Posted by: David Stewart | August 8, 2009

A day in sleepy Sittwe

“Obama! Very good! – Buddhist Monk in Sittwe, Myanmar
Sittwe, Myanmar (Burma) Sittwe is the capital of Rakhine State in western Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). It’s a very sleepy port city where you see almost no cars. Almost everyone there is on a bike of some kind or a motorcycle.

There isn’t much reason for a foreign tourist to visit Sittwe I’m afraid, unless it’s as a staging area to get to Mrauk U, which is why we were there last March.

Fruit bats, Sittwe, Myanmar (Burma) But we will definitely remember the fruit bats hanging in the trees outside our hotel room. They didn’t bother us at all, and it was interesting watching them snooze in the heat of the day.

Court and Susan, Sittwe, Myanmar (Burma) Sittwe sits on the Bay of Bengal, only a few hundred miles from Bangladesh. Between the sea and the Kaladan River, there is a spit of land called “the point” where there is a nice little park to watch the sun set over the waves. (Above are my sister Susan and her husband, Court.)

Sittwe, Myanmar (Burma) We had about a day to lay over in Sittwe between boat trips, so we wandered about the bustling market. In spite of the economic slow down and general lack of tourism, it seemed like the market was full of goods.

 Sittwe, Myanmar (Burma)Sittwe, Myanmar (Burma)Sittwe, Myanmar (Burma)Sittwe, Myanmar (Burma)

There were a couple of museums in town, one of them was the state-run Rakhine State Museum, where they had some really interesting displays of the different people groups and the costumes they wear plus displays of their martial arts, festivals and houses.

 traditional costumes, State Museum, Sittwe, Myanmar (Burma)State Museum, Sittwe, Myanmar (Burma)State Museum, Sittwe, Myanmar (Burma)State Museum, Sittwe, Myanmar (Burma)

The funkiest thing we saw though in Sittwe was their Buddhist Museum, which is onthe second floor of a monastery in town. Actually it looked like a former mansion. We stepped out of our shoes and wandered aimlessly until we found the stairway to the museum.

Buddhist Museum, Sittwe, Myanmar (Burma)

I’m not sure I can fully capture how really odd this place was. Most of the displays looked like jars with gravel in them. The attending monk, with very little English at his command, confirmed that they were the leftover teeth and bone fragments from famous monks and wise men from the past. There were also displays of foreign currency and even a couple of golf trophies.

Buddhist Museum, Sittwe, Myanmar (Burma)

At the end of our wander through the museum, the monk asked where we were from by taking us to a world map and asking us to point to our home country. When we pointed out the US, he said his only really clear English:

“Obama … very good!”

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Responses

  1. sittwe is good city because I was born there.


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