Sittwe: The city of western Myanmar and the capital city of Rakkhine State, Sittwe is the starting point for visiting the ancient city of Mrauk U. Although Sittwe seems far away from the major cities of Myanmar, it has the feel of a capital city. There areÂ universities, colleges, high schools,and hospitals.
Sittwe can be reached by flight, car, and boat also although it takes more time and the route goes via some towns in the state. It shares most of Myanmar Coastal Line where all the beach are lying. Fishery is the major business of the State while agriculture is no less important for the people of the state.
The word, Rakkhine derives from Pali, Sanskrit and is translated as Ogre and Rakkhine People say themselves as Sea Ogres. The color of skin complexion proves it true and the look of the people with the wide eyes and square face adds facts to the former proof. Nevertheless, Rakkhine was until 18th century, once dependent rich kingdom.
Mrauk U: The ancient city, Mrauk U, or as the locals call it, Myauk U, can be reached either by motorway or by boat from Sittwe. It takes the same whether you go it by car or boat. However, by boat is more recommendable with the opportunity to see the river-side activities along the Kaladan River, which is translated literally as the river that prevents from the Indians or Bengali intruding from the western part.
After 5-hour trip, you will arrive at Mrauk U with the 15 and 16-century Buddhist monuments. The Ancient Temples of Mrauk U have been built of mainly the sand stones by which the tourists call it as Borobudur of Myanmar. Among other famous centuries old temples, Shit Thaung Temple and Kothaung Temple are resembling to the Borobudur of Indonesia.
According to the history, the Buddha himself visited the area in his lifetime and since then, the people were converted into Buddhists. As the trace of Buddha’s visit, people from Mrauk U and Rakkhine State say that the Buddha image inside the Bandoola Monastery was embraced by the Buddha to give life to it. Later on the kings of Mrauk U, having believed in the Buddha’s Teachings, became Buddhists and constructed the Temples dedicating to the Buddha.
Mrauk U is now a small village with many old temples and apart from the Temples, one can visit the village enjoying the ways of life of the local people. A visit to Mrauk U market should not be missed.
After exploring the temples and monuments, the next day, you can also visit the Chin villages situated along the Lay Myo River, so called, because of the Four Ancient Rakkhine Kingdoms, namely Waitharli Kingdom, Laung Kyat Kingdom, Danyawaddi Kingdom, Mrauk U Kingdom. The old ladies at the Chin, one of the Ethnic Majorities in Myanmar, have the tattooed designs on their face as a protection.
The villagers from Chin Villages always give a warm welcome to the visitors. They will take you around their village taking you to the rest house of the village, and then to the school where you may be provided with the fresh coconut juice. Take as many photos as you like with the ladies and talk to them asking the ways of living in the remote area of the country.
It is so sad to know that the later generation, the Chin girls of today, will not have the tattoos designed on their faces and the current ladies are only the remnants of the Traditional Chin Tribe. One of the reasons for not being able to tattoo their faces of the girls today is that the Tattoo master died years ago.
So, why not visit the Chin Ladies with the Tattooed faces near Mrauk U??
Here is the program for Sittwe - Mrauk U visit http://www.ayudamyanmartravel.com/content/myanmar-extension-tour-sittwe-mrauk-u-visit