Sittwe was little more than a far flung fishing village nestled between the Kaladan River and the Bay of Bengal when it became the sight of a pitched battle between Burma (now Myanmar) and the Mrauk-U Kingdom in 1784. The Burmese forces emerged victorious, and the village was named Sittwe (where the wars meet).
Sittwe became the capital of the Rakhine State in 1826. The First Anglo-Burmese War ended with the majority of the southern reaches of Myanmar under the control of British colonial forces. The town prospered under British rule becoming an important trading hub on the Bay of Bengal with river access to the northern reaches of Myanmar.
The Lokananda Pagoda is Sittwe’s easiest to spot landmark. The temple’s central Buddha image is cast from bronze, and curiously adorned with hundreds of tiny Buddha images. The remains of the Kingdom of Mrauk-U are located outside of town, and can be reached by a boat cruise along the Kaladan River. Though not so large or grand as the temples of Bagan, Mrauk-U’s ruins are possibly even more picturesque because of the thriving village life that clings to the spaces between temples like creeping jungle vines.
The best weather for an excursion along the Kaladan River to the ruins of Mrauk-U falls between November and May. The temperatures begin to climb in June, and the warmer weather holds on until October. The second half of the year sees higher chances of daily rain showers that help restore the country’s lush woodlands after the dry season.
Sittwe and the ruins of Mrauk-U are rarely visited by outsiders. Guests enjoying our luxury tours of Myanmar find the area to be one of the most memorable excursions in the country.
Sittwe is the capital of Myanmar’s Western Rakhine State. Our guests typically reach the area via a direct flight from the city of Yangon.
Western-style clothing choices are fine in the city, but when you’re exploring the ruins of Mrauk-U, it’s best to dress modestly. A stout pair of shoes or hiking boots is recommended for exploring the ruins.