Untouched Myanmar at its very best
The former royal city of Mrauk U is situated on a rocky plateau in Rakhine State, on the western-most tip of Southeast Asia. Bordering the Chin State, Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal, the city lies around 70km from the coast on the banks of the Kaladan River.
Until recently, the city was off-limits to foreigners and it sometimes feels as if it’s stuck in some kind of mystical timewarp. The infrastructure is relatively underdeveloped, roads are bumpy and accommodation is rustic, but there’s a good chance you won’t see any other tourists during your stay, allowing you to experience a truly authentic side of Myanmar.
One of the highlights will be watching the sun set over the city. Pagodas and shrines are dotted around perfectly rounded hillocks covered in vegetation. Smoke from cooking fires twists and rises in the gentle night breeze before dispersing into the evening sky, enveloping the scene in a misty haze reminiscent of ancient times.
Unlike Bagan, the archaeological site at Mrauk U is dotted with thatched villages. This lends the city a timeless feel and gives you the chance to watch shepherds lead their flocks to water, women toil in the paddy fields and children play between the houses.
A wonderful day trip from Mrauk U is a journey up the Lemuro River to the tribal villages of the Chin Hills. The ladies of the tribe are decorated with tattooed faces, making for great photos and a unique experience.