The only other city that comes close to rivaling Bagan's richness in archaelogical sites is Mrauk U, the crown jewel of Rakhine State. The historically prominent city was the capital of the Rakhine civilisation starting from 1431. As the city prospered due to its role as a trading port with Europe and the Middle East, temples, buildings, and pagodas proliferated in which 700 still exist today, with many yet to be excavated. Maneuver your way through the maze like passages of stone temples such as the Shittaung Pagoda where its circular walls are decked with thousands of stone Buddhas. Visit the Palace grounds where stands the remains of what was once the abode of all 49 kings as well as the archaeology museum offering a glimpse into the city's past glory days.
Nat Ma Taung
Embark on an daring outdoor adventure in the ecotourism friendly Nat Ma Taung National Park. This large natural reserve is located in the rugged Chin state where over 100 different bird species and exotic orchids found in the region can be observed. Prominently overlooking the surrounding green is the extinct voclano, Mount Victoria. Its reputation as the second highest mountain in the country has not scared away able bodied visitors from trekking to its summit which is a mild 3 hour hike. If you come between November and December, there is a spectacular showcase of colorful flowers in full bloom to greet you along the forest trail.
While Nat Ma Taung gives you a strong sense of the natural beauty that exists in Chin State, Mindat offers a peek into the Chin people and their traditions. This large village nestled above the clouds neighbors Nat Ma Taung National Park. Churches, instead of pagodas, make up the vista of this largely Christian community. Visitors spend the night here in eco lodges, set up to protect the villagers' intact way of life. Meet the Chin ethnic minorities including the K'cho chins whose women sport intricately tattooed faces.