The Irrawaddy Magazine (Mar. 2011 Vol.19 No.1)

Page 6

A Trip to

Arakan State By Sein Htay


ITTWE, Arakan State—As the setting sun sheds its golden rays, a fresh sea breeze washes over the lapping waves as they kiss the soft sand. A flock of girls stroll along the beach letting their brown skin bask in the dying light, while children and shirtless young men play football at the water’s edge. People in a dozen or so bamboo and nipa palm huts quietly sip beer, enjoying the tranquility of the coast as traditional ballads fill the air from a nearby restaurant.



This idyllic scene is set just outside Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State in the west of Burma. This is not my first visit to the region, and during every trip I make time for a sunset stroll at this little beach up to a nearby viewpoint known locally as simply “The Point.” The Point is in fact a park from which one can gaze at the Indian Ocean from amid swaying palms. There is an old look-out tower and modern lighthouse here, and it is a favorite spot for swooning young couples and students.