Mrauk U in Myanmar is an attractive town in the north of Rakhine State, Myanmar. The little town is famous for the “medieval feel” that appeals to the travelers all over the world. For a desire to discover Myanmar off-the-beaten-track, consider visiting Mrauk U !
About Mrauk U in Myanmar
Mrauk U has the significant archaeology, and functions as the capital of Mrauk U Township. In the north of Rakhine State, Mrauk U stands out as one of the most visited towns for the true medieval perception as there are remnants of the medieval time here. In the past, this is the capital of Mrauk U Kingdom, the most critical and powerful Rakhine Kingdom which lasted from 1430 to 1785. Geographically, the town is 11km from Kaladan River to the east, which gives it the alluvial plain. Also, the surrounding area of the town contains the hill, marsh, mangrove, and lake. These natural ingredients create the fascinating landscape and ecotourism. Mrauk U the beautiful North Far land of Myanmar. For using some adjectives to describe Mrauk U, they should be “ancient, sleepy, and appealing.” Together with the attractions of the medieval buildings, this North Far land possesses several extraordinary pagodas and temples. Ranked amongst the most gorgeous and ancient destinations in Rakhine along the marvelous Ngapali Beach, Mrauk U offers the rural taste holiday. It’s required to pay US$5 to stay in the town.
What to See in Mrauk U
Koe Thaung Temple
Founded between 1554 and 1556, Koe Thaung Temple is the largest site in the region with 90,000 Buddha images. The brick temple is measured 80m on each side. With the huge number of Buddha bronze images inside, this religious highlight is the revered place for worshipping, and it is often packed with the Buddhist practitioners. You might also be impressed by the standing Buddha from Sri Lanka.
The temple is an incredible highlight of Mrauk U in Myanmar. History says that this temple was built in 1535-1536 to commemorate the defeat of Bengal. It has the decoration of around 8,000 Buddha images in the disorient spirals. Adorned spiritually, the central chamber becomes extremely eye-catching and revered. In fact, Shitthaung Temple is the holy venue for both the local and international pilgrims coming to worship and pray for the goodness. With the aesthetic and hallow architecture, this temple is a worthy attraction.
Htuk Kan Thein Temple
The list of the best temples to see in Mrauk U cannot lack Htuk Kan Thein. The temple looks similar to a fortress and has the holy ambiance inside. It was erected in 1571, with a huge collection of the antique Buddha images. That said, the temple served as the shelter for the Buddhist followers during the wartime. The design of fortress and temple in Htuk Kan Thein is unique. While the central dome is in the mushroom shape, the corners have some smaller stupas and the square window which allows the sunlight directly enters onto the main Buddha image in the central vault. There is a little meditation chamber on the west side of the major temple for the visitors to try meditating.
Archaeology Museum inside the Royal Palace
The Royal Palace only leaves the remnant of the crumbling walls. If stepping inside the Palace, you find the Archeology Museum which houses the artifact collections of Mrauk U. The artifacts of Buddha, paintings, slabs with inscriptions, and Welthali-era coins will interest you much. Take the chances to learn more about the history and culture of the Mrauk U sites!
The day trip to the exceptional Chin Villages is offered by the local hotels. The village exploration teaches you much about the new culture of the Chin people in the Rakhine State. Laughing together with the local people leaves you the memorable enjoyment. Also, expect to see the Chin tribe women wearing various pattern of the tattoo on their faces and the impressive necklaces. What’s more, Chin traditional dances and musical bamboo flute is very absorbing. There is much to learn about Chin tattoo, big holes on the girls’ earlobes, etc.
The visitors should not ignore the highlight of Mahamuni Paya – the remnant of the old Arakanese Kingdom in 1431. This gold wonder marked the development of Buddhism in the area. People have faith in the magic preserved in Mahamuni Paya, and they usually do worshipping here. The artifacts in the pagoda are fascinating while the revered architecture wins praise.
Mrauk U Market
For watching how the local people live and work, come to the market zone! While the market is bustling with merchants and buyers, the streets along are full of restaurants that serve the Rakhine food. The best food to try is the butterfish with rice. For exploring the market, a good option is to rent a bicycle, trishaw, or horse cart.
Bandoola Kyaung Monastery
The monastery is a competent place to discover the monk’s life, the Mahakyan Sandamuni Buddha Image, and the monastic museum. Bandoola Kyaung Monastery is on the west of Mrauk U, and gain fame as a place holding a Buddha tooth relic. The travelers might come to this religious site to witness how the authentic monks live, see the revered Buddha image. Also, explore Buddhist artifacts as well as antiques in the Monastic Museum inside the monastery.
Mahabodhi Shwegu Temple
The ancient temple was built in the late 15th century, on the hillside in the north of Mrauk U. Standing out in the octagonal structure with the dome safeguarded by the 32 spirit images, Mahabodhi Shwegu Temple covers the characteristics of Hinduism. But know that the inner walls of the temples were dedicated to Buddhism with the carved pictures about the Jakata tales as well as the stories about the lives of Buddha. In the temple’s heart is the 1.8-m-high stone, gilded Buddha image.
How to Get to Mrauk U
Take flights to Sittwe Airport first, and then you have a transfer to the Mrauk U town. Most travelers prefer the domestic flights to Sittwe from Yangon, Thandwe, and Kyauk Phyu.
Once flown to Sittwe, you have a boat against the Kaladan River to reach Mrauk U. The boat trip is full of sightseeing opportunities, and you can explore the water-based life of people in Mrauk U in a smooth manner.
From the Sittwe Airport, it is interesting to enjoy the transfer services of taxi or tuk-tuk to the jetty location for a boat trip to Mrauk U. The taxi should cost no more than K3000 while the tuk-tuks cost less.
When to Visit Mrauk U
For soaring to the height of the medieval experience in Mrauk U, know that this town has the coastal tropical monsoon climate. This is one of the wettest areas of Myanmar.
- May – October: This period marks the beginning of the monsoon season. It features the heavy amount of rain, and the wet condition might not suit some travelers who prefer the outside discovery.
- November – April: This is the cool season in Mrauk U when the temperature can drop as low as 13 Celsius degree. The cool conditions mostly sound the best time to travel to Mrauk U, and to see its best highlights, from the ancient temples to the exceptional Chin villages.
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