I last went to Burma in 1986 and have avoided it since for obvious reasons and kept to other bits of SE Asia.
I have decided it is time to go back.
On my first trip I loved Bagan - magical.
I fear it might now be slightly busier like Angkor Wat...
Has anyone been to Mrauk U and how does it compare?
#1 Basil has been a member since 23/8/2007. Posts: 16
Whether Bagan is busier like Siem Reap would depend on how recently you went to Angor how busy you thought it was.
I was just in Bagan and Mrauk U last month and Siem Reap in April. Even with it being the height of the off season in Siem Reap it was easily 10 times busier than Bagan. I maybe saw 20 foreign tourists at the temples...there were a number of annoying peddlers though
Just so you have a bit of perspective regarding Mrauk U....I thought that while some of the individual temples in Siem Reap were more impressive than anything in Bagan, I found the sum total of Bagan to be better than Siem Reap.
As for Mrauk U, it was a giant pain in the ass to get to but it was completely worth it. The style of the temples is completely different from any place I have been to so far in Asia (S. Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, Malaysia) including Myanmar. It's not a huge site, but there are a lot of temples, stupas and other structures packed into it. There is a lake near some of the sites that is ok to swim in...it's a bit weedy though so take that into consideration.
I stayed at a hotel/guest house that I enjoyed....may have overpaid a bit, but the owner was amazing to talk to. We had discussions on everything from Buddhism as a philosophy versus a religion to local history to making crepes.
I went there at the end of my trip and i basically ran out of money on my last day there, so I wasn't able to get out to see the chin women and their tattooed faces.
If you have any questions, ask away and I will do my best to answer them.
Just the sort of information I was after. Thank you.
The only sensible conclusion is to do both!
What is the realistic minimum of time I should allow for Mrauk U as a side trip if I fly into Sittwe ?
#3 Basil has been a member since 23/8/2007. Posts: 16
It's hard to say exactly. The two main factors involved are the plane schedule and the ferry schedule. I didn't visit a Chin village and it was a 5 day side trip. I think that it was a reasonable time frame.
Wed - flight from Yangon to Sittwe, sightseeing
Thurs - 6am ferry to Mrauk U, sightseeing
Fri - sightseeing
Sat - 8am ferry to Sittwe
Sun - flight from Sittwe to Yangon
You could bike around to all the main sites in one afternoon/early evening...it's pushing it a bit as some of the "roads" on the map are just tiny paths and it's easy to get lost.
If you got an evening flight (I am not sure if there is one available) you might be able to skip out on a night in Sittwe on the way back.
So if you pushed it and got lucky with the plane and ferry schedule 3 days would be possible.
The plane schedules for all the airlines differ depending on time of the year. Supposedly one airline offers a Mandalay to Sittwe flight when it's not the rainy season.
As for the ferry, from what was explained to me, there are ferries both ways on Friday and Saturday but only from Sittwe on Sunday, Tue and Thurs and only from Mrauk U on Monday and Wed. I would double check the schedule not all the info I received was accurate.
I lost the card for the travel company I booked the flights through (they weren't that special anyway), but I have the info for one recommended in the guide book, Columbus travel & tours.
I have no idea why they list 3 emails...it's Myanmar so I would email all three.
There is this eccentric guy (there are a couple in Mrauk U as well) in Sittwe...seemed pretty harmless and followed me around talking to me and showing me his mirror, but I don't think the locals liked me talking to the fellow. I got odd looks from lots of ppl and followed/pestered by trishaw drivers. One driver (who didn't speak english) got rather belligerent and wouldn't stop harassing me for like 600m. It was my only negative experience in all of Myanmar and thought I would give you a heads up.
Thank you - again
#5 Basil has been a member since 23/8/2007. Posts: 16
Anyone got any recommedations for enticing places to stay in Sittwe?!
#7 Basil has been a member since 23/8/2007. Posts: 16
Just wondering when are you planning to be in Mrauk U...
If all goes well, I will be there in the first week of December...
Do you have information on the prices of a private boat from Sittwe to Mrauk U ? If its not too exhorbitant, I might consider that as an option instead of relying on the public boat which seems to have quite an erratic schedule.
#8 Newkid has been a member since 20/9/2011. Posts: 13
Sorry I will not be there until the spring when it is really hot!
I envy your sooner departure.
I cant call to mind figures but I do recall that the private boat did not seem too expensive - especially if time is short.
#9 Basil has been a member since 23/8/2007. Posts: 16
Thanks Basil. I found on the LP Thorntree forum that a private boat trip between Sittwe and Mrauk U could cost USD20 one way...
#10 Newkid has been a member since 20/9/2011. Posts: 13
There is a government ferry running twice per week for $4 each way. i really enjoyed this boat much more than the private boat that i returned on. Happy travels
#11 qualitywork1 has been a member since 19/9/2011. Posts: 13
Tuesday and friday.
#13 qualitywork1 has been a member since 19/9/2011. Posts: 13
@ Tilapia - the link for the boat trip up the coast doesn't seem to be operational any more. Looks like that website is no longer functional - do you have any other links to where I may be able to find the info?
Thanks Tilapia. I've been told it's possible to get to Mrauk U overland by taking an overnight bus from Yangon to TaungKote (depart 4pm-arrive 5-6am - uuurgh) and from there a ferry to Sittwe (8am to 4.30pm). Was wondering if that was all or part of the same journey you were looking at? Or if it started further south?
From what I can see TaungKote is close to Thandwe (or the same place?) so was thinking a more interesting option would be to travel first to Pyay and then continue by bus to Thandwe/TaungKote to pick up the ferry .........
There's a few websites that show boat schedules but I'm afraid there's some contradiction. (I'm after info for Sittwe to Taungok)
Although there is an up to date reference for the Taungok/Taungote/Taung-gok to Sittwe route: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2125842&messageID=19163442#19163442
Here are the other sites:
If you want to visit there you have to fly to Sittwe first. I thank you should make sure Itinerary to catch regular boat. There are twice a weeks from Sittwe to Mrauk U and Mrauk U to Sittwe.If can we catch this boat you can save money.
If you are Mrauk U you can take bike to make sightseeing.It is not so far Temple to Temple.But if you visit Koethaung Temple it will be a little far of. The Other is you can make easily.
But if you visit Mrauk U you should visit Chin Villages. There are many woman who make tattoo on the face and you can know their ways of life. This trip will be worthy for you. The way to Chin Village is very nice. You will take a boat a long the Laymyo River.
It you visit both ,you will take approximately 5 or 6 Days.
May you enjoy about this trip...
#18 htun1997 has been a member since 15/11/2011. Posts: 10