The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

WoWasis visits the lovely town of Sittwe, Burma, on the Bay of Bengal

Written By: herbrunbridge - Jul• 07•10

Collecting water at a village well in Sittwe, Burma

WoWasis visitors will love Sittwe, a pleasant but simple Burmese seaside town, with lovely traditional buildings sporting a rustic charm.  Sitting at the opening of the Kaladan River to the Bay of Bengal, this trading town is the gateway the old temple city of Myauk U, a day’s boat ride up the Aungdat tributary of the Kaladan.  

Walking around Sittwe presents the visitor with an opportunity of having an authentic  “non-touristy” experience.  In the market, you won’t run into many other Westerners, but here you can buy a longhi (wraparound, worn both by men and women) where they’ll let you try it on and admire yourself in the mirror before you buy, in the unhurried traditional Burmese manner. Do not fail to see “The Point,” where the Kaladan meets the Bay of Bengal. 

At night, look for vendors selling peanut brittle made on the spot.  For a few kyat, they’ll sell you more than you can eat, so avoid filling up on dessert and allow room for this marvelous treat. 


Walking the back streets, you’ll see lovely wooden traditional houses, some kept up, some in a state of disrepair.  Back streets are dirt, and you’ll see daily Burmese life: children walking to school, someone bathing from a large bowl of water, another reading a newspaper on a landing.  There’s a wonderful old masonry mosque on a side street 700 meters south of the clock tower, usually with children playing outside, and a friendly imam who’s happy to invite you inside. 

At various places in town, you’ll encounter children going to the neighborhood well to draw water in tin pots, imported from India, which they carry on their heads. 

The Central Market is slapdash-full of anything made of wicker, iron, brass, wood, or cloth that a proper family in Sittwe would need.  It makes a pleasant walk. 

The Point, a few kilometers south of town, is where the Kaladan River meets the Bay of Bengal,  a breezy, refreshing place to grab a bite to eat, take pictures (a 200 kyat charge), and enjoy the sunset.  We consider it the chief highlight of Sittwe.  If you take a trishaw here, be sure you pay enough to ask him to wait for you, if you plan on seeing the sunset.  It’s a dicey walk back if the night is moonless. 


There are many to choose from, but we particularly liked the City Point Restaurant (Innpaukwa Restaurant), lit up by fairy lights at night.  The wooden architecture is lovely, but get there before 10 pm, when the disco begins.  You’ll find it on Strand Road, a block or so southeast of the Post Office. 


Hands down, the best place to stay in Sittwe is the new, clean, and air-con Noble Hotel.  This six story hotel charges $20 per night, and it’s right in the middle of town. Management and staff are friendly and accommodating.

Noble Hotel
No. 45, Main Road
Tel: 095-43-23558   Fax: 095-43-23559

Read about one hotel tourist rip-off to avoid in Sittwe 

Getting to Sittwe is best done by air, and both Yangon Airways and Air Mandalay fly there from Rangoon, for a fare of roughly $130 USD. 

The road from Rangoon to Sittwe takes roughly 40 hours, but tourists must have special permission from the Burmese government to make the trip.

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