It’s a bit after the fact but I’m finally getting around to posting about this year’s optional extension to my Myanmar photo tour in which we visited the 600-year old temples & stupas of Mrauk U. Mrauk U lies on a rocky isolated plateau in western Myanmar, and was once one of most spectacular royal cites of Asia which served as a free port for trading with Middle East, Portugal, Spain, and Holland in its heyday.
Nowadays, some 157Buddhist shrines and pagodas still remain. Several of the most well-known have been renovated while others in various stages of decay, veiled with dense jungle vegetation.
Compared to Myanmar’s more popular locations, Mrauk U is much smaller in scope with limited transport and accommodation facilities. In recent years Mrauk U has been on and off the list for tourism due to the Muslim-Buddhist sectarian violence which has been flaring up in recent years. Lucky for us, the area was open to tourists when we visited in February.
One of the main reasons we came to Mrauk U is because there exists a tiny, remote, ethnic, Chin village, where 9 of the last remaining Burmese tattoo faced women can be found. I’d visited this area in September of 2012 while scouting out locations for our photo tours and decided it was the perfect extension to our main Myanmar Tour.
For those who make the extra effort to visit this out of the way place, the rewards are plentiful. The tattooed women are charming, delightful, and photogenic, but as they say, it’s not so much about the destination, but rather, the journey itself, which makes a visit to this seldom visited corner of northwestern coastal area Myanmar so special.