Built by King Mindon between 1857 and 1859 and inherited by King Thibaw before colonial times, Mandalay Palace was once famous for its jewel encrusted décor, grand meeting halls and the vast number of teak houses built to accommodate the king’s many wives. Today, the many wives are long gone, but a $10 contribution will grant you the privilege of walking around their teak houses and a small ... Read more about Mandalay Palace .
The only surviving original building from the Grand Palace is Shwenandaw Monastery (also known as the Golden Palace Monastery). The well-preserved all teak wood structure is covered in intricately carved figures from Buddhist mythology, and has become a valuable stop for those looking to absorb Mandalay's rich history. First built as part of the royal palace in Amarapura by King Mindon's ... Read more about Shwenandaw Kyaung Monastery ( Golden Palace Monastery ) .
A 240-metre hill covered in spires and pagodas juts out into the sky northeast of the Grand Palace, offering an all-encompassing 360-degree viewpoint of Mandalay. Monks from all around the city join aspiring photographers and sunset visitors on top of Mandalay Hill every day, to watch the world change from day to night. ... Read more about Mandalay Hill .
When you think about what the world’s largest book may look like, you’re likely to imagine a massive leather tome tucked away in some library. In actuality, the world’s largest “book” is in Mandalay at Kuthodaw Pagoda. It consists of 729 standing stone “pages”, each with their own private stupa known as a kyauksa gu. They span across the vast pagoda grounds in long organised rows ... Read more about Kuthodaw Pagoda and Sandamuni Pagoda .
While walking through the humble Mahamuni Paya it's hard to believe that its holy esteem is second only to Shwedagon Pagoda. Buddhist pilgrims from all over Myanmar and Asia travel to see the legendary Maha Muni Image (translated: Sacred Living Image) that is housed within the pagoda, and is said to contain part of the Gautama Buddha's actual soul. The 3.5 metres tall, sitting Buddha, lives ... Read more about Mahamuni Paya .
Mandalay and its surrounding ancient cities have an abundance of attractions and sunset views, but if you only had time for one sight while in Mandalay, it would have to be U Bein ... Read more about U Bein Bridge .
Known as the centre for many of Burma’s traditional artisan crafts — working in marble, stone, gold and teak wood, creating tapestries or making puppets, for instance — Mandalay’s workshops and showrooms display a huge variety of handmade artefacts. For a day of shopping and seeing how these items are created by the artists themselves, here is our list of the more impressive spaces to ... Read more about Artisan workshops and showrooms .
With Mandalay being centrally located in Burma (Myanmar), items from all over the country are trucked in and sold here, giving the city one of the most diverse (and cheap!) selections of markets there is, offering everything from gems and jade to local foodstuffs not even found in ... Read more about Markets .
The charm of Mandalay and its surrounds can often lie under the surface and isn’t just dished out like a big bowl of mogyoke meeshe. For those who enjoy the wind in their hair and don’t mind getting a little sweaty, cycling this flat, pleasant area is a great way to explore and experience it ... Read more about Cycling around Mandalay .
Most travellers rush through Mandalay, and rightfully so for those with a tight schedule. But spending two to three days in the Burmese cultural capital provides not only an important Myanmar (Burma) history lesson, it also offers some of the most iconic photography spots in the ... Read more about Great photography spots .
The once bustling city of Amarapura is the youngest among the ancient capital cities surrounding Mandalay, but even in its short life, it is home to iconic sights such as the tombs of King Bodawpaya, Shwezaga Paogda and the world's longest teak bridge: U Bein Bridge. Built by King Bodawpaya in 1783, the royal family resided at Amarapura for a mere 70 years before King Mindon dismantled the ... Read more about Amarapura .
Just southwest of Mandalay and across the Ayarwaddy River, white and gold pagodas decorate the hillsides of the ancient capital of Sagaing. Sometimes referred to as mini-Bagan, this city has long shed its political identity and is better known as an important religious site in Myanmar. Sagaing was first the capital of an independent Shan Kingdom from 1315-1364. It then became the Burmese ... Read more about Sagaing .
Out of all the ancient capitals of Burma, Inwa (Ava) is the most famous. From the 14th till the 19th century, Inwa was the region's ruling centre. Today it consists of spread out, ancient ruins filled in by quiet, lush agricultural life. The Shan Prince Thadominphya founded Inwa in 1364 and turned the new royal capital into an island when he commissioned a canal joining the Myint Nge and ... Read more about Inwa (Ava) .
Not on the guided ancient capital day-tours, Mingun has become a very popular half-day excursion from Mandalay via a very enjoyable one-hour boat ride up the Ayarwaddy River. Now more of a riverside village than a bustling capital city, it is best known for Mingun Pantodawgyi - the largest pagoda in the world that never was. Also called the world's largest pile of bricks, Mingun Patodawgyi ( ... Read more about Mingun .