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Take an overland odyssey like no other! Start the Mrauk U Tour from Sittwe, a port city on the Bay of Bengal at the mouth of the Kaladan River and an important trade centre during British colonial times, then boat from the highlands of the Chin State to the ancient capital of Mrauk U. Travel where few have ventured, exploring timeless hill tribe villages and waterways surrounded by unspoiled nature.
NOTE: Usually held in April, the Shittaung Temple Festival is the most popular among Rakhine people. During this festival, you can watch Rakhine traditional dances, boxing matches, and boat rowing competitions. It’s also an opportunity to learn more about the ancient temples and pagodas of the old Mrauk U Dynasty.
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DAY 01: YANGON – SITTWE
This morning, you will be transferred to Yangon airport for a domestic flight to Sittwe, an important trade centre during British colonial times. Arrive at Sittwe airport, you will be met by our Asia Senses guide and transferred to the hotel for check in.
Start our sightseeing tour of SITTWE with an excursion to the Rakhine State Cultural Museum, a museum that displays figurines of the Rakhine people and their traditional dress, traditional looms and arts of Rakhine people.
NOTE: The museum is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and public holidays.
Then visit Thet Kya Muni Temple, one of the highlights of this seaside town with the big sitting Buddha image. Stroll along the Strand Road and pay a visit to a nearby fishing village to observe and see not only variety of tropical fishes and other species, but also local fishing systems and life style of the people.
In the late afternoon, we head to View Point Lighthouse (Farkir Point), a lovely recreational spot where one can enjoy a spectacular sunset over the Bay of Bengal. West and South are the Bay of Bengal while East is the Paladin River estuary with several islands.
Overnight in Sittwe.
Shwe Thazin Sittwe Hotel
DAY 02: SITTWE – MRAUK U
Pay a visit to the local market in Sittwe and observe how the local buy and sell products. Transfer to the jetty for a private boat trip along the Kaladan River to Mrauk U. Relax and enjoy lunch on board and the riverside scenery during the 5 to 7 hours journey upstream. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel for check in.
MRAUK U, which means "North Far" may seem to be a sleepy village today but it was former capital in the 15th century and once one of the richest cities in all of Asia. At its peak, Mrauk U controlled half of Bangladesh, modern day Rakhine State (Arakan) and the western part of Lower Burma. There are hundreds of ancient temples and pagodas, many of which are well-preserved remain of the powerful empire that once flourished here.
In the afternoon, begin your Mrauk U tour with a visit to Htukkant Thein Temple, the reputed temple in the ancient Arakanese city, located on a small hill and. Nearby is the famous Shittaung Pagoda or "temple of the 80.000 Buddhas" with a maze-like floor plan inside built in 1535 by King Minbin who reigned from 1513 to 1553. The king built this fortress-temple after repulsing a Portuguese attack.
After that, head to Andaw Thein Temple. The name means 'Tooth Shrine'. It contains a tooth relic of the Buddha coming from Sri Lanka.
Wake up early and leave the hotel for Shwe Taung Hill to enjoy the beautiful sunrise over the misty hills of Mrauk U. After that, return to the hotel for breakfast.
Stroll through the city market to see the way of life of the local people. Visit Koe Thaung Temple whose stone terraces, passageways and chambers are home to thousands of Buddha images. Continue to Sakaya Mannaung Pagoda, the pagoda built from the 15th to 18th centuries, set in a low-lying area surrounded by hills. These temple and pagoda are currently some of the most important religious shrines in Mrauk U to local villagers.
In the afternoon, head to Ratana Pon Pagoda to discover its pure Arakanese design; the impressive, massive monument is without decorative elements or ornamentation. Afterwards, visit Le Myet Hna Temple. It is one of the oldest temples of Mrauk U, built in 1430 by King Min Saw Mon, the founder of the Mrauk U Kingdom.
Visit Laungbanprauk Pagoda locally known as "Plate Pagoda" because a wall at the front is embedded with plate-like tiles in bright color. Transfer back to your hotel for relaxation.
Start the Mrauk U Tour today with a visit to Chin villages which allows you to gain a very essential insight into the life of the Chin ethnic community, one of the major ethnic nationalities in Burma. After breakfast in the hotel, set off on the 20 kilometer drive to Lay Myo River. Board the boat and cruise upstream, stopping en route in some of the riverside villages including Kreik Chaung village, Pambaung village and Cho May Chin village, located within 15-20 minutes walking distance from one another.
Here you have the unique opportunity to meet the Chin tribes. Some of the older women have intricate patterns tattooed on their faces, a vanishing tradition of the Chin tribes. Observe the centuries-old unchanged lifestyle of these ethnic minorities and learn about their local customs, traditions and beliefs.
A picnic lunch box will be provided for your lunch. Spend some hours with your guide to explore surroundings. In the late afternoon, cruise back to the starting point and drive to Mrauk U.