Formerly Akyab, Sittwe is the capital of Rakhine State, western Myanma, situated on an estuary island at the confluence of three rivers: Kaladan, Myur, and Lemyo. The name Sittwe in Burmese means ‘the place where the war meets’. Originally being a small village, and now become an important seat of maritime commerce, Sittwe is not only a trading area but also a tourist destination in Rakhine State, Myanmar.
- Location: western Myanmar
- Status: capital of Rakhine State
- Name meaning: the place where the war meets
- Population:181000 (2006)
- Area: 12,503.5 square kilometers (the entire district)
- Best time of the year to travel: from April to November
Formerly Akyab, Sittwe is the capital of Rakhine State, western Myanma, situated on an estuary island at the confluence of three rivers: Kaladan, Myur, and Lemyo. The name Sittwe in Burmese means “the place where the war meets”. Originally being a small village, and now become an important seat of maritime commerce, Sittwe is not only a trading area but also a tourist destination in Rakhine State, Myanmar. Located in a tropical monsoon climate area, Sittwe has two seasons: dry and rainy season. The rainy reason, from April to November, is more favorable for travelling. All things considered, Mahamuni Buddha, Buddhist Museum, Thalondaw Datt Pagoda and Rakhine State Cultural Museum are more attractive than others. Mahamuni Buddha is a temple where people in town celebrate the annual lighting festival, crowded at the end of Buddhist Lent. Tourists come here in October and November may be participated in this festival with the natives. Situated in the center of town with a large plain and pillars decorated with glass mosaic, the temple is symbol of the Rakhine style. Buddha images have the face shined with gold and others rest is of bronze. A unique architecture, where you can view Rakhine Style Buddha images, is Buddhist Museum. The building is painted in yellow, with the delicate carved red roof. There is also a collection of images: most of Rakhine Buddha Style under a meter in height, some Indian Buddha images and Hindu deities, a few Thai and Japanese Buddha Statues. Silver coins of the Mrauk U era, clay pipes, terracotta votive tablets and engraved astrological chart are also displayed. Tourists will be charged free for visit this museum. Beside Buddhist Museum, another attractive museum is Rakhine State Cultural Museum. As its name suggests, it is truly a collection of most of traditional things of ancient Rakhine. Inaugurated in 19th February 1996, this museum owns four stories and displays not only silver coins and colorful glazed materials, stone sculptures of Vesali and Mrauk U period but also traditional Rakhine musical instruments: crocodile-shaped, harp and xylophone, various kinds of flutes and drums. One special thing, if you have never seen a tray for offering food to Buddha, a wooden bowl and a lacquer ware bowl of Mrauk U period, or plate inscription, terra-cotta inscription, bell inscription, palm leaf manuscript binder inscription enshrining miniature brass bowl, glazed pot of Mrauk U period, it is a great opportunity for you. Lying over the Ahgyettaw ridge, in the western of the town is Thalondaw Dat Pagoda. It is said that this pagoda was built and donated by King Ashoka. With the hundred year old Shwe Zedi Kyaung, a famous monastery in Sittwe, these two destinations are for regional lovers. Point, View Point, or Farkir Point, built on the rock jutting out into the Indian Ocean, is where you can walk along the river bank to enjoy breathing fresh see breeze in early morning or sunset at late afternoon. Attractions are the view of merging of the Kaladan River and the Bay of Bengal, excellent view of Sittwe Beach and Sittwe Harbor. As a path paved, with benches to sit, is a favorite hangout for visitors and locals. Immersed in the lives of the local people, you will want to visit to Sittwe market, with the environment of a rural village. The largest ethnic group in Sittwe is the Rakhine people. Alongside, there are some Burmese from other parts of the country. The vast majority practices Theravada Buddhism, Hinduism or Animism. Diverse people, diverse life style, you only see in local market.