The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

WoWasis visits the temples of Myauk U, Burma

Written By: herbrunbridge - Jul• 07•10

Buddha images dot the landscape at Myauk U, Burma

WoWasis visitors to Burma will love Myauk U (also known as Mrauk U), an enchanting hill area dotted with dozens of temples. Myauk U is off the beaten track, but the intrepid traveler will be richly rewarded for taking a few hours of travel time to see one of Southeast Asia’s unspoiled archaeological zones.  On the way to Myauk U, you’ll travel through Sittwe, a working Burmese town with beautiful colonial buildings and a wonderful sea point on the Bay of Bengal. 

Myauk U sits 72 km from the coast, up the Aungdat tributary of the Kaladan River.  The city was was founded in 1433 ACE, and its dynasty, founded by King Minzawmun, lasted over 350 years.  At its height (ca. 1540), Myauk U commanded a fleet of 10,000 ships, patrolling the Bay of Bengal.  In 1826, following the Anglo-Burmese war, Britain made Sittwe the administrative headquarters in the area, dramatically lessening the political and commercial future of the city, which was soon virtually abandoned.  

Unlike the vast expanse of Bagan, Myauk U’s temples are confined to a small, hilly area, walkable, although you’ll want to consider hiring a pony carriage during the heat. 

Top 6 highlights at Myauk U 

Many temples offer much to offer, and the following are among the dozens of our favorites: 

1)  Shittaung is an extensive and well-preserved complex, named “Shrine of the 80,000 images.”  Its interior passages are maze-like, and filled with niches and statues. 

2)  Andaw Paya is an eight-sided temple containing sixteen stupas, and numerous niches with Buddha images in the interior. 

3)  Dukkanthein is famous for the exceptional high-relief sandstone carvings, including 64 depicting the hairstyles worn by the consorts of Myauk U nobles. 

4)  Kotaung Temple boasts a five-ranked terrace of Buddha images, along with a wonderful series of open passages with finely-carved bas-reliefs. 

5)  Mahabodhi Shwegu, with its eight-sided bell, rests serenely against a small hill, lush with vegetation. 

6)      Known as the “Plate Pagoda,” Laungbanpyauk Paya’s walls are covered with geometric ceramic designs.  The encroachment of vegetal life has added to the beauty of this temple’s walls, built in 1525. 


There are a few, but we enjoyed the Visali Resort Hotel, which sports very pretty bungalows surrounded by a well-kept garden.  Hot water, nice breakfast (included) and $35 a night.
Telephone in Rangoon: 01-525-609     Fax: 01-526-325  email 


Again, there are a few, but we loved the easy ambiance at Moe Cherry Restaurant (ask anyone where it is).  Dinner is served from 7 – 11 pm, the beer is cold, and they’ll pack a lunch for your walk around the temples the next day if you ask them.  The restaurant is named for the proprietress, who was called “mon cherie” by her husband, but spelled it differently.  They’re nice folks, and you can also ride on their boat back down to Sittwe (ask for schedule at the restaurant).  

Getting to Myauk U requires a nine-hour voyage upriver from Sittwe.  You can take a ferry (roughly $10, one way) or privately charter a small boat through your hotel for roughly $65, which entitles you to two nights in Myauk U, and return trip.  Theoretically, it’s then your boat (you’re promised that), but don’t be surprised if the skipper adds another passenger or two, charging them the same price.  Be sure to read our warning about a tourist ripoff in Sittwe that involves boats to Myauk U.  

There is also a once-weekly express boat from Sittwe that whisks you to Myauk U every Sunday at 7am for $25 (one way), then makes the trip back the following morning at 7 am.

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One Comment

  1. roadtourscr says:

    woww.. great article.. allow me to bookmark it buddy 🙂 thanks for sharing, keep posting 😀

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