The interchangeable terms Rakhine (sometimes spelled Rakhaing) and Arakan refer to the people, the state and dialect of Myanmar's westernmost state: home to the remarkable temples of ancient capital Mrauk U in the north, and the palm-tree-fringed beach resort of Ngapali in the south.
Isolated from the Burmese heartland by mountains, home to a long coastline and the seat of at least four former kingdoms, Rakhine feels very different from the rest of Myanmar and the Rakhine remain staunchly proud of their unique identity. This has led to much strife over the centuries between both the Rakhine and the Bamar and the minority Muslim residents of the state (the Rohingya). Serious sectarian violence between the Rakhine and the Rohingya has erupted in the past, such as in 2012, but the outbreak of violence in 2016 and 2017 drew widespread condemnation from the international community as an estimated 500,000 Rohingya fled across the border to Bangladesh.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Rakhine State.