

Wethali (Vesali)

Wethali (Vesali)

Ratanabon Pagoda

Ratanabon Pagoda

Laymyetnha paya

Laymyetnha paya

Jama Mosque

Jama Mosque

Mahamuni paya

Mahamuni paya

Myingun Island

Myingun Island

Ramree Island

Ramree Island

Kanthaya Beach

Kanthaya Beach

 

AROUND MRAUK U:

Sittwe (Akyab)

Sittwe (Akyab)

Ngapali Beach

Ngapali Beach

Ngwe Saung

Ngwe Saung

Bagan

Bagan

 

MRAUK U HOTEL SUGGESTIONS:

  • 4 star: Mrauk U Princess Resort
  • 3 Star: Shwe Thazin Mrauk U, Shwe Thazin Sittwe, Mrauk U Nawarat Hotel
  • 2 star: Prince Hotel Mrauk U, Vesali Resort

 

WHERE TO EAT

  1. Gamone Phyu Restaurant – at Princess Resort serves local and European cuisine
  2. Vesali Resort – local cuisine served in the hotel restaurant
  1. River Valley Restaurant – local cuisine and cold beer served by the river
  2. BlackMoe Cherry – local cuisine for lunch and dinner

Other Information About Mrauk U

HOW TO GET TO MRAUK U

By plane and river boat

Mrauk U is lovely hidden among the Kaladan river and Lay Myo rivers in Rakhine state in the Western part of Burma, near the Bay of Bengal. The journey to Mrauk U basically includes adventure action and off beaten track attractions. The only way to get there is a combination of flight from either Yangon or Bagan to Sittwe then river boat from Sittwe to Mrauk U. The first leg of the trip is a domestic flight to Sittwe, a town on the Bay of Bengal. Several Burmese airlines offer such flights, but not daily. Air Mandalay runs flights 4 times in a week from Yangon to Sittwe that take 1 hour and 20 minutes. Air Bagan flies 5 times weekly from Yangon to Sittwe with estimated time around 1 hour and 20 minutes. Asian Wings serves the same route from Yangon. After reaching Sittwe by the flight, the second leg will be connected with a pleasant boat trip from Sittwe to Mrauk on the Kaladan river and tributary streams, a distance of about 65 kilometers. If you choose to travel by the large public ferry, it would take you about 7 to 8 hours. Along the way, it halts many times to receive more people on board. The fare is 12,000 Kyat or about US$ 15 one way. For a bit faster transportation, it is recommended to get to Mrauk U by a small private boat. Prices are between US$ 90 and 160 for a round trip boat. Normally, the boat driver will wait in Mrauk U until your scheduled date to return to Sittwe. Therefore, the prices depend on the number of nights he would spend there.

Overland

There is another way is to travel overland directly to Mrauk U overland via Taungup Township from Pyay and Pathein. However, this way is not popular and few people choose it.

GETTING AROUND

There are several hotels organizing tours by Jeep or horse cart around the archaeological zone you can choose. Also, you can hire a horse cart at about US$ 15 per day, a Jeep at US$ 30 per day or a bicycle at 4,000 Kyat a day.