The golden city of Mrauk U, which has been also known as "the forgotten city" is top – ranked “worthy – visiting” destinations during your trip to the friendly and hospitable Myanmar. The local residents, ancient temples, walls, or even bricks in Mrauk U have “unknown” power to mesmerize tourists to this ancient city.
If you are overwhelmed by the stunning scenery of Angkor Wat temples of Cambodia, you would probably be deeply in love with the unique beauty of this amazing city. Despite various legends related to the city, it was once the capital of the most “wealthy” empire in Asia in the 15th century.
By the 18th century, the city served as one of the most “bustling” trading places in terms of rice, ivory, horses, spices, and cloth. The merchants gathering at the city mostly came from India, Persia, and even Arabia.
Hundreds of years later, however, Mrauk U began to drop its status because of religious conflicts. Gradually, this name sank into oblivion. Although the city is not as crowded as it in the past, it still amazes tourists by pristine and majestic nature.
For that reason, a group of archaeologists decided to explore and preserve that place so that it was recognized as world cultural heritage site by UNESCO as Angkor Wat temples did. Thus, Mrauk U city is more “alluring” to tourists within and outside the region than Angkor Wat temples.
The former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan once said: "Mrauk U can be seen as the most reflective mirror of the history and culture of Rakhine state". Thus, you surely grasp unforgettable experiences when traveling this historically and culturally beautiful city.
Thanks to the support of Mr. Kofi, Myanmar government has nominated Mrauk U to UNESCO to become a world natural heritage. Immediately, the information has received the support of people over the world. The process may take several years to complete. However, Burmese people believed that they can turn a “forgotten” city into one of the most attractive tourism destination in Asia.
It is worth mentioning that Myanmar needs more than only a recognition of UNESCO to “revise” the “golden age” of Mrauk U. U Nyein Lwin, director of Mrauk U National Museum and his team will play a key role in “introducing” Mrauk U city to the world.
He said that the mission was quite challenging while they do not have much time. Lwin's team will have to carry out the most accurate studies in population of the city and predict the number in the future to ensure that their livelihoods and cultivation do not have negative effects on the ruins.
Financial support has been secured from three countries namely Italy, China, and Australia. However, Lwin stressed that that amount is insufficient.
Back to the history, Mrauk U was favorably named “Golden City” by merchants from Portugal and the Netherlands from the 15th to the 18th century. The local life at that time was bustling and luxurious. There is one thing interesting that Samurai warriors who were the pride of Japan were also seen in Mrauk U as mercenaries or bodyguards for kings.
Significantly, many temples and pagodas remain unchanged from that time. Among them, the most prominent ones must be the giant Shitthaung temple containing 80,000 Buddha statues and the nearby Koe Thaung temple featuring more than 90,000 Buddhist paintings on the rocks.
If you want to grasp “one – of – all – kinds” check - in pictures during your travel to Myanmar, you should definitely make a visit to the ancient Mrauk U city. There is one thing interesting that although the dew in Mrauk U is thick but it does not form clouds. Thus, it unintentionally contributes to “sharpen” its own beauty.
Even at 7 o'clock, you definitely see the low fog “stranded” at the peak of the temples. Thus, it looks like a hammock right at the middle of the sky.
Visiting Mrauk U city, you definitely see old women whose face is covered by tattoos as the local tradition. Interestingly, although the residents have to work hard to survive, they do think of being a theft to have a more comfortable life. According to an unknown tourist who did share her journey to Myanmar on Facebook, the locals have tracked to find him to return money when he dropped 200 USD.
To get to this ancient city, visitors must catch a flight from Yangon (about 750 kilometers from Mrauk U), then take a boat ride along the calm Kaladan River in a few hours.
Each year, Mrauk U attracts only 4,000 tourists within and outside the country. Meanwhile, the temples in Bagan, the neighboring city grasps 70 times as many tourists” Mrauk U and Angkor Wat has more than 2 million annual tourist turn.
Thanks to the prominent features, the ancient Mrauk U promises to regain its leading status in Asia that is currently being captured by Angkor Wat temples.