MYA - T 08: ANCIENT RAKHINE, 5 days (L)

Yangon - Sittwe - Mrauk U - Sittwe - Yangon

 

Day 1              Yangon Sittwe

 

Arrival at Yangon airport, meet on arrival and transfer to domestic airport for flight from Yangon to Sittwe. Upon arrival, your journey begins with Upon arrival, your journey begins with boat cruise by boat - 70 km journey upriver to the last royal capital of Rakine, Mrauk U moving against the current on the Kaladan River, then turn east onto the Theinganadi River, going with the current, and then turn upriver again on the Henyakaw River.

Overnight in Mrauk U.

 

 

SITTWE is a port city in Rakhaing State at the mouth of the Kaladan River where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. It has at least a 2000-year history of habitation and during the British era international trade along the coast bloomed with two huge cargo steamers going back and forth between Calcutta and Sittwe each day.

 

PAYAGYI: this temple features a large plain shed supported by pillars decorated with a glass mosaic. A large sitting image beneath the shelter was cast in 1900 in the Rakhaing style - minus the 'royal attire' common to many Rakhaing images.

 

BUDDHIST MUSEUM: housed in a colonial-style building, this is the best place in Myanmar to view Rakhaing-style Buddha images. Maintained by resident monks, the collection here represents a rare instance of historical preservation of older Buddhas.

 

RAKHINE STATE CULTURAL MUSEUM: the museum is largely a collection of

Wethali and Mrauk U period artifacts and a number of more contemporary exhibits.

 

WATERFRONT: as a seaside town, Sittwe has plenty of waterfront action. The road along the river is called 'The Strand'. 'The Point' is a land projection at the confluence of the Kaladan River and the Bay of Bengal.

 

Day 2             Sittwe - Mrauk U

 

After breakfast, sightseeing Mrauk U.  Once a center for one of Myanmar's most powerful kingdoms, Mrauk U straddles the banks of Aungdat Chaung - a tributary of the Kaladan River. The Rakhaing King Minzawmun founded Mrauk U in 1433. A network of Chaungs allowed access by large boats, even ocean-going vessels. Visit a shrine of 80,000 Buddha image - Shittaung Temple, the adjacent Andaw Paya and to Dukkanthein 'ordination hall that spiritually reinforces the town'. Next visit Laungbanpyauk Paya - the Pitaka Tiak Libraries as well as a selection of various temple and pagodas. Afternoon, you will explore Yadanapon Paya, Sakayamanaung Paya. Extended visits to the Archeological Museum and the Palace site.

Overnight in Mrauk U

 

SHITTAUNG TEMPLE: the most complex and well preserved of the surviving Mrauk U temples, Shittaung was constructed in 1535 by King Minbin, the most powerful of the Rakhaing kings. The name means 'Shrine of the 80,000 images', a reference to the number of holy images found inside.

 

ANDAW PAYA: smaller eight-sided monument with a similar linear layout as Shittaung. The original construction of the shrine is ascribed to King Minhlaraza in 1521. Sixteen zedis are aligned in a square-cornered U shape around the southern, northern and western platforms.

 

YADANAPON PAYA: this is the largest stupa in the area and stands just north of Andaw Paya. Damaged by WWII bombing, only the bottom 'bell' portion and base remain standing. According to local chronicles, the mammoth stupa was sponsored by Mrauk U's Queen Shin Htway in 1612.

 

DUKKANTHEIN: said to have been constructed by order of King Minphalaung in 1571, Dukkanthein stands on a bluff 100 meters to the northeast of Shittaung. A loose translation of the name is 'ordination hall that spiritually reinforces the town'.

 

PITAKA TAIK: built in 1591 under King Minphalaung as a repository for the Tripitaka (Buddhist canon), and one of the few Mrauk U-period libraries that have survived.

 

LAUNGBANPYAUK PAYA: built in 1525 by order of King Minkhaungraza, it is locally known as the Plate Pagoda, because a wall in front of the structure is embedded with plate-like tiles in bright yellow, red, white, and blue.

 

SAKYAMANAUNG PAYA: this graceful zedi was erected in 1629 under King Thirithudhammaraza and at this point in the development of Mrauk U architecture; the stupa was modified into a more vertical and highly ornate form, an obvious absorption of Bamar and Shan styles, by way of Bagan and Ava.

 

PALACE RUINS: walls and gateways of sandstone blocks and earth are all that's left of the Mrauk U royal palace, constructed in 1430. A museum within the old palace walls contains a good collection of religious sculptures and other artifacts unearthed around Mrauk U.

 

Day 3              Mrauk U

 

After breakfast, excursion to Wethali and Mahamuni - the original site for Mandalay's famous Mahamuni Buddha - a huge and very old bronze Buddha image

Overnight in Mrauk U

 

WETHALI: according to Rakhaing chronicle, Wethali was founded in 327 AD by King Mahataing Chandra. Archaeologists believe that this kingdom lasted until the 8th century. Of the oval-shaped city boundaries that remain, only parts of the moat and walls are still visible amid the rice paddies.

 

MAHAMUNI: location of the paya, which sits at the northeastern corner of the old Dhanyawady city site. This was the original site for Mandalay's famous Mahamuni Buddha, a huge and very old bronze image, which Rakhaing kings believed provided supernatural protection for their successive kingdoms.

 

Day 4              Mrauk U - Sittwe

 

After breakfast, transfer to the jetty and proceed by boat to Sittwe - Journey south by ferry, which are old double-decker Irrawaddy Flotilla vessels. Sightseeing in Sittwe - the provincial capital and main port of Rakhine (Arakan); visit Payagyi - the 100-year-old Buddha with a golden face, the Buddhist Museum & Cultural Museum, next process to Stand Road to enjoy watching the hustle and bustle of local business activities. For sunset you will drive up to the Point, with breathtaking view over the ocean.

Overnight in Sittwe

 

Day 5              Sittwe - Yangon

 

After breakfast at the hotel, free time at leisure before transfer to the airport for departure flight from Sittwe to Yangon

 

 

End of Services    **Note: Itinerary subject to change due to flight schedules.

 

 

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