‘Little Bagan?’ Not by a long shot. Myanmar’s second-most-famous archaeological site, Mrauk U (pronounced ‘mraw-oo’) is different in just about every way. The temples – previously mistaken for forts due to thick bunker-style walls built against the fierce Rakhine winds – are smaller and younger, and unlike Bagan’s, are predominately made from stone, not brick.
Rakhine State’s capital Sittwe (also known as Aykab) sits in an incredible spot where the wide, tidal Kaladan River kisses the big fat Bay of Bengal. Despite this, sectarian violence in 2012 and the town's generally scrappy vibe mean that most visitors approach the city as little more than the transit point for the ruins at Mrauk U.
The most accessible destination in Chin State is Mt Victoria (Nat Ma Taung), roughly 80 miles west of Bagan. The 10,016ft (3053m) mountain, Myanmar’s second highest, stands amid a 279 sq mile national park and is a prime spot for birdwatching. It’s best visited in November when the rhododendron bushes that cover the slopes are in full bloom.
Kan Thar Ya Beach
If Ngapali's ever-expanding resort scene is too slick for you, try Kan Thar Ya (ကမ္းသာယာ ကမ္းေျခ), an almost entirely undeveloped beach area 64 miles south. The sand isn't as fine as Ngapali's, and a location between the mouths of two rivers means the water isn't always clear, but if you've ever dreamt of having a quiet beachside town to yourself, this is it.