UNKNOWN MRAUK U
9 DAYS OFF THE BEATEN TRACK ADVENTURE
Mrauk U (once known as Myo Haung) was the capital of a mighty Arakan kingdom from the 15th to 18th centuries, when it enjoyed great wealth and was an important commercial port. A visitor described it as one of the richest cities in Asia. Being a great trading centre, it was coveted by many surrounding kingdoms including the Bengalis, the Moguls and the Burmese. The end came about after two disastrous earthquakes in 1761 and 1762, and the takeover of Rakhine by the Burmese King Bodawpaya in 1784. In the wake of the first Anglo-Burman war in 1826, and the subsequent founding of Sittwe by the British as an administrative centre, Mrauk U fell into oblivion. Little remains of this wealth but Mrauk U has great charm with its many local markets, solid wooden houses, canals, hills and friendly people. Discover the deserted ruins of Mrauk U’s grand palaces, temples and pagodas of this important trading port and former capital. Situated by the lovely Kaladan River in a charming rural setting dotted throughout farmlands the ruins will take you back to the 16th century. It can be accessed from Sittwe on a scenic river journey on the Kalatan River. Today part of its allure lies in its isolation from the rest of the country; the lack of development; and that (for the moment) you are more likely to bump into a cow or a goat than into another tourist.
Route: Mandalay – Bagan – Magway – Ann – Mrauk U – Sittwe – Yangon
On arrival, pick up from the airport and transfer to down town.
Begin your sightseeing tour of Mandalay with a visit to Mahamuni Pagoda, second most sacred image in Myanmar and venture through local cottage industries as stone Buddha sculptures, bronze, wood carving etc.
Afternoon Mandalay sightseeing continue to Golden Palace monastery, Kuthodaw pagoda, well-known as "the world's largest book" and ending the day with a sunset view from the top of Mandalay Hill.
Depart Mandalay .
Make a stop at Amarapura and take a stroll on U Bein Bridge, which at over a kilometre is believed to be the longest teak bridge in the world.. Then, departs on your 6 hour drive to Bagan by offering picturesque vistas of local villages and farmlands.
The views are pleasant – a mixture of palm trees, villages and paddy fields dominate the landscape.
Your discovery in Old Bagan begins with some of the site’s most important monuments such as
HtilominloTemple, one of the greater temples of Bagan, Ananda temple, an architectural masterpiece, built 1105 AD in the early Mon-style, Ananda contains two unique Buddha images whose expressions seem to change depending on the distance and angle from which the statues are viewed. Continue to Thatbyinnyu Temple standing within the city walls, rises to a height of 201 feet above the ground and overtops all the other monuments, Gubyaukgyi Temple which dates back to the 13th century AD and Sulamani Guphaya Temple.
You will return to your hotel for a couple of hours to escape the hottest part of the day.
Later this afternoon, end the day atop a pagoda which affords a magnificent sunset view of Bagan's temple studded plains.
Drive from Bagan to Magway (approx. 4 hours drive)
Arrive Magwe in time for lunch.
In the afternoon, enjoy attractions of the town in the afternoon such as Myathalyon pagoda and sunset view over the Ayeyarwaddy river.]
Drive from Magwe to Ann valley (approx. 5 hours drive).
Make a stop at little town Minbu to see Mud Volcano’s. Locally they are known as Naga Bwet Taung which loosely translates to something about Dragons breath. Starting from Nga Phe, it is hilly drive. Continue to Ann valley. The scenery is interesting - rolling hills as the road climbs into the mountains of Rakhine Yoma mountain. The road takes about 3 hours. Arrive Ann. Enjoy the cool, refreshing air and relaxed atmosphere of this charming and sleepy town.
Breakfast at local teashop. Take a stroll in the tiny off beaten track town and witness the local daily life beside the Ann creek.
After lunch, set off about 5 hour journey to Mrauk U by road. by passing Ramaung bridge and small villages.
Mrauk U, pronounced Mira Oo – an area featuring a concentration of temples and pagodas that is often compared with what is probably Burma/Myanmar’s most famous tourist sight, Bagan. Mrauk U is generally touted as being the less touristy, more “real” version, as on account of its difficulty to get to.
Arrive Mruak U in time for sunset.
Early morning around 0530 am, you will be met by local guide and leave the hotel to Herri Hill behind the hotel in time to catch an impressive sunrise over the misty hill of Mrauk U.
Then, return to hotel for breakfast.
After refreshing up, being your exploration of Mrauk U temples
Your first visit to Shitthaung Pagoda known as "80,000 Images", which was built in 1535 and considered to be the city's most highlight monument. Continue to Andawthein, ordination hall with tooth relic, and Yadanabon stupa, a multi-spire structure filled with inimitable stone carvings.
After lunch, return to the hotel to escape the heat.Return to the city in the afternoon to continue visit to circular Ratanabon pagoda, Yadana Manaung Zeti, Dukkhanthein temple,vaulted passages with impressive stone sculptures in the huge fortress-like temple, Laymyetnha temple, the first pagoda to be built in Mrauk U in 1430, Pitakataik and Laungbanpyauk pyaya, built in 1525 by King Minkhaung is also known as the “colored tile pagoda.
After breakfast, start a scenic journey on a bumpy road by car about 20 minutes to Seik Phyu jetty.
Make a stop at Koe-Thaung Pagoda. Koe-thaung means ‘shrines of the 90,000 images of the Buddha’. It has been partly restored since the excavation works in 1996. Koe-thaung temple is surrounded by 5 receding terraces where hold hundreds of small stupas. Its entrance leads to a long vaulted passageway, spiraling through the interior towards the central chamber. Along the passageway stand various large images of the Buddha seated on a pedestal at regular intervals. For Buddhist followers, it is ritual to walk around the central image three times and keep the image to the right at all times.
Then continue to Seik Phyu jetty where small wooden boat is waiting for boarding along the Lay Mro River for about 2 hours to visit from one village to another. Enjoy scenery beauty of the river, fishing boats, agriculture faming along the river bank and chance to learn their fishing method by local technique along the way.
Visit riverside villages along the Lay Myo River such as Pan Myaung, Kone Chaung etc.. where you can learn about daily authentic life of Rakhine people and different ethnic tribes of Chin. Chin people are well known for their colorful fabrics, as well as tattoo on faces of women.
Return to Mrauk U.
Depart Sittwe for Mrauk U by road (approx 4 hours)
Mahu Muni Buddha which is now located in Mandalay and at the other end of the river. Enjoy fabulous views from the top of the mountain.
Arrive Sittwe . On arrival, transfer to the airport for flight to Yangon.
Alternatively, we suggest from Mrauk to Ngapali beach today. This journey takes approx. 8 hours, party hilly drive and party bumpy road.