Mrauk U the 15th century ancient city and abandoned capital of the mighty Rakhine Kingdom is a famous archaeological site, second only to Bagan. Mrauk U (pronounced ‘mrau-oo’) is very different from Bagan as it’s temples are works of stone not brick and are smaller and newer. The temples could be mistaken for forts, as their thick bunker-like walls were built for protection from the fierce winds typical to the region. Frequently visited by foreign traders (including Portugese and Dutch) in the 16th and 17th century, and this is reflected in the grandeur and scope of the structures dotted around its vicinity. Adding to the multi-cultural feel, many of the temple wall paintings have an Indian cultural influence, due to the proximity of the Indian border.

Mrauk U’s temples are dispersed throughout still-inhabited small villages, rice paddies, and grazing cows. Best of all, you’re likely to have the temples all to yourself,  as Mrauk U only gets an average of 5000 visitors a year. The interiors of virtually all the temples in Mrauk U are open, ready to be explored!