The sunrise in Mrauk-U isn’t describable. You will never get the real feeling through a description as you don’t listen to the sounds of the birds, the silence around you, you don’t feel the sunrays in your face, and you don’t see how the fog is moving from minute to minute revealing new features of the landscape and modifying it every minute that goes by.
This is a surreal sunrise the one in Mrauk-U. The city lays on several hills that have a temple on the top surrounded by the green landscape that is able to cover some of the temples too. The view itself is breathtaking and the fact that the city lays among hills, turn this sunrise surreal.
The fog and the mist surround the tip-top of the hills, together with the smoke of the fires that the locals do. Many villagers don’t have access to electricity and they do fires for the breakfast and also for dinner, that’s extra smog to join the natural fog that forms among the hills.
Any sunset or sunrise is the same. It depends on the fog you get each day. I was lucky to see the best sunrise of my life here. So whimsical! The other days I wasn’t so lucky as the fog was too thick. The landscape it’s transforming every minute, so I was appreciating the magical moment for at least 1 hour.
The best spot for sunrise in Mrauk-U is the Golden Hill or Shwe Taung Pagoda. My hostel was really close to this place, so I was waking up at 5:30. The hill takes around 10 minutes to climb from the bottom. The first time I went to this place it was so dark that we couldn’t find the path there, so luckily we had the help of one local man that lead us to the top. I’m glad we followed him as there were other ways to follow during this climb. It’s cold at this time of the day. The way up is tiring… but more than worthy. You get to see all Mrauk-U from there with several temples arising in the middle of the fog. As the sun goes up and the sun rays touch the land, a scenario worthy of a movie arrises. This is so overwhelming and the sounds around you help even more. You must go here for sunrise. I went for sunrise every day of my stay in Mrauk-U, cause every day you got a different view. The maximum amount of people I found in this place was 5, so you can see how touristic is this place.
For sunset, the most popular spot is a hill next to Laung Ban Pyauk and Htuparon Pagoda. You will see it from here as it is the tallest spot around. You also have a 360º view of Mrauk-U. A different one from the view at the Golden Hill.
Also here I didn’ get much company. There were 3 more tourists here to watch the sunset with me. Having this surreal set all for you turns it even more special. Unfortunately, on this day there was a fire taking away the attention of the view. And it wasn’t a fire made by the villagers. There was a huge fire on 2 gas stations a bit further, and from the hill, you were able to see all the explosions that were occurring at the place. The smoke was intense black followed by powered yellow flames as the fire consumes the gas. There were several kids that ran to the hill to see this fire. Their reactions were telling me when the gas was exploding as they whisper surprise sounds. Incredibly, the fire looks very well in the picture! I hope no one got injured on this!
I have also watched the sunset from another point that I found as I was exploring more and more temples on the way back to my hostel. This is the Nibbuza Pagoda and from here you can climb up and up until you get a really wide view of Mrauk-U. Unfortunately, I didn’t watch the sunset from the very top as it was getting very dark when I found this place and I know that the streets to my hostel don’t have any light. Plus I was scared at snakes. Fortunately, I haven’t found any while exploring the temples, but there are many here. I saw one on the street and it wasn’t small at all.
Nibbuza pagoda leads to more temples that are destroyed but very interesting as the Buddha images are still there at open air. In some you have pieces of the Buddha statues laying there, they are small and you can actually take them home. But of course no one is doing that, I suppose, but they are extremely easy to steal!!! It’s incredible how they let such a piece of history with tremendous value like that, laying there… This is definitely a spot to visit in Mrauk-U!