Photo: Stunning Hsinbyume or Myatheindan Paya.

Mingun

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The fourth of Mandalay’s surrounding ancient capitals, Mingun offers some great temples, plus a delightful Ayeyarwaddy boat trip to reach them. It isn’t generally included on the organised ancient capitals tour that takes in Amarapura, Inwa and Sagaing, but it is the easiest, and cheapest, to do on your own.





A scheduled boat leaves from the Mingun jetty on Strand Road every morning at 09:00, taking a little under an hour to do the 11 kilometre upstream journey to Mingun, costing 5,000 kyat per person. The boat deposits you by a pair of ruined giant Chinthe lions which formed the original entrance to the Pahtodawgyi Pagoda, Mingun’s most famous sight. Here you’ll find the ticket booth (a 5,000 kyat entrance fee valid for Sagaing too), and local-style taxis plus tea shops and noodle cafes in front of the giant pagoda. Local taxis are bullock carts with rattan roofs and though they travel slower than you can walk and there’s no great distance involved anyway, they are a fun idea by the enterprising locals. They cost 6,000 kyat and seat three.

Mingun's only taxi service. Photo taken in or around Mingun, Mandalay, Burma_myanmar by Mark Ord.

Mingun's only taxi service. Photo: Mark Ord

Mingun was established at the end of the 18th century as King Bodawpaya decided to go off piste somewhat so, eschewing the usual suspects of Sagaing and Inwa, commissioned a new capital upriver. He had big ideas and set about building what would have been the world’s largest chedi, had it ever been completed. Now also known as the world’s largest pile of bricks, work on Mingun Pahtodawgyi Pagoda began in 1790 with Bodawpaya intending to put himself on the map by collecting the most number of Buddhist brownie points. Only a third of the pagoda was completed by thousands of prisoners of war before a prophecy that the completion of the pagoda would result in the destruction of the country put a dampener on construction. Bodawpaya died in 1819, and an 1839 earthquake helped to quash any possibility it might ever be completed. Today the 50-metre-tall brick ruin makes a spectacular attraction and a staircase has been recently built to allow visitors to appreciate the view from ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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How to get there
The public boat leaves Mingun jetty on Strand Road at the end of 26th Street at 09:00 and returns at 12:30. Price is 5,000 kyat per person, with a ticket booth on arrival. It can get crowded during high season but the large-sized boats can be had as a private hire for a reasonable $25. If the boats are not too full, or you’ve hired your own, you will be allowed to take bicycles.

Mingun can also be reached in around 20 or 30 minutes by a sealed and pretty lane from Sagaing.

Location map for Mingun

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