3 Burma-Mrauk-U

In 2012
fighting has erupted in Sittwe. The whole area around Sittwe and Mrauk U is off limits to foreigners, no tourists allowed. BBC news story here.

Mrauk U = pronounced "miau  oo"

Getting there

Yangon to Sittwe (same price for Sittwe to Yangon)
  • Mandalay Air $90 - 97
  • Myanmar Air $69 for Burmese,   more for Foreigners, but usually less than Mandalay Air
  • Bus to Pyay, Bus to Thandwe, ship to Sittwe (See lonely Planet for details, takes a few days). There are two ships, the fast (1 day, $40)  and the slow government boat that takes a day or two.
        Yangon downtown to airport $6-8 by taxi

Sittwe to Mrauk U
  • Government ferry $4-5, runs once or twice a week.In  July2010 it was Tuesday to Mrauk U, return on Wednesday, this can change any time.  Pay 500 Kyat for a seat on the upper deck
  • A private boat that is going to Mrauk U anyway and is happy to make some extra income taking paying passengers will cost $10, 15, 20+ dollars.
  • Rent your own boat, just you and your group, go when you want. The Captain waits for you in Mrauk U for 2 or 3 days for $100 .  Make sure the number of days the boat waits in Mrauk U is agreed upon up front,  as well as any extra charge for extra days of waiting. 
In the rainy season (June - August) boats don't go as often. Allow for extra days in your schedule. In July 2010 I waited 3 days more than planned in Mrauk U, for a boat to take me back to Sittwe.   There are plenty of boats in the cool season (October -> end of February).

Archaelogical Zone fee for Mrauk U $5, get a ticket to show when asked.
Shittaung pagoda charges 3000 Kyat to turn on the lights in the 3 main temple complexes. Lights are required for the bits that are INside the bulk of the pagodas.  You can see quite a bit without the lights though.


Bicycle tours - by Mrauk U Prince Hotel Owner.
One day trip from Sittwe to Mrauk U:
Bring own bicycle or buy a local one for $50 in Sittwe and sell it back to the shop you bought it from upon your return. Make sure you get a clear agreement on this before you go.
This is probably not the place to bring your high quality, finely tuned carbon fibre bike. Roads are muddy in the rainy season, potholed, rocky.
This is the place for simple clunky riding at a slow Zen like pace.

For more info contact "Tawn" Htun Shwethe owner of the Mrauk U Prince Hotel   www.mraukuprince.com   email  approximate price $60/person, discuss with organizer.

NOTE: foreigners are not allowed to stay in hotels outside Sittwe or Mrauk U. If you do, you can get the local people into  trouble.
The photo above: The government ferry Mrauk U to Sittwe.
Burmese  describe  this as NOT crowded.


Rainy season: 15 June - > end of August. Last week of July and August is VERY wet, daily rain in Mrauk U.


Accommodation
Electricity in Mrauk U comes on for 3-4 hours in the morning, and in the evening from when it gets dark till about 23:00 hours.
  • Mrauk U Prince Hotel   www.mraukuprince.com   - the  owner  "Tawn" Htun  Shwe, speaks good English and is really helpful. He was born in the area and knows the place really well.  Email  mraukuprince@gmail.com    Rooms have fans, bathroom, mosquito nets.  $12-20 / room
  • Nawarat Hotel  $36 - 55 (air con all night, that is they have own generator, if this is important for you: ask and double check)
  • Shwe Thazin Hotel $40 - 65  (air con all night, that is they have own generator)
  • Golden Star $20 (does not have own generator, ipso facto, not all night fan or air con)
  • Mrauk U Hotel, Government run place, not my first choice.
  • Golden city $30 - 50.


General travel tips 
  • Just one main tip: allow plenty of time.  - Buses break down, boats don't go when scheduled, planes may not fly, heavy weather, storms, human error etc.... .   Myanmar travel requires a different mentality from my internet i-phone connected world in Australia. It was hard at first but I got used to it and grew to like it.
  • Just ONE minor tip: if you wear a "longhi", the traditional Burmese cloth that men wear in Burma, you will get a lot of positive vibes, especially outside Yangon and Mandalay. People smile and nod and feel more relaxed around you.

Main page on Myanmar

Main page on Myanmar 3 Burma - Myanmar


Money
Prices change and are a guide only - July 2010 - actual prices can vary a lot, depending on time of year, politics, etc...
All prices in US dollars.
July 2010 approximately 950 Kyat to one US dollar (900 Kyat if you change money in Mrauk U, better rates in Sittwe and Yangon)

500 Kyat for this VIP upper deck seat. It's a good deal if you consider
the alternatives.

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