Day 1 Arrival Sittwe
You arrive in Sittwe. Here you are on the border with Bangladesh, in the territory of the Rakhine people. This is a very different part of Burma. The Rakhine, also known as the Yakhaing, or Arakanese, are ethnically much more akin to the Bangladeshis and Indians than to the Burmese.
Sittwe itself is a beautiful town on the Bay of Bengal. There aren't many monuments and historic buildings to see, but the street scene is fascinating. Where in Yangon the traffic is ever-increasing, here there are predominantly Saik ka, the Myanmar rickshaws, some horse carts, and the occasional dilapidated pickup truck. Here you can still see the authentic streets. In many areas of Southeast Asia this is increasingly disappearing due to rapid modernization, but here in the streets of Sittwe it is largely similar to how things have been for last hundred years.
Life takes place all along the river side. Everywhere you see various kinds of fishing boats, from large wooden boats from nearby Bangladesh to small canoes covered by tarps. The fish market is wonderful chaos. At the market you see huge fish hanging to dry. Early in the morning the boats come in with fresh fish from salt, fresh and brackish water, and there is a huge variety of fish. Everything is sold around the fish market: flowers, rice, fruit and vegetables.
A little way behind the market is the Friday Mosque, a dilapidated building from the 19th century. Many Muslims live here. At the end of the day you go to a viewpoint overlooking the beach to watch the sun go down over where the vast Kaladan River flows into the Bay of Bengal.