Mrauk-U and around
Mrauk U, hidden by the advance of the jungle, which is accessible by boat or by car from Sittwe in western Myanmar. This villa is famous for its art and architecture, Buddhist temples, among which the pagoda of the 80,000 images.In 1433, King Min Saw Mon established Mrauk U as the capital of the last unified Arakanese Kingdom. The city eventually reached a size of 160,000 in the early seventeenth century. Mrauk U served as the capital of the Mrauk U kingdom and its 49 kings till the conquest of the kingdom by the Burmese Konbaung Dynasty in 1784.
Mrauk U was also known as "Myohaung" meaning the ancient city. In this ancient city, today, there are about 70 known and named ruined pagodas, whereas there are many more remaining unknown.
Places to see
• Andaw Pagoda
• Lemyathnar Pagoda
• Shitthaung Pagoda
• Sanda Muni
• Koethaung Pagoda
• Mrauk U Museum
• Shwedaung Pagoda
• Zina Man Aung Pagoda
• Yadanar Pon Pagoda
• The Palace Site
• Lawka Man Aung Pagoda
• Mingalar Man Aung Pagoda
• Sakkyar Man Aung Pagoda
• Yadanar Man Aung Pagoda
• Laungbanpyauk Pagoda
• Pagodas around Mrauk U
The Andaw (meaning the tooth relic of Buddha) is a pagoda only 86 feet to the north-east of the Shitthaung Pagoda. This shrine was originally built by Min Hla Raza in 1521 A.D. The central tower of the shrine contains the tooth-relic of Buddha obtained from Sri Lanka by King Minbin. The shrine is an octagonal structure of pure sandstone, with two internal octangular concentric passages. Fifteen small circular pagodas, built of bricks stand on the platforms of south, north and west of the shrine. On the east, there is a prayer hall, which has an entrance each on the east, north, and south sides; a stone wall divides it from the outer court, which is also circumpassed by a wall.
The temple was built in 1535–1536 by King Min Bin to commemorate his conquest of Bengal. It is located on the western face of Pokhaung Hill, north of the Royal Palace, and adjacent to the Andaw-thein Temple. It is typical of the many Buddhist temples found in Burma: a central bell-shaped stupa, surrounded by four smaller stupas at the corners, and a multitude of even-smaller stupas surrounding them. At the east of the temple, there is a recent (though about 75 years old) addition of a flight of stairs and tazaung.
The Shite-thaung temple is the main attraction of Mrauk U. Adjacent to it lays another famous temple, the Htukkanthein Temple (Htukkan Ordination Hall).
Standing on a plain of rice fields is the Koethaung Pagoda; the name means 90,000 and probably signified the number of Buddha images it was supposed to contain. It was built by King Min Taikkha, the son of King Min Bin who built the Shitthaung or temple of 80,000 images, so the son exceeded the father by 10,000! It is the biggest pagoda in the Mrauk-U area. Like the Shitthaung, this pagoda is also a massive fortress-like structure built with stone walls and terraces. There are 108 smaller pagodas surrounding it, all made of sandstone. With a winding corridor it is like a cave tunnel which you have to traverse until you reach the central chamber. The inner gallery has collapsed and is no longer accessible. There is an octagonal pagoda in the middle surrounded by over one hundred smaller pagodas. Unlike some of the other temples, not only sandstone, but bricks were also used in this pagoda.
The Htukkanthein has three chambers, rotating clockwise inwards. The entire temple has a total of 180 Buddha images in niches (179 smaller ones along the corridors, and 1 at the central vaulted chamber). On each side of the niches are sculpted male and a female figures said to represent the donors who made the construction of the temple possible.
Vesali (Wethali) Old Town
Vesali (Wethali) Old Town situated about 8 km north of Mrauk Oo. It is an old town which flourished between AD 300-900. Some ruined Stupas and an old fort can be seen.
Chin & Mro Ethnic Villages
After sightseeing in Mrauk Oo one can visit Chin and Mro ethnic villages with their ways of live, dress and daily life. Chin ladies usually tattoo their faces traditionally.
The boats going to the Chin villages are not very good. Delays caused e.g. by engine break-downs are possible.
Formerly called Akyab, is situated in the Rakhine State, a long narrow coastal region to the west of Myanmar, separated from the mainland by the Rakhine Yoma (mountain range). Sittway is the capital of the state and a seaport with a rich hinterland producing crops, fish and Rakhine Longyis.Though Sittwe itself has few places of interest, a popular tourist destination in the Rakhine State, Mrauk Oo, can be reached only via Sittwe. Mrauk Oo, an ancient royal capital known for its old temples with wall paintings of Indian cultural influence, teems with interesting historical sites, cultural edifices, antiques and articles of archaeological value. Worth sightseeing in Sittwe includ Atulamarazein Pyilon Chan Tha Pagoda, Kyayoke, Mahakuthala Monastery, Adeilhtim Sima, the Buddha Museum and the Rakhine State Cultural Museum.
Places to see
• Sittwe’s central market
• View Point and Sittwe Beach
• Shwe Zedi Kyaung
Sittwe’s central market
Sittwe’s central market is recognizable by its uniquely styled (and out of use) iron clock tower. The fish market can be found directly to its east; it is enjoyable to simply walk through and soak up the atmosphere, and arriving at the seafront you are faced with the pleasant contrast of a quiet jetty with views out to the mouth of the Kaladan River.
View Point and Sittwe Beach
One of the most popular places in Sittwe is called, simply, View Point (sometimes abbreviated to Point). Located a few kilometers south of town, where the sea meets the Kaladan River, it features a small park (complete with beer station) and an old watchtower with panoramic 360 degree views. Hang around here at sunset and you’ll most likely find yourself exclusively in the company of teenagers and foreign NGO workers.
Sittwe beach, which has dark sand but is nevertheless good for swimming, can be found immediately to the west of View Point. A tuk-tuk from the center of town will cost around K1500; if you return after dark, make sure you have transport set for your journey, as it is a long walk and the tuk-tuks don’t hang around.
Shwe Zedi Kyaung
Sittwe has several pagodas and monasteries, the most famous being the Shwe Zedi Kyaung (Golden Pagoda monastery), which can be found around ten minutes’ walk to the west of the central market. Founded in 1903, it is one of Sittwe’s most beautiful buildings, and holds an important place in local religious and political life; it was the monastery of revered anti-colonialist monk U Ottama. You can just wander in and the monks will be happy to show you around the main building, its school and its (British Council-funded) library.