If you’re looking for a soft adventure to spice up your tour of Myanmar, top of your list should be Mrauk U, where ruined stupas, temple towers and huge stone monasteries languish amid low, wooden hills in the middle of nowhere – vestiges of a once-glittering capital that flourished between the 15th and 18th centuries on this, now, a far-flung spot.

Unlike at Bagan, villagers and monks still live and farm among the monuments, making for a supremely picturesque spectacle, especially at dawn, when the exotic towers rise from a pall of wood smoke.

To reach Mrauk U you first have to catch a 90-minute flight from Yangon to the port town of Sittwe, in the northwestern state of Rakhine, then jump on a boat for the remaining six-hour journey upriver to the site. Within easy walking distance of the ruins, a couple of pleasant hotels ensure high levels of comfort and service despite the remoteness of the location.

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