The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all but essential travel to Rakhine state, except the southern townships of Kyaukpyu, Ramree, Munaung, Toungup, Thandwe (including Ngapali) and Gwa. Check the latest with your government advisory before you travel.
Remote, rugged and rewarding, Myanmar's westernmost states – Rakhine (also known as Arakan) and Chin – remain staunchly untouristed.
Those travelers who make it to Rakhine State tend to confine themselves to the pristine sand and turquoise waters of Myanmar's premier beach destination: Ngapali Beach on the Bay of Bengal. Far fewer venture further north to the old Rakhine capital of Mrauk U, an amazing archaeological site studded with hundreds of temples, and the current capital – Sittwe.
But if you really want to get off the grid, then head to largely unknown and undeveloped Chin State, where breathtaking mountains, forests and traditional villages await. The south of Chin is already seeing a tentative increase in visitors, drawn by treks to and around Mt Victoria. But the perhaps more stunning hills in the north of the state – close to Myanmar's border with India – still see only a handful of foreigners a year.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Western Myanmar.