Mrauk Oo called also Myohaung is the former capital of the Arakan State established by King Min Saw Mon in 1430. It was quickly developed as an important center for trade and handicrafts with links to Europe and Arabia. This dynamic and impressive city was impregnable during 350 years. Dutch sailors in the 17th century compared the city to London or Amsterdam.
Mrauk Oo is today a quiet and small city with its people living among a large number of temples and pagodas.
Mrauk Oo can be access only from Sitwe along the Kaladan river for about a 6 hours boat trip. The boat ride itself is a delightful experience through the enchanting landscape where the modernity seems not to have penetrated yet, looking at the small sailing boats going up and down the river.
Among the main sights to visit, the Shittaung Pagoda is the most important one. The pagoda name means “The shrine of 80 000 pagodas”. The interior contains in fact 84 000 figures of the Buddha. The monument was built within a year in 1535 by King Min Bin after his successful defense against the Portuguese invaders.
Close to the Shittaung Pagoda stands the Andaw Pagoda built in 1521 by King Min Hla Raza. It said to contain one of the Buddha’s teeth. The octagonal main temple is surrounded by sixteen smaller round stupas.
Another highlight is the Htukkantein Temple erected in 1571 by Khin Min Phalaung. The monument to look like a fortress has an impressive walkway inside the belt shaped stupa lined with more than one hundred sculpture of the Buddha.
Kothaung Pagoda was built in 1553 by King Min Tikkha, son of King Min Din who built the Shitthaung Pagoda to immortalize the Buddha 90 000 times. The majority of the images are carved into the walls of a circular walkway at the lower level of the Pagoda.
After the first Anglo-Burmese war in 1826, Sittwe was made the capital of the Arakan State. The coastal city is accessible by a one hour flight from Yangon and is the depart point to reach Mrauk Oo by river boat. It is worth to enjoy the scenery of the confluence of Kaladan River and the Bay of Bengal at “View Point”. The local market is also an interesting stop.