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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.

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, take a local bus to Magwe (4h). There are many buses during the day, you might need to ask a local agent (the guy at Morning Star was very helpfull) or your gesthouse to help you catching the right bus on the road since they are not stopping at the bus station. In Magwe, you can catch the direct bus Mandalay-Sittwe at around midnight 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.M.H Fashion Shop, tel 095680758 opposite of the Rolex Guest House, the shop owner Minn is very helpful and speaks well english. The bus ride from Magwe to Mrauk U takes about 14h.

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.

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.

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]

  • Several small restaurants are available at the market.
  • Pyae Wa Restaurant in the market offers authentic Rakhine food. The butterfish with rice is recommended.
  • Mo Cherry restaurant offers good Chinese and semi-authentic Rakhine food. The food is good and less risky than the places in the market but, if you have the time, explore other restaurants, often unnamed, and you'll be pleasantly surprised! 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]

This region is quite remote, and therefore the prices are somewhat higher. A bottle of Myanmar Beer is about 2500 kyat.

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. US$5-15.  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$20-45.  edit
  • Pleasant Island Guest House, (On a tiny island close to Royal City). Shower, WC; Bungalows, simple and close to the market.  edit
  • Kyawsoe GH (Pronounced Ch/Joe Saw) (On the main road South of the market before the bridge to the bicycle rental shop). Family business adjacent to their own shop. Note that there is no easy visible sign that this is a GH. The young sister speaks perfectly English. The rooms are nice and clean, shower with cold water, but they can provide hot water in a bucket. 10$ double room with fan and attached bathroom. Tel 500-03
  • Tha Zin Pan Khaing Guest House, Myothit St.. 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

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.



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