Must See Mrauk-U


Mrauk-U, Myanmar

Mrauk-U is an archeologically significant town in Rakhine State, and the ruins of the former Arakan Dynasty capital are scattered between the Kaladan and Lomo rivers.

Located near the Bay of Bengal meant that Mrauk-U was once a key regional trading centre for Myanmar's exported goods as well as imports from India, Persia and Arabia. A diverse group including Burmese, Afghans, Bengalis, Persians, and Portuguese among others settled the town, attracted to the growing commercial hub.

As the town grew so too did the number of pagodas and other temples and today the abandoned structures stand surreally amidst tropical foliage and grasses. Mrauk-U was invaded in 1784 by the Konbaung Bodawpaya. Thousands of inhabitants were massacred or enslaved by the Burmese, and the town was left to be claimed by the jungle.

While comparisons with Bagan are inevitable, Mrauk-U lies in disrepair when compared with its supposed counterpart. This, of course, is part of its charm.

Currently, the only way to access the ruins is by flying into Sittwe and then hopping a boat for the last part of the journey, though a controversial proposed train route plans to change this.

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