Nestled in northern Rakhine State’s rugged terrain, for centuries, Mrauk U was regarded as one of the most powerful and important kingdoms in Myanmar. From the 15th to 18th centuries it served as a lucrative trading hub, long frequented by the Portugese, French and Dutch, but the prosperity gained from this quickly diminished after the conquest of the kingdom by the Burmese Konbaung Dynasty in 1784. This, combined with the decision by the British to move the regional trading centre to Sittwe, help to explain Mrauk U’s now isolated state. Due to its ghost-like, temple-strewn landscape, it is easy to understand why visitors are quick to make comparisons with Bagan. There are however many differences, especially when it comes to the typical temple design. Many are barricaded with thick, bunker like stonewalls that help to protect against the sometimes fierce Rakhine winds. Before travelling to Mrauk U, Tour Mandalay would recommend that you first check to make sure there are no travel restrictions in place – this information can be obtained from the Burmese Embassy in your home country.