Mandalay, the second largest city of Myanmar with over 1 million inhabitants, is the cultural and Buddhist center of Myanmar. The city is located on the banks of the Irrawaddy river in Central Burma some 700 kilometers North of Yangon and about 180 kilometers North East of Bagan.
Mandalay is an incredible city which we had the pleasure to visit for just over a week and a city we highly recommend you checking out during a trip to Myanmar.
1. The pagodas
Mandalay and the surrounding towns are known for the hundreds of pagodas and monasteries found in the area. A few we recommend you visit would be Mahamuni Buddha Pagoda, Kuthodaw Pagoda and the Mandalay Palace. A trip to Myanmar wouldn’t be complete with out checking out a pagoda or two (or ten).
2. It’s cheap
Extremely cheap! It you are looking for an inexpensive getaway, Myanmar needs to be at the top of your list! Budget-friendly hostels and guest houses are scattered throughout the city, eating out will cost you $3 at most and ending your day with a glass of cold beer will set you back no more than 90 cents.
3. It has the largest book in the world
The entire Buddhist bible was engraved on 729 white marble stones, set up in a square, each being protected by a small white temples. The 730th pagoda is a conventional temple occupying the centre of the square. Each marble tablets are about 3 feet wide and 4 feet high. Known as Kuthodaw Pagoda, it lies at the foot of Mandalay Hill in Mandalay – a sight that needs to be seen.
4. You can also see the worlds longest teak bridge
Over two centuries old, the world’s longest teak bridge spans Taungthaman Lake in Mandalay’s Amarapura township. U Bein bridge is 1.2 km long. We highly recommend you check it out during sunset to get the best photos.
5. See an incredible sunset atop Mandalay Hill
A 240-metre hill covered in spires and pagodas juts out into the sky northeast of Mandalay Palace, offering a 360-degree viewpoint of the town and beyond. Monks from all around the city join photographers, worshippers and tourists on top of Mandalay Hill every afternoon to watch the most epic sunset in all of Asia. Just remember, you will need to walk 1,700 steps to get to the top!
6. It’s only a short ferry ride away from Mingun
We highly recommend spending the day in Mingun. From the river you catch a local boat 11 km to Mingun, the former capital of the kingdom. Greeting you at the beach landing are ox & cart taxi’s that can take you to all the main attractions.
We recommend you check out Hsinphyumar Pagoda, a gleaming white round stepped pagoda built in 1816 in memory of a deceased princess. The quiet town is also home to the world’s largest ringable bell, weighing in at 90 tons. But the most incredible thing to see here is a monstrosity of a pagoda that was never completed. Commissioned by King Bodawpaya in 1790, had it been finished it would be the largest in the world.
7. You can volunteer at a Monastery
During our time in Mandalay we spent a week teaching English at a monastery. With 8,000 students attending daily, and 1000 novice monks living at the school – this was an experience we will never forget & one we highly recommend you experience for yourself!
Have you travelled to Myanmar, we would love to know your favourite city you visited?
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