Rakhine, also called Arakan, is one of the states in Myanmar. The word Rakhine means, "one who maintains his own race". It is in the west of Myanmar, bordered by Magway Region, Bago Region and Ayeyarwaddy Region to the east,Chin State to the north, the Bay of Bengalto its west. The Rakhine Mountains (Rakhine Roma), also called Arakhan Mountains,mountain arc in western Myanmar, between the Rakhine coast and the Irrawaddy River valley. It consists of five districts – Sittwe, Mrauk-U, Maungdaw, Kyaukphyu, Thandwe and its capital is Sittwe. Thandwe has the main airport to the Rakhine State. Kyaukphyu is another commercial town.
Photo by Zon Wai Phyo
Most of the Arakanese are Theravada Buddhists and the religion is an important part of Rakhine nationality. Rakhine has a rich traditional culture, music, traditional dance and religious buildings. There are hundreds of ancient pagodas, temples until now, especially in the ancient city, Mrauk-U.
Photo by Aye Myat Mon
Sittwe pronounced Site-tway in the Rakhine language, is the capital of Rakhine. It is located in the confluence of the Kaladan River, Myu River, and Lemyo River. We can get there by bus and air easily.The best months of the year to travel Sittwe are November to February. The main interesting places in Sittwe are Mahamuni Buddha Image, Buddhist museum, Sittwe view point, Thalondaw Datt Pagoda, Rakhine State Cultural Museum, Sittwe Fish Market and central market.
Photo by Zon Wai Phyo
The archeological city of Rakhine, Mrauk-U is located in between the Kaladan and Lay Myo rivers in the Western part of Burma, near the Bay of Bengal. There are countless temples and pagodas were built in 350 years ago. The area around Mrauk-U ranks second in the production of rice in Myanmar, after the Irrawaddy Delta. The main places to visit in there are Shitthaung Temple, Koethaung Temple, Daukkanthein Temple, Andawthein Temple, Lay Myat Nar Temple, Mrauk U Museum and so on.
Photo by Phoo Ngone Lin
Ngapali Beach is the most beautiful beach in Myanmar. It was named as Ngapali since it was similar with Nepal beach. Although its food price and hotel fees are little expensive, it is popular within local visitors and tourists. If you want to try luxury trip, Ngapali Beach is the place that should not be missed to visit.
Rakhine Traditional Thingyan (Thungran) Festival
Just like Myanmar traditional Thingyan festival, Rakhine traditional days are celebrated on the month of April. Rakhine Thingyan is usually celebrated in three categories
(1) Nantha Grinding Ceremony
(2) After grinding Nantha, pouring it to the Buddha Statues, and
(3) Water festival
Rakhine people clean the statues, buddhas and monsasteries in these days with water mostly in village. Before Pre Thingyan day, Rakhine ladies assemble by bringing and grinding white and red sandalwoods (Nantha Phyu and Nantha Ni) to make Nantha water. On the other hands, Rakhine men sing songs with the musical instruments to cheer up the festival. On the Pre-Thingyan dayt, most of the people go to the pagodas and monasteries and do the cleaning and offering of the Nantha to Buddha statues. During the festival, Rakhine girls and boys are watering each other in the pandals. Each pandal built of wood and bamboo, decorated with palm leafs and padauk flowers, is filled with a long boat filled with water.
Rakhine Traditional Oil Lamp Dance
Oil lamp dance is a kind of Rakhine traditional dance. The meaning of the dance is the demonstration of offering light to Buddha and the dancers have to dance together with a lighted wick of cotton socked in oil-filled saucer in their hands, by striking Rakhine drums, playing the flute and singing the soft song called Tharkhrinn. Nowadays, the lighted candle are used instead of cotton.
Most of the Rakhine Foods are spicy taste based on Nga pi, fish and shrimp.
In Rakhine state, all the family members gather around the dining table and share the dishes and eat together. Overall, Rakhine foods are fresh, spicy and low-oil as well as low-fat.
Mont-T is well-known food of Rakhine including thin noodle, with a sweet and sour flavor especially cooked with Nga Pi. We can eat it in two different options, the first one is Mont-T with sweet soup and the another one is Mont-T salad (either hot noodle or sweet noodle salad). The other famous traditional foods are Rakhine spicy chicken curry, seashell curry (either sweet or spicy style), seaweed salad and spicy seafood salad.
Photo by Mon Marlar
Photo by Zon Wai Phyo