Mrauk U is the second largest temple center in Myanmar after Bagan, however, it is not known by many travelers.
The archaeological city Mrauk U is located near the western border and is the second largest pagoda center in Myanmar. The temples here were built of stone bricks, unlike the other temples in Bagan which were built of mud-bricks and clay.
The famous temples you can visit in Mrauk U are Shite-thaung, Htukkanthein, Koe-thaung, Andaw-thein, Lemyethna, Ratana,… The most magnificent and important temples that tourists must visit is the Shite-thaung temple. Due to Mrauk U is not well-known as Bagan, it still retains natural and peaceful beauty. Coming here, you can discover the ancient temples, admire the beauty of green hills and rice fields.
Overcoming the ups and downs of history and influences of natural disasters, many temples in Mrauk U were seriously damaged. However, with the thousands of Buddha statues and countless Indian-style Buddhist monuments, Mrauk U will make you feel like you are lost in the ancient world.
What to see
Shite-Thaung: As the largest temple built in the 16th century, Shite – Thaung is also known as the royal temple. There are long corridors in the temple, all made of brick and stone. Several Buddha statues line the fundamental corridor, some of them in their unique positions, others moved from close-by removal destinations. Walls were carved many reliefs depicting king, queen and life of people.
Myatanzaung Pagodas: The Myatanzaung Pagodas refers to a number of small pyramids around the large temple and scattered everywhere. These Myatanzaung were made from pure sandstone while the stairs and entrance gate were built of stone bricks. The cool, fresh air inside the pagodas along with the unique Myanmar-style architecture makes Myatanzaung become the ideal to visit in Mrauk U.
Mokseik Taw: Mokseik Taw is located about 300 meters north of Myatanzaung. The main pagoda is circular and has a bell shape. A small turret stands on each of the four corners. On the eastern side of the pagoda there is an image of a footprint of the Buddha with the length of 34 inches on a large stone.
Htuparyon Temple: The temple was built in 1494 AD by King Minranaung. It is made of stone blocks and the base is octagonal. There is a wall surrounding the spacious temple court which is in disrepair. Each of four corners of the temple walls is guarded by the figure of a lion having two bodies and a head. The Htuparyon Temple is located in the area between Mrauk U and Sagaing, owning both the majestic and charming beauty.
Kothaung Pagoda: Kothaung Pagoda is one of the prominent buildings of Mrauk U as well as the largest temple in the area, built in 1553. There are about 90,000 Buddha statues and more than a hundred stupas and stone paths still intact while the others were destroyed by the earthquake.
Royal Palace: is located in the center town, just east of the market. Very little is left of the teak wood building that once stood here; only parts of the walls remain. Situated on the grounds is the Archeology Museum which opens from 9 am until 4.30 pm, admission is US$ 5 per person.
Getting to and around
How to get there: Mrauk U is located between the Kaladan and Lay Myo rivers in Rakhine state in the Western part of Burma, near the Bay of Bengal. The journey to Mrauk U is an adventure and attraction in itself. The only way to get there is a combination of flight and river boat. The first you take a domestic flight to Sittwe – a town on the Bay of Bengal and then continue to take boat trip from Sittwe to Mrauk on the Kaladan River and tributary streams, a distance of about 65 kilometers.
Getting around: Several hotels organize tours by Jeep or horse cart around the archeological zone. Alternatively, hire a horse cart at about US$ 10 per day, a Jeep at US$ 25 per day or a bicycle at 2,000 Kyat a day.