Mrauk-U is an ancient city located in the northern part of Rakhine State in western Myanmar, located on the east side of the Kaladan River and on the north and south. It is a city surrounded by mountains. This guide will introduce you basic suggestion to visit Mrauk U.
1. History of Mrauk U
Located 72km from the coast of the Bay of Bengal, on the banks of the Aungdat River, , Mrauk U is the former capital of Akaran Kingdom in more than 350 years. In 16th century, thanks to the adjacent maritime trade, this city is one of the richest city of the Bay of Bengal. The architectural style was strong influented from neighboring states of Bangladesh and eastern India. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the wealth enabled this city to free itself from Burmese tutelage. Once again, this kingdom was taken over by the Burmese in 1784. Nowadays, brick-made pagodas and temples in Mrauk U is the second biggest treasure of architecture in Myanmar after Bagan.
2. Ideal time to visit
The best season to visit Mrauk U runs between mid-October and March. The rest of the time, the heavy monsoon that hits the region makes the road very humid and dirty. The months of July and August are to be avoided absolutely beacause of rain and high temperature.
3. What to visit in Mrauk U?
• The colorful Mrauk U market.
• Koe Thaung Temple
Koe Thaung Temple, also known as the temple of 90000 Buddhas. The temple was built in the 1553s to honor trampling Buddha and was built under the reign of King Min Dikkha and his son Min Bin to honor the benevolence, compassion and sublime sacrifice of the Buddha. Koe Thaung is built with solid stone statues and the temple courtyard is designed as a maze, so that you can satisfy your curiosity.
Through many ups and downs of history, the temple was buried by soil and rock and was re-excavated in 1996. Thanks to today’s advanced science and technology, the temple has been partially restored, though it not retain the original beauty but still bear a lot of historical value. The temple is considered one of the popular destinations in Mrauk-U.
• Htukkanthein Temple
Nestled in a small village of Htukkanthein Temple, it gives you a sense of simplicity and peace. The temple was built in the fifteenth century and covered with moss wall walls built of bricks. The temple gives you the feeling of time, entering the temple you will feel like you are walking back in time, admiring the old features of a long-standing culture.
• Shai-thaung Temple
The temple was built in 1535 – 1536 by King Min Bin to commemorate his conquest of the city of Bengal. It is located on the western side of Pokhaung Hill, north of the Royal Palace and adjacent to Andaw-thein Temple. The temple was built in the shape of a bell-shaped stupa in the center, surrounded by four walls and four smaller stupas.
There is a central hall built in the middle of the temple that is easily accessible. Here hundreds of Buddha statues are lined up along the main hall, some of them in their original position, others moving from nearby excavation sites. However, the highlight of Shitthaung is not the central hall, but the three layers of maze-like hallways that surround the main hall. The three corridors contain countless reliefs of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, King of Souls, Deva, Guardian Souls, 550 Jatakas, Arakan culture and animals, both are real and myth.
• The typical Rakhine village to learn about the daily life of the locals.
• Visit villages of the Chin ethnic group along the Lay Myo River. The traveler will meet the last women with tattooed faces (called spider-women).
• Cycling around Mrauk U.
The region is still under developing and therefore the city remains under-equipped with restaurants. The only choice is small restaurants. Local Akaran cuisine is highly recommended.
Best dish you have to try is the tofu soup cake. This dish is made from local bean, cooked into porridge, coated with a yellow powder on top with herbs and chili powder. This soup can be eaten with chicken or pork.
• From Yangon there is daily flight to Sittweè in about 1 hour and from Ngapali 2 or 3 times a week.
• Foreigners are prohibited from renting two-wheelers vehicle in Mrauk U. The best means of transport are therefore the taxi, the car, the motorcycle taxi, the bus.
6. Best Restaurants in Mrauk-U
This is one of the best restaurants in Mrauk-U that you should visit. This restaurant has a very diverse menu and can comfortably choose. If it is your first time visiting Mrauk-U, you should choose this restaurant as your first stop.
The menu of this restaurant is totally traditional Myanmarese dishes. These dishes will give you a feeling of closeness, simplicity but still extremely lively. Although the menu of the restaurant is not priced, you can be assured that the dishes here are not too expensive.
Address: AlayZay Quartier, Mrauk-U, Myanmar
Happy Garden, also known as an outdoor beer garden, is often the most crowded place for tourists at night. Here you can both drink beer while enjoying Chinese dishes. The dishes here are full of Chinese flavors. In addition, you can still enjoy traditional dishes in Myanmar.
Besides, Happy Garden is also ranked as one of the best restaurants in Mrauk-U thanks to the talented business style of the restaurant owner. Not only helps people eat and enjoy the beer, this place also provides you bungalows to rest.
Address: Front Kan Hla lake, next to Golden Star Guest House, Mrauk-U, Myanmar
Waddy Restaurant will bring you special dishes from many parts of the world. Here you can both enjoy Chinese, Thai and traditional Burmese flavors. The dishes here are carefully taken care of and decorated by the chefs to satisfy visitors both in appearance and taste.
Address: Utama Road Nyanpamzay Quarter, Mrauk-U Myanmar
What is your first expectation of coming to a new land? Of course it is the friendliness and hospitality of the local people. What makes the brand of Kaung Thant restaurant is the friendliness and simplicity in the service style of the staff here.
River Valley Restaurant
River Valley restaurant brings comfort and peace to visitors. The space at the restaurant is very large with the combination of green trees to bring fresh and airy space. This restaurant also offers you a unique menu with a mix of Asian and European dishes. During peak times, the restaurant will be crowded with foreign tourists and indigenous people. So if you come here, please take a moment to wait for the food.
7. Hotel in Mrauk U
Nawarat Hotel (2*)
Mrauk U Palace Resort Hotel (2*+)
Mrauk U hotel 3* /Superior room
ShweThazinHotel (3*) / Superior room
Mrauk U Princess (4*)
8. Some suggestions
There is no nighttime activities in Rakhine State because it is still a small region Tourist services do not compare the other Myanmar regions.