Welcome to Mrauk U
Mrauk U (ေျမာက္ဦး; pronounced ‘mrau-oo’), Myanmar’s second-most-famous archaeological site, is very different from Bagan. The temples – previously mistaken for forts due to their thick, bunker-like walls, built for protection from the fierce Rakhine winds – are smaller and newer and, unlike Bagan’s, predominantly made from stone, not brick. Mrauk U's temples, too, are dispersed throughout a still-inhabited and fecund landscape of small villages, rice paddies, rounded hillocks and grazing cows, whereas Bagan's temples stand in somewhat sterile isolation. Beyond its temples, Mrauk U remains a rough-and-ready riverside town surrounded by some beautiful countryside, where you'll find Chin villages and other significant archaeological and religious sites. Best of all, you’re likely to have the temples all to yourself: only about 5000 foreigners make it to Mrauk U annually. That will change if a long-delayed airport opens in the next few years, so get here before the rush.