The main attraction of the lake are boat tours that travel to the most famous pagoda in the area (Paung Daw Oo), old Monastery, a number of cheroot ( Myanmar cigars) rolling workshops, silversmiths and weaving shops.
Tourists have a number of accommodation options open to them depending on their budget, with cheapish guesthouses available in the closest town of Nyaungshwe, luxury hotels on the water or resorts in the hills around the edge.
Construction of the Mingun Pagoda was initiated by King Bodawpaya in 1790, the same ruler who sacked Arakan and removed the Mahamuni Buddha image in Mandalay. Intended to soar as high as 150 metres into the air, work on the pagoda, built using bricks, stopped when the king died in 1819. An earthquake in 1838 killed any chance the site could be restarted and left huge cracks in the structure. Nevertheless, you can still walk up today.
Nearby the Mingun Bell, a vast 90-tonne bronze bell commissioned by King Bodawpaya in 1808.
Mingun is noted for the particularly aromatic and nicely coloured Thanaka produced in the area. The white or cream-coloured Thanaka paste is used by people as an all purpose cosmestic, sunscreen lotion and skin cream countrywide and is made by grinding the thin trunk of a tree and mixing it with water.
The old Arakan (now Rakhine) citadel of Mrauk U was the seat of the Arakan kingdom at the height of its glory in the early to mid 1500s and was known as a cosmopolitan trading city with links to the Middle East, Asia and even parts of Europe.
Mrauk U’s bigger temples, Shitthaung and Kothaung, meaning 80,000 and 90,000 in Myanmar language respectively and referring to the number of Buddha images said to be therein, evoke memories of the Indiana Jones movies, particularly deep within the structures where there is very little light and the images take on an eery presence.
Farmers in the areas around Mrauk U grow and harvest a miniature potato that is famous across the country and can even be found in Yangon sometimes.
For foreign visitors, a trip to Ngapali is strictly a fly-in, fly-out operation – catching the bus is a special effort that should only be attempted by the hardiest of travelers.
Activities during the day include boat trips to nearby islands and uninhabited beaches, snorkeling, fishing, walks along the beach or visits to the town of Thandwe by car, bus or motorcycle, which can be easily arranged by the hotels or restaurants. Or you could just relax on a chair and read a good book and admire the scenery.
Souvenirs made from beautiful shells are readily available in the shops in front of resorts along the beach.