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Petit Futé

riviere vers mrauk u

Travel to Sittwe and Mrauk-U in the Arakan State, Myanmar - Burma

Sittwe is a city on the way to Mrauk-U but it is more than that. It is an interesting place to visit, with a good general feeling, an amazing fish market and the mandatory sunset walk to the view point (nice place to have a drink by the way).
You must go to Sittwe to reach Mrauk-U.

It is one of our favorite, may be our favorite region in Myanmar. People, especially in Mrauk-U are even nicer than in other part of Myanmar (it is possible!!!), there is almost no car, the region is peaceful, beautiful. Go before it is too late. (hotels list in Mrauk U and Sittwe : Here)

Sittwe- Mrauk U (septembre 2013)

Access to Sittwe and Mrauk U area is free.
No restriction, no need a special permit anymore, no need a licensed guide.

Ethnic group at Sittwe and Arakan area

vendeuse bethel sittwe

There is a lot of ethnic groups in the Arakan state and unfortunately, for real security reason, we can go only to Sittwe, Mrauk U and some villages up stream the rive near Mrak U.

It is also possible with a security permit to drive from Mrauk U to Bagan or Ngapali and make a one night stop near Ann, middle of the Chin Area.

You should visit in the Arakan State:

- City of Sittwe, the fish market where you can meet a lof of different ethnic group.

- Mrauk U and villages nearby, you will see Arakan people, Chin and Sub group of Chin Ethnic group.

- Villages upstream of Mrauk U , you can reach by boats some Chin villages where you may see some women with traditionnal face tatoo. The journey by boat upstream to the village is really nice. We strongly recommend it.
How do you go to Sittwe ?

The fastest and easiest way is to take a plane.
Almost every where you can go by other way, but for Sittwe it is really advisable unless you got a lot of time... It is a direct flight from Yangon to Sittwe and you have to stop in Ngapali on the way back. There is no at this time (09-2013) a direct flight to Sittwe from other city than Yangon.

The trip by car from Bagan to Mrauk-U or Sittwe is possible but the road is very bad and it takes two days at least to reach either Ngapali or Bagan.
It is quite expensive, and we recommend you to be 4 or 6 at a time, you will save money.

It seems that very recently (september 2013), it is possible to drive to Ann from Magwe without security clearance (all of the way only) but we have no information about the Ann- Mrauk U part.
So better to assume that you need a permit (one month to get it).

How long you have to stay in Sittwe Mrauk-U region ?

Take your time, for many reasons; it is not reasonable to try to visit Mrauk-U quickly. Transportations by boat are no reliable, so do not calculate a too tight planning.

Day 1 : Yangon - Sittwe by plane, night in Sittwe.
Day 2 : Sittwe - Mrauk-U by boat (cf our web page about this specific problem: here)
Day 3 : Mrauk-U, Vesali visit.
Day 4 : Mrauk-U, Chin village (this is the "minimum stay". You can add very easily one or 2 days -or more - for the visit. You can even come back to Sittwe in the afternoon of the day 4 but forget the Chin village).
Day 5 : Mrauk-U Sittwe
Day 6 : Sittwe - Yangon.

This is a stress free program and transportation problem proof. You can visit in a shorter time but there is some risk or problem:

- Sittwe -Mrauk U : You can take a boat bound to Mrauk-u immediately after your arrival. The speed boat takes 3 hours. The slow boat with Chinese diesel engine takes in theory 6 hours. If you are short on time, do not take the slow boats, they are very often late.

- Mrauk-U – Sittwe : You may think try to leave Mrauk-U the same day than you have your flight to Yangon (and why not you international flight out of Myanmar). It is not a very good idea (it is even a bad idea if you have your connection for the international flight).
In theory, you can do it. Speed boats take 3 hours from Mrauk-U to Sittwe. They leave Mrauk-U at 6 or 7 AM, you even have time for a visit and a cup of coffee in Sittwe BUT the speed boats do not operate if there is too much wind (and you do not need so much too stop them), or if the sea is not flat…

What kind of boat you may have to travel ?

Until now you have 3 main solutions:

- The governmental boat: slow, full of rust……reliability totally unknown (and you have to travel 30-60 minutes at sea…keep in mind).The boat does not work every day.

- Speed boats: You have many different companies which are proposing speed boats (charter or regular). It is really quick (3 hours instead of 6 or 12 hours), not so expensive (10 USD per person per way) BUT they do not operate everyday (meteo issues) and some are not nice at all. If you are a bit claustrophobic, some are even quite stressful (cf full detailed explanation and picture here).

- Diesel slow boats: They are supposed to take 5 to 6 hours to reach Mrauk-U. They often take 10 or 10 hours but it is much friendlier than speed boats. You have space to walk; you can see outside, it is slow but very relaxing. Do not forget to bring food, water, and books. Just be careful about the price you are going to pay. It could be very expensive and you should travel in group (4 to 6 people). You will save a lot.
Contact us, we have competitive prices.

Choose an hotel in Sittwe or Mrauk- U : HERE

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