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Welcome to Mrauk U pronounced Meow OO

After an uncomfortable (to say the least), 19 hour, hot, sweaty bumpy and noisy bus ride, a smile can be nice. Don’t expect that when you arrive in Mrauk U.

Arriving in Mrauk U was an unfriendly experience, off the bus and greeted with a women holding a megaphone to your ear shouting ‘you go where!’ ‘you go where!’ Just what you need when you have now idea where you are actually going and have just been kicked out the bus somewhere new and unfamiliar.

We had got used to people generally smiling and saying hello in this country, won’t get that here!
People here are very obviously and un-subtly icy towards foreigners, every other foreigner we spoke to also noticed this, we asked to make sure we weren’t just paranoid.
Without sounding like a crazy twat, I generally walk around smiling at people, and did so in this busy frontier town. I quite literally received one smile back, from a pretty young lady wearing an ‘i heart Yangon’ t-shirt. The rest were icy stares and a couple of ‘Goodbyes’ shouted at me by some feral children.
Walking back to the hotel around 8.30pm in the pitch black after a dinner of the spiciest something (still no clue what it was) with rice, I was genuinely a little bit scared of getting thrown in the river by a local, that’s how hated I felt.

There is a reason behind this hatred, you can read about it here(LINK)

Despite being so far out west and not very well touristed, it is somehow managed to still become another one of Myanmars rip-off tourists town. Hotels are overpriced for what you get, you get cheated on the price of a bus ticket (I wrote a whole nother post on this I was so angry {LINK}), and I’m pretty sure I overpayed for 2 mini satsumas in the market (200,000Khat just doesn’t seem right!).

HOWEVER.. after all of that negativity

After a day or so at being completely pissed off about being in Mrauk U and the hostileness we were receiving, while on a boat floating down the Lemro river to meet some tattoo faced women of the Chin tribe I had a think and wondered if the not smiling thing is just the same as London.
Back in London if some random stranger smiled at me or anyone, we generally look at them as if they are a weirdo. Its just you get so used to friendly people in South East Asia, ok yes usually its cos they want your money, so it becomes a shock when they are not like that. This could maybe be the most western attitude I came across in Myanmar, rudeness and unfriendliness.

Welcome to Mrauk U pronounced Meow OO
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