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Mrauk U

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The Andaw Temple in Mrauk U

Mrauk U is a medieval town and archaeological site in Rakhine State, Central Myanmar. It was formerly known as Myohaung. All foreign nationals must pay a US$5 fee for their stay in Mrauk U.

Understand[edit]

Mrauk U, which means monkey's egg, may seem to be a sleepy village today but not so long ago it was the capital of the Arakan empire where Portuguese, Dutch and French traders rubbed shoulders with the literati of Bengal and Mughal princes on the run. Mrauk U was declared capital of the Arakanese kingdom in 1431. At its peak, Mrauk U controlled half of Bangladesh, modern day Rakhine State (Arakan) and the western part of Lower Burma. As the city grew, many pagodas and temples were built. Several of them remain, and these are the main attraction of Mrauk-U.

Get in[edit]

Map of Mrauk U

By boat[edit]

The journey through the backwaters and then up the river is a wonderful trip (contemplative and delightful). In Nov 2011 there were 2 large ferries running from Sittwe to Mrauk U, the ex-government boat (XGov) (now privatised) & the Aung Kyan Moe(AKM) double decker boat (on both tourists 10 USD, 7 hours & an Express boat (20 USD, 3 hours). You will almost certainly be met at Sittwe airport by a tout selling private boats / places on private boats (2-5 passenger 20 USD pp, 6 hours, one way), which may be useful if you want to go that afternoon, as you save a night in Sittwe.

If taking a private boat it is best to book the one way trip only, and arrange your return from Mrauk-U. There is a guy whose card reads "Environmental Decorator" among other things selling boat places there, and he grouped all of his passengers who had booked (and paid for) a private return into a single boat. The best rule of thumb is to hand over your money only when you see and are satisfied with the boat. Private boats will typically have coffee and tea, and sometimes water for passengers, so bring your own food as the journey is about 5 hours.

Sittwe to Mrauk U, a Ferry goes Mon (AKM) Tues (XGov),Fri(Xgov),Sat(AKM).at 7am Express boat Wed 2pm.& there one more sailing of the Aung Kyaw Moe probably Thurs (possibly Wednesday).

Mrauk U to Sittwe a Ferry goes Tues(AKM),Wed(XGov),Fri(AKM),Sat(Xgov),Sun(AKM).at 7am Express boat Thursday 7am.


Food is available for purchase. The ferry is not in great condition but seems safe enough. Be warned though that the ferry has been known to skip a day or two every now and then so, if relying on it for travel, keep a reasonable buffer to avoid getting stuck. Private boats are available for rent in Sittwe and may do the trip considerably faster (4 to 6 hours) for US$50-80 (2008 price) depending on your negotiating skills and the number in your party. The principle advantage in renting a private boat is that you are no longer tied to the ferry timings. In the main season in 2011 there were private boats leaving Mrauk U seemingly every day, which you could join for negotiated fare. Flights from Yangon arrive in Sittwe in the afternoon and it is easy to rent a boat and be in Mrauk U in the evening which means a travel time of one day from Yangon. With the government ferry (US$6 or Ky 7'000), count on at least two days to get from Yangon to Mrauk U, longer if you arrive the day before a ferry off-day.

The Sittwe-Mrauk U Ferry

By road[edit]

Buses leave for Sittwe and Yangon every morning. Even if the MTT office stated that it was not possible, some travelers reported that it is possible (but might no be easy) to reach Sittwe from Yangon by bus (about 30h).

From Nyaung U (BAGAN), take a local bus to Magwe (3-4h). From the new bus station in Nyuang U there are 3 buses to Magwe,10am,12.30pm,and 11.30pm,4000kyat (sep 2014). In Magwe, you can catch the direct bus Mandalay-Sittwe between 11pm & midnight in front of KHM fashion shop, for the full fare price Ky 25'000 + an additional Ky 5'000 supplement for foreigner. The ticket can be brought in Magwe at K.H.M Fashion Shop, tel 095680758 opposite side of roundabout from the Rolex Guest House(you cannot see the KHM store from Rolex guesthouse due to trees blocking the sign),its to the right of the big bluetooth phone shop sign, the shop owner Minn is very helpful and speaks good English. The bus ride from Magwe to Mrauk U takes about 14h, possible in rainy season (sep 2014).

You cannot buy direct bus tickets to Mrauk U from the bus station in Magwe.(sep 2014)

Get around[edit]

In Mrauk U you can either walk, rent a bicycle (available from most hotels), hire a trishaw or hire a horse cart. Beware that Hotels & Guesthouses charge very high commission for chin village tours,trips, bus tickets and rickshaw hire. You can get cheaper prices at the agent in town(details in the Get Out section, at bottom of page).


See[edit][add listing]

Foreign nationals must pay a US$5 fee in Mrauk U. The official counter is in the Shittaung Pagoda but the government fee collector will track you down sooner or later if you miss him.

Inside the Shittaung Pagoda

The Archaeology Museum (Free), just inside the Royal Palace has a collection of artifacts from the Mrauk U sites - Buddhas, slabs with inscriptions, Wethali era coins, paintings that show Mrauk U in its heyday, and an excellent model of Mrauk U that will help you get your bearings. Crumbling walls is all that remains of the Royal Palace itself.

Do[edit][add listing]

Chin Villages Day trips to semi-remote Chin villages can be arranged at most hotels (US$80). Note the actual price for the Tuk-Tuk 15'000 Ky to the jetty both way, and a boat for a day 25'000 Ky.

Wethali Now a small village but fifteen hundred years ago Wethali was the capital of an ancient Arakan kingdom. While temples are probably buried under the many mounds that dot the area, the only thing to see today is the layout of the palace and a statue known as the Great Image of Hsu Taung Pre. Wethali is a pleasant two hour outing from Mrauk U by car, or all day outing by bicycle.

Mahamuni Paya This pagoda is 40 km (forty bumpy kilometres!) north of Mrauk U and once housed the mahamuni Buddha that now resides in the Mahamuni Paya in Mandalay. There are several ancient artifacts on view at the Paya and at the small museum near the shrine. Hire a jeep (US$30-US$50) for a day outing to Wethali and the Mahamuni Paya from Mrauk U.

L Amitié Art Gallery (Close to Laymyetnha Paya) The owner of the art gallery warmly welcomes any visitor. He has great knowledge about the Mrauk U area and the Chin Villages he likes to promote by its art.


Buy[edit][add listing]

A market is located south-west of the temple area.

There are no banks in Mrauk-U, so be sure to bring enough Kyat to last for your time there, since exchange rates are much poorer in Mrauk-U than elsewhere in Myanmar.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • A number of small restaurants, food stalls and tea shops are available in and around the market.
  • Pyae Wa Restaurant (main road, opposite the market) offers authentic Burmese Chinese & Rakhine food. The cashew chicken and butterfish come recommended.
  • Kaung Thant (Rice Shop) (near the bridge on the main road, south of the market) is a great place to sample a variety of Rakhine curries and fresh vegetable dishes - quite popular with locals. Vegetarian options are available. Portions are generous, and the tamarind flowers are a must-try. 2000-4000k per person.
  • For You (south on the main road, just past Golden Star Guesthouse) is another good place to load up on Burmese Chinese food, including excellent renditions of fried rice & noodles. The tomato salad is very tasty as well. 1000-3000k per main.
  • Mo Cherry offers good Chinese and semi-authentic Rakhine food. To get there, follow the Yangon Sittwe Road by the Narawat hotel and Mrauk U hotel east to the crossing, then turn right. After a few metres you see the restaurant on the left side.
  • Good meals are served at the Nawarat hotel and in the Mrauk U hotel, see the Sleep section below.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Even remote Mrauk U plays host to a handful of beer stations, and at least one beer garden. A bottle of Myanmar beer should cost no more than 1500 kyat - slightly more than most areas of Myanmar. Andaman Gold, Tiger, and Dagon are also available around town.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Budget[edit]

  • Royal City Guest House, Mini Ba Gyi Rd (Around the corner from the Sittwe jetty). Simple rooms, some with attached bath. Two bungalows (concrete rooms) across the street. Friendly and helpful but, as it is on the main path to the jetty, it can be very noisy! No generator. Avoid buying bus tickets from the owner, some travellers had a bad experience. US$10-35.  edit
  • Prince Hotel, Mraund Bwe Road, Alzee Quarter, Mrauk U, (+9543) 24200 Ext: 50174 (), [1]. Bungalow style rooms a bit away from the city (easy bike ride). Friendly breakfast and dinner area. Some rooms are much better than others, ask to see yours before you agree. Hot water almost never. US$20-45.  edit
  • Pleasant Island Guest House, (On a tiny island close to Royal City). Shower, WC; Bungalows, simple and close to the market.  edit
  • Kyawsoe Guesthouse (Pronounced Ch/Joe Saw) (on the main road, south of the market before the bridge to the bicycle rental shop). Family business adjacent to their own shop. Note that there is no clearly visible sign marking this as a guesthouse. The young sister speaks perfect English. The rooms are nice and clean - the showers are cold water, but they can provide hot water in a bucket. $10 for a double room with fan and attached bathroom. Tel 500-03
  • Tha Zin Pan Khaing Guest House, Myothit Street. This hotel is not licensed for foreigners.  edit
  • Mya Nann Thein Gyi Guest House, Maung Bwe Road (Next to the market). Excellent location but is not licenced for foreigners.  edit
  • Lay Myoe River Guesthouse, Main Road, Bandoola Quarter, Mrauk U, + 09 (0) 852 2139. Single and double rooms with little more than the basics - clean sheets, fan, mosquito net and a private bathroom. Towels available upon request. Access to electricity and running water can be sporadic, but for the price, it’s hard to complain. No Wi-Fi or breakfast. US$5-10.  edit
  • Golden Star Guesthouse, No. 116, Min Bar Gree Road, near Thakan Hla Lake, +95 9 49 67 44 72. Long-running backpacker staple that could use a little TLC. Singles, doubles and triples available. The place has a cool vibe, but the rooms can be a bit dank and dismal - try to get one with a window facing outside, for ventilation's sake. Having been featured in Lonely Planet, they will not negotiate on price even in low season, even though other options in town offer much better value for money. Still, the staff is very friendly, and the included breakfast is quite good. No Wi-Fi. US$13-26.  edit

Mid-range[edit]

  • Nawarat Hotel, E-27, Yangon-Sittwe-Road, Nyaungpinzay (approx. 200m from the Shitthaung Pagoda), 951-703885 (). Very friendly, pleasant hotel; air-con, shower/bath tub, WC, TV, refrigerator; clean and beautiful, not too large rooms in bungalows US$38-60 incl. breakfast.  edit
  • Mrauk U Hotel (Yangon-Sittwe Rd., Nyaungpinzay Qtr., opposite the Narawath Hotel, phone: 23060) - air-con, shower, WC, TV, fridge; very large rooms; large garden; well equipped; note that this hotel is run by the government of Myanmar - US$30-50
  • Vesali Resort Hotel Rooms are bungalow type (near the Shwetaung Hügel; phone: 01-526593, 525609 Fax: 01-526325, E-Mail vesaliresort@gmail.com vesali@myanmar.com.mm) - including breakfast; good food - US$ 35-45

Splurge[edit]

  • Mrauk U Princess Resort, Mrauk U, Aung Tat Yat, +95 43 50232

Get out[edit]

The area around Mrauk U is restricted and all foreign visitors must sleep in the town itself. For day trips, see the See and Do sections.

It is now possible to travel by bus to Bagan. You have to take the direct bus Sittwe-Mandalay and stop in Magwe (14h) where you can continue with a local bus (4h) to Nyang U.

Daily buses to Yangon leave between 11am and Midday stopping at Pyay after about 16hrs.total trip approx 22-25hrs expect to be ripped off on price $30-40USD!

Bus tickets can be bought cheaper from an agent in town(looks like a tea shop has an air bagan & air KBZ sign outfront),location on the main road passing around the town same road buses pass through on,walking away from mrauk u hotel towards na wa rat hotel continue walking 5mins past hotel agent is on the right just after the bend in road before you get to the bridge,speaks good english,also offers chin villiage trips etc cheaper than hotels.



This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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