CULTURE OF RAKHINE STATE TOUR
Yangon / Myanmar
6 Days Mrauk U and Sittwe (from Yangon)
Day 01: Yangon – Sittwe – Mrauk U On Arrival at Sittwe airport, transfer to the jetty for a private boat trip along the Kaladan River to Mrauk U – about 5 to 7 hours upstream – enjoying the scenery of river life. Check in at hotel. Overnight in Mrauk U.
Day 02: (B) Mrauk U – Vesali – Mahamuni – Mrauk U After breakfast, we’ll begin a full day tour with a visit to the ruins of Waithali (Vesali), just north of Mrauk U in Rakhine State. It was the capital of the Waithali Kingdom from 788-1018. One of the main points of interest here is Vesali Su Taung Pyae’s sandstone Buddha images. We’ll proceed 26 km to Danyawaddy, the oldest city in Rakhine State. Next, see maze-like Shittaung Pagoda (Temple of the 80,000 Buddhas). The fortress-temple was built under King Minbin in 1535 after repulsing a Portuguese attack. From there, continue to Dukkanthein Temple,built under King Minphalaung in 1571 A.D. The interior features spiraling cloisters lined with images of Buddhas and ordinary people (landlords, governors, officials and wives) sporting all of Mrauk U’s 64 traditional hairstyles. Finish the day’s explorations at Laungbanprauk Pagoda, locally known as the “Plate Pagoda.” Overnight in Mrauk U.
Day 03: (B) Mrauk U – Chin Village After breakfast, we’ll drive 20-30 minutes by jeep to the jetty and depart for Chin Village by boat on the shallow Lemro River. Along the way you’ll see scenes of farms, kids swimming, and fishermen casting their nets. At Chin Village, you’ll notice some of the older women have full facial tattoos according to spiritual belief – a custom no longer followed. Enjoy a walk around the village and surrounding area. Return to Mrauk U late in the day. Overnight in Mrauk U.
Day 04: (B) Mrauk U This morning, visit Mrauk U’s market and observe the flow of rural life before exploring the Archaeological Museum, featuring various inscribed stones, Buddha icons of Rakhine, artefacts from Vesali, and many other items. We’ll proceed to Koe-thaung Pagoda (Temple of 90,000 Buddha Images), the largest of Mrauk U’s temples. According to legend, Koe-thaung was largely destroyed by lightning because its builder, King Min Dikkha, wanted to outdo his father with the construction of a temple containing 90,000 images of the Buddha, as opposed to the 80,000 of his father’s temple, Shittaung Pagoda. Archeologists believe instead that construction quality of the temple is inferior compared to other temples in Mrauk U because of the very short construction period and the building materials used (more brick than sandstone). Close by on a hill is Pisei Pagoda. Continuing, we’ll visit Lattsaykan Lake (the Royal Handwashing Lake), Mrauk U’s main reservoir of fresh water. Legend has it that if enemies penetrated the city, the waters would be released, drowning the invaders. Break for lunch.
This afternoon you’ll resume your exploration of Mrauk U at Bandoola Kyaung Monastery, containing priceless donated jewels and Buddha images. Then proceed to Sakya Man Aung Pagoda (1629), guarded by a couple of half-kneeling, painted giants. Continue to the bell-shaped Bodi Shwegu Temple, the inner walls of which are decorated with stone sculptures depicting some of the 550 Jatakas (stories of previous lives) of Buddha. These sculptures are like the mirrors of Rakhine’s culture. See also Pitakataik (library) which was used as a depository for Buddhist scriptures in ancient times. Sunset at Harritaung Hill. Overnight at Mrauk U.
Day 05: (B) Mrauk U – Sittwe After breakfast at your hotel, transfer to the jetty for the boat back to Sittwe. On the way, stop at Myo Village, noted for its traditional and beautiful Khami cloth. On arrival late afternoon in Sittwe, transfer to your hotel. You’re free to relax or explore on your own the rest of the day. Overnight in Sittwe.
Day 06: (B) Sittwe – Yangon After breakfast, visit the fish market, where people come and sell their catch as well as crops. At the market you can see traditional Rakhine longyi (a sheet of cloth widely worn in Myanmar). Visit Payagyi Temple with its large, seated Buddha image in the Rakhine style with the royal costume common to many Rakhine images. The face of the figure shines with gold, while the rest of the body is of bronze. Time permitting, also see Mahakuthala Monastery and Lawkananda Pagoda. Transfer to the airport for your flight back to Yangon and on to your next destination. End services.