5 Days/4 Nights
Day 1: Yangon/Sittwe (Flight), Sittwe/ Mrauk U (Boat)
Arrive in Sittwe where you directly board a comfortable boat on the Saladan River and spend the day sailing to Mrauk U (“myaw-oo”). The boat trip takes somewhere between four to six hours, depending on the tide. Lunch is served on board.
Mrauk U is an archaeological site lying roughly 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) east of the Kaladan River. Some Rakhine scholars state that the name Mrauk U means ‘The First Accomplishment’ in archaic Arakanese. The town was the capital of a powerful Rakhine kingdom from the 15th to 18th century during which time its rulers commissioned hundreds of lovely pagodas.
Upon arrival, check into your hotel.
Note: The boat ride time can be reduced. We can drive for an hour from Sittwe until the village of Ponnagyun; where the boat awaits you. Thus, the ride until Mrauk U takes between two and three hours only. Small supplement applied.
Day 2: Mrauk U Sightseeing
Today, we take you in Mrauk U’s archaeological marvels. Visit Koe Thaung, located at the eastern part of Mrauk U and accessible via a bumpy road. This is the largest temple in Mrauk U. In Burmese, Koe Taung means Temple of “90 000 Buddha images”. It was built between 1554 and 1556 by King Dikkha, the son of King Min Bin who built the Shitthaung site to gain religious merit. Two minutes drive from Koe Taung is located Peisi Daung Paya, an unrestored four door Buddha sitting on a hilltop. From the top, the view overlooks Koe Taung Temple and the surrounding fields. It worse a short stop for photography.
Along your day, you will have the opportunity to visit the Ordination Hall, the Yadanapon Pagoda and Bandwola Monastery. Located at the top of a hill, it is home of a cute museum with a collection of Buddhas images.
Continue with the visit of Shitthaung Temple (Temple of 80,000 Images). Shitthaung is located 800m north of the old Palace and is a real highlight of Mrauk U. Built in 1535, it has several terraces and this is more a fortress than a single temple.
If you wish, you will have the opportunity to visit more pagodas and discover some hidden treasures. If you prefer, stop at a local village for a walk and learn about the local life of the extremely friendly inhabitants of Mrauk U.
Finish the day with a sunset from the top of the ‘Discovery Hill’; offering a panoramic and stunning view on the surrounding area
Day 3: Boat Trip to Chin Villages
This morning, transfer to the jetty for a two-hour boat journey to the villages of Shaco May, Kyun Chaung and Pan Paung; home to the Chin tribe. The Chin are known for the tattooed faces of their women, an ancient tradition that is being abandoned by the younger generation. The origin of this unusual rite is shrouded in mystery, with most accounts maintaining that mothers tattooed their daughters at a young age to destroy their beauty, so that Burmese kings would be discouraged from taking them as concubines.
The different Chin sub-tribes each bear distinctive markings that identify their particular clan. Only a very few ladies still live in these villages.
After a picnic lunch, return to Mrauk U to explore more pagodas or some tribal villages.
Finish your day with a sunset from the top of Harry Hill.
Note: Please note that the boat is local and very simple. The journey to reach the Chin Village is very long and can be uncomfortable for some tourists
Day 4: Mrauk U/Sittwe (Car)
This morning, transfer by car back to Sittwe after enjoying some last minute visits in Mrauk U. You will have plenty opportunities to make stops on the way and learn more about the area. Upon arrival in Sittwe, stroll at the Viewpoint, where the sea meets the Kaladan River and enjoy the 360 degrees view on the ocean from the old watch tower.
Day 5: Sittwe sightseeing, Sittwe/Yangon (Flight)
Breakfast at the hotel. Don’t miss a visit to the main market, recognizable by its uniquely styled (and out of use) iron clock tower, and where town and rural people come to buy and sell fish and general supplies. The market is at its most interesting between 4 am and 5 am, when fishermen arrive in the harbor to sell their fresh fish. However, the place remains busy all along the day. If time allows, don’t miss a photo stop at the old Jamei mosque to appreciate its unique architecture.
You’ll be taken to the airport for your flight back to Yangon.
Option to include on day 2 or on day 3:
SUNRISE ON THE MAGICAL SITE OF MRAUK U:
Awake early this morning to capture a memorable sunrise over the archaeological site of Mrauk U. You will be transfer to an elevated area which offers great views of the famed temples, villages and surrounding hills. Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea as the sun gradually rises, illuminating the magical landscape and burning off the morning mist. Afterwards return to your hotel for breakfast.