Mandalay The second largest city of Myanmar, with a population of more than 800000, is the cultural heart of Myanmar where the most refined arts, traditions of dance, music and drama live on.445 miles or 716 km from Yangon. The royal capital of the last monarchy of Myanmar, Mandalay is also known for its fine gold and silver crafts, wood and marble stone carvings, silk thread weaving and ancient tapestry. Besides handicrafts workshops, places of interest are Zaygyo Market, Shewnandaw Golden Place Monastery, Kuthodaw Pagoda and Mandalay Hill. There are several ancient capitals around Mandalay such as Amarapura, Sagaing, Ava, and Mingun where Kongboung dynasty such as Amarapura, Sagaing, Ava, and Mingun where Kangboung dynasty kings established their capitals respectively. Mandalay International Airport is also the gateway to Myanmar. Air Mandalay operates direct flights from Chiang Mai to Mandalay. The same was only over an hour’s flight from Yangon. By road, it takes about 14 hours by Express coaches; and about by train from Yangon.
Places to visit around Mandalay
Mahamuni Buddha Image
Stone curving quarter
Visit to the handmade Gold leaf making workshop
“Aung Nann” Souvenir shop to see tapestries, wood curving and very fine arts.
The Royal Palace of Mandalay
Golden Palace Monastery (very famous for wood carving)
Kuthodaw, known as the world biggest book (729 marble slabs of Buddhist scriptures)
Diamond Plaza (a nice market for shopping in Mandalay)
Fish market & Flower market around the riverside.
Amarapura (the ancient capital)
Mahagandayon monastery (to see more the 800 monks learning Buddha’s teaching, you can offer some food there )
A visit to a silk and cotton weaving workshop around the U Bein Bridge
AVA or Innwa (also the former capital of Myanmar,visit to the Bargayar Monastery to see the Monastic Education by a horse cart after crossing the river by boat would be another experience of the day.)
Places for Sunset in Mandalay
U Bein Bridge (the 1.2 km long world’s longest teakwood bridge and Taung Thaman Lake in Amarapura)
Taking a boat trip for the sunset on the mighty Ayeyarwady River at Mandalay-Mingun jetty.
Mè-Nu Temple (a temple to see the masterpiece of plaster work)
Activities in Mandalay
Walking around the lake beside the Royal Palace from outside the fence like local in the early morning, hire a bicycle and explore more to people to feel like a local. Go to china town and night market would be another good experience for you. Get Mandalay Beer (the local beer)and BBQ for fun and go to SPAs to relax.
The most visited tour sites in Mandalay
Mahamuni Budddha Image
The Royal Palace
Golden Palace Monastery
Kuthodaw Pagoda (the world’s biggest book)
Mingun Village to see the unfinished Pagoda and visit the village after taking a boat trip from Mandalay.
Sagaing Hill to climb up to see the panoramic view
A visit to AVA and enjoy the horse cart riding.
Other Places to visit around Mandalay
Ava(Inwa) Located across Myitnge river about 20 km southwest of Mandalay is the capital of Myanmar Kingdom for nearly 400 years. All the major buildings, which were not destroyed during the earthquake of 1838, had been transferred first to Amarapura and then to Mandalay. However the 27m high watchtower known as the “leaning tower of Ava” and Baraga teak monastery which is famous for its teak pillars amounting to 267 in total, are still there can today. Visitors cross the river on a ferry boat and ride around the sites of Aver in a horse drawn cart.
Sagaing lies 21km south-west of Mandalay on the west bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. Today, Sagaing is the capital of Sagaing Division and known as a meditation centre. The Sagaing Hills offer famous religious retreats where monks and nuns go for study and meditation in over 400 monasteries. Nearby is Ywataung village known for its silver craftsmen.
Amarapura Situated about 1km south of Mandalay and on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwaddy river.Founded by King Bodawpaya in 1783 as his new capital. Amarapura means City of Immortality. There are several places of interest in this ancient city which was also the site for the first British Embassy in Myanmar in 1795.U Bein Wooden Bridge built over the seasonal Tang Shaman lake in1786 with over 1700 huge teak pillars 1.2km along. Mahagandayon Buddhist Monastery is the most interesting site in Amarapura.
Mingun Located across majestic Ayeyarwaddy River approximately 12km north of Mandalay. Mingun today hosts the world is second largest ringing Bell of 90 tons in weight and the unfinished pagoda to next . Mingun Pagoda was dedicated to be the world largest brick pile. It is reached by ferry boats across the river and takes 1hours for up-river and 40 minutes for down-river. A boat trip to Mingun is pleasant with plenty of life on the river to see.
Monywa A picturesque town on the Chindwin River, Monywa is located140 km north-west from Mandalay. It was known as Thalawadi before. On the way to Monywa and before you reach the town there is unusual Buddhist temple complex on 37 acres of land called Monhyin Thanboddhay. Excursion to Powintaung cave and Shwe Ba taung are the highlights of Mondywa. Kyauk kar lacquerware industry can be seen near Monywa.
Pyin Oo Lwin, 1050m above sea level, is 67 km east from Mandalay. It is best known as Maymyo, a former British colonial summer retreat. The famous Candacraig Hotel, the Kandawgyi garden and the Pyin U Lwin Market are popular sites. The visit of Pwe Kauk Falls, Peik Chain Myaung Cave and by a ride on a horse-drawn stage- coach through the town can be enjoyed. Pyin Oo Lwin is an easy day trip from Mandalay. Hiking trips to the nearby Anisakan and Dattawgyike Water Falls can be arranged. The second-highest railways bridge the Gokteik Viaduct since 1901 at 38 ft high and 2257 ft across is still survived as the oldest an the longest railway bridge in Myanmar.
Thipaw is also known as Hsipaw.Located in the Northeast of Mandalay in a distance of 124 miles or 200 km. It lies at 1370ft above the sea level. This peaceful and quiet place is also famous for walks, treks and excursions around this little town. Visit to waterfalls, hot springs, monasteries on the hills, Shan and Palaung tribal villages for your stay here.
Lashio is a trading town in Northern Shan State accessible by road and train from Mandalay. From Lashio, the famous Burma Road built by the British before the War, intersects with Ledo Road leading into the Yunnan Province. Each morning Chinese, Wa, Shan, Myanmar, Lisu and Palaung nationalities gather for their daily shopping. It is a mountain town at 855 meter. Quan Yin San Chinese Temple, hot springs and New Pyi Lon Chan Tha Paya are among some of the places to visit.
Hkamti (The Naga Land) although most people have heard about Naga tribes there are some who have seen them and only a few who have been to their area. Among the indigenous tribes are Kachin, Hkamti Shan and Naga (The Naga were famous for their prominent head hunting custom which no longer exists today but the various tribes can be seen at the market or at their work).Their settlements are up in the Lahe and Lashi Naga hills by the Saramari Mt. of some 3827m, which still is somehow in accessible. Subject to travel, one could trek to the Naga Hills and may scale the Mt.Saramari:-admiring the splendors of the uninhahabite nature.
Mogok, known as the Gems City, is some 200 km northeast of Mandalay. Myanmar rubies, sapphires, emeralds and other precious stones are mined in Mogok area. Only package tours with special permission are allowed to visit Mogok.