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Sittwe (Akyab) is a city and district in Rakhine State, Western Myanmar.


Sittwe, formerly known as Akyab, is the capital city of Rakhine (Arakan) State, located in Western Myanmar. It has a population of around 200,000 inhabitants.

Get in[edit]

By air[edit]

Air Bagan and Air Mandalay fly to Sittwe from Yangon for US$135 to US$140. Some of the flights go via, or on to Thandwe (Sandoway). The airport (nothing more than a Second World War airstrip) is only a couple of miles from the city and taxis are available but it is cheaper to take a trishaw for the short ride to the city (Trishaws wait outside the airport gate).

By road[edit]

The road to Sittwe (via Pyay) has been upgraded in recent years and the once harrowing journey is now quite comfortable if you have your own car. Buses also ply the route. Either way, set aside two days for the journey from Yangon. The coastal route is still long and arduous.

Get around[edit]

Trishaws, readily available, are the easiest way to get around. It is also possible to walk (if you are not going far!) or to rent a bicycle (available at most hotels).

See[edit][add listing]

  • Rakhaing State Cultural Museum is an easy way to get up to speed on the culture of the region. Tickets are US$1 and the entire visit takes less than an hour.
  • Maka Kuthala Kyaungdawgyi is an odd museum with a mixture of colonial era and Buddhist artifacts. The museum is in a colonial mansion that is itself well worth a visit.
  • Sittwe View Point, (a few kilometers away from south of Sittwe). Sittwe View Point is an urban park located a few kilometers away from south of Sittwe, the capital city of Rakhine, where the sea meets the Kaladan river. It is built on a rock jutting out into the Indian Ocean, with the Ocean to the west and the river on the east. The point consists of the main deck, an old look-out tower, a modern lighthouse and part of Sittwe beach. The two main roads of Sittwe, the old Strand and the New Strand Roads, coverage at the entrance of the point. The view point is lovely recreational spot where one can enjoy breathing fresh sea breeze.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

Most people use Sittwe as a stopping point for Mrauk U and rarely spend time in the city. However, a brief visit is well-rewarded. At sunset, visit The Point at the end of the Strand (50 kyat admission fee) for a glimpse of the sun setting over the Bay of Bengal. Walk back along the Strand to the City Point Restaurant for some beer and music by the water. The city is also known for its fruit bats which take wing by the hundreds at dusk. Swing by the lively Central Market near the bus stand. A Fish Market operates in the early hours next door to the Central Market if you like seeing fish by the thousands. Sittwe is also a much better place for trying Rakhine food than Mrauk U (see the section on Food below).

Sittwe's dirty little secret is that its once sizeable Muslim population has been the target of a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign following ethnic riots in 2012. The entire Muslim population has been relocated into camps outside town. Investigative journalists who have visited the camps report very poor conditions, with no medical care, and food only available to the extent that foreign NGOs are permitted to bring it in. Tourists are not permitted near the camps and will be turned back at police checkpoints if they stray in the wrong direction. The once beautiful Jama Mosque (built in 1859) is, as of early 2016, a mouldering ruin.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

Rakhine food is spicy and is a nice change from the blander Burmese curries. Mondi, the Rakhaing version of the Burmese mohinga, is thinner and spicier. Rakhaing fish curries, catfish is the local favorite, are fiery and can be enjoyed at several hole-in-the-wall (or rather shack-on-the-ground) eateries that dot the main street and side streets of Sittwe. Restaurants, such as City Point, Nyein Chan, and in the Shwe Thazin Hotel in Sittwe tend to serve blander Burmese or Chinese food. Hotel Memory, the newest hotel in town, has a good restaurant serving good Rakhaing and Chinese food.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Be warned that many guest houses are not allowed to take foreigners any more.


  • Motel Shwe Myint Mho - Brand new hotel on the main road close to Shwe-Thazin hotel, US$25-40 friendly owner, WiFi from 7am to 10pm.
  • Kiss Guesthouse - Right on the Main Road. Clean, basic rooms with AC and attached bathroom, Wifi, Double US$20, bargaining possible,


  • Shwe-Thazin Hotel - AC; restaurant; private bath; generator; US$45/50 single/double. Clean, business style hotel.
  • Noble Hotel - AC; private bath; generator; US$40 single/double.
  • Hotel Memory - AC; private bath; US$80 single/double. Popular business and tourist hotel with good restaurant/bar on top floor.

Stay safe[edit]


As of 2006, the Internet situation in Sittwe was restricted to one computer offering very unreliable dial-up service at a small shop next door to the Shwe-Thazin Hotel for about 2500 kyat/hour. The direct dial phone service from Sittwe is quite erratic as well but 'booked' international calls at US$6/minute seem to work fine.

As of 2015, wifi is available at most midrange guesthouses, though the internet connection to the outside world is very spotty. People with 3G phones have reliable internet access, either via foreign sim cards with roaming plans, or via local sim cards which are widely available, at least in Yangon.

Get out[edit]

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