Rakhine State

About 7 miles north of Mrauk U are the barely discernible remains of the kingdom of Wethali. It was founded in AD 327 by King Mahataing Chandra, according to the Rakhine chronicles; archaeologists believe that the kingdom lasted until the 8th century. Today, in addition to the walls of the 1650ft-by-990ft central-palace site, the main attraction for visitors is the so-called Great Image of Hsu Taung Pre, a 16.5ft-high Rakhine-style sitting buddha said to date from AD 327.

The elevated track that runs adjacent to Wethali is in fact an abandoned railway line. A rare incidence of the former military government bowing to popular opinion occurred here in late 2010, when a few brave locals protested against the planned route of a new railway linking Sittwe with Minbu, the construction of which was damaging temples and sites within the archaeological area. The project was halted and the railway’s route changed.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Rakhine State attractions

1. Pitaka Taik

5.14 MILES

This compact, highly ornate stone building is one of the seven Mrauk U libraries remaining from the original 48. Today protected by a blue-and-maroon…

2. Laungbanpyauk Paya

5.29 MILES

This octagonal, slightly leaning zedi (stupa) was built by King Minkhaungraza in 1525. An unusual feature is its outer wall, adorned with Islamic-inspired…

3. Mahabodhi Shwegu

5.37 MILES

The highlight of this squat, little-visited temple is its passageway with bas-relief illustrations of the tribumi (Buddhist visions of heaven, earth and…

4. Laymyetnha Paya

5.41 MILES

This poorly restored temple looks a bit like a squashed-up version of the nearby Dukkanthein, but was actually built 140 years earlier, making it the…

6. Ratanabon Paya

5.49 MILES

This massive stupa (sometimes called Yadanapon) is ringed by 24 smaller stupas. It was apparently built by Queen Shin Htway in 1612. During WWII a bomb…

7. Andaw Thein

5.51 MILES

Andaw Thein takes the form of an eight-sided monument with a linear layout: rectangular prayer hall to the east, multispired sanctuary to the west…

8. Dukkanthein Paya

5.51 MILES

Built by King Minphalaung in 1571, Dukkanthein Paya smacks of a bunker (with stupas). Wide stone steps lead up the southern and eastern side of the…