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Published: July 30th 2011
Mrauk U is an ancient city similar to Myanmar’s most popular attraction, Bagan. The former capital of the powerful Arakanese Kingdom was once compared in wealth to the cities of London and Amsterdam. The area is scattered with hundreds of temples and pagodas, but the real beauty of Mrauk U versus Bagan is that there is still active village life surrounding the temples. We met a farmer who proudly announced that we were walking through his garden. Our initial thoughts were, “wow your garden has an amazing ancient temple!” Since Mrauk U is fairly remote and a bit challenging to go there, not many tourists take the time and effort to visit. Even more challenging were the monsoon rains which meant we had to be very flexible with dates of travel.
We initially flew in to Sittwe – which is a small but busy town on the Bay of Bengal, and from there we took a 6 hour ferry to Mrauk U. It poured rain the entire day on the ferry as it had for the past week. As it turned out, the ferries actually stopped running the day after we arrived since the river levels were too high. We
found out later that we arrived to a town that was experiencing its worst flooding in 14 years.
Our time spent in Mrauk U was great. When we weren’t wandering around the temples we were hiding from the rain or heat at the local cafes eating samosas, drinking tea, and watching the street life go by. Due to the flooding we got an unexpected extra day to see the Sunday markets, and the town come to life once the sun came out and the flooding started to recede. It was really special to see everyone in the town come together and help each other through the disaster as many people were forced from their homes. We’re so glad that we made the effort to get to this amazing place and it will be a highlight remembered for a very long time.
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