Photo: Downtown Mandalay.

Things to see and do

Two-day Mandalay itinerary

With a range of sights to see in Mandalay and its surrounds, some accessible by bicycle, others by boat, and some requiring motorised transport, it can be tricky at first glance to arrange your time here into a coherent programme. Our two-day itinerary will help optimise your time and money in Mandalay, without rushing too much. ... Read more about Two-day Mandalay itinerary .

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Mandalay Palace

Built by King Mindon between 1857 and 1859 and inherited by King Thibaw before colonial times, Mandalay Palace was the last Burmese royal citadel to be built in ... Read more about Mandalay Palace .

Shwenandaw Kyaung or Golden Palace Monastery

The only surviving original building from Mandalay’s royal palace is Shwenandaw Monastery, which is also commonly known as the Golden Palace Monastery. The well-preserved, all-teak 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 ... Read more about Shwenandaw Kyaung or Golden Palace Monastery .

Mandalay Hill

A 240-metre hill covered in spires and pagodas juts out into the sky northeast of Mandalay Palace, offering an all-encompassing 360-degree viewpoint of the town and beyond. Monks from all around the city join photographers, worshippers, courting couples and sunset tourists on top of Mandalay Hill every ... Read more about Mandalay Hill .

Kuthodaw and Sandamuni pagodas
62nd St, between 10th and 11th Sts, Mandalay

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 to ... Read more about Kuthodaw and Sandamuni pagodas .

Mahamuni Paya

If there was a league table of Burmese temples, then Mahamuni would have a firm hold on the number two spot, after Yangon’s Shwedagon. While it’s the overall site and giant golden chedi that are Shwedagon’s claim to fame, at the more modest Mahamuni Paya it’s the central Buddha image that creates the prestige. Even for those very familiar with Southeast Asian Buddhist temples, the care, ... Read more about Mahamuni Paya .

U Bein Bridge

Traditional style, teak U Bein Bridge, stretching over scenic Taungthaman Lake, is one of Burma’s most iconic sights. Mandalay and its surrounding ancient cities have an abundance of attractions and sunset views, but if you only have time for one in Mandalay, it would have to be ... Read more about U Bein Bridge .

Artisan workshops and showrooms

Known as a 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 visit for ... Read more about Artisan workshops and showrooms .

Zay Cho Market
Between 84th and 86th Sts and 26th & 28th Sts, with main entrance on 26th.

Mandalay’s main market, Zay Cho, is in a hideous five-storey brick and concrete building with a grungy, tungsten-lit interior. Nonetheless the market also known as Ze Cho, or Zegyo, is impressive by its size and worth a peek inside if you happen to be in that part of town. Sadly there’s none of the quaintness or photogenic light that picky tourists such as ourselves demand from a Burmese ... Read more about Zay Cho Market .

Jade market or Mahar Aung Myay
87th St, between 39th and 40th, Mandalay

Mandalay’s jade market is probably the market of most interest to the traveller visiting town. Most Burmese towns will feature more interesting and photogenic general markets than the hideous Zay Cho building, but not many possess entire markets dedicated to the precious green stone. ... Read more about Jade market or Mahar Aung Myay .


The once-bustling city of Amarapura is the youngest among the ancient capital cities surrounding Mandalay and is home to iconic sights such as the tombs of King Bodawpaya, Shwezaga Pagoda and the world’s longest teak bridge: U ... Read more about Amarapura .


Just southwest of Mandalay and across the Ayeyarwaddy River, white and gold pagodas decorate the hillsides of the ancient capital of Sagaing, sometimes referred to as mini-Bagan. Several hundred monasteries and nunneries dot these holy hills, home to some 6,000 monks and nuns. ... Read more about Sagaing .

Inwa (Ava)
South of the Sagaing Bridge Rd, around 20 km from Mandalay

Between the decline of Bagan in the 14th century and the founding of Mandalay in the mid-19th, the city of Inwa, locally known as Ava, was the political centre of Burma. Today the evocative site consists of ancient temples and stupas in varying states of decay scattered across a rustic setting of farmland and villages. It makes for a scenic and atmospheric area to ... Read more about Inwa (Ava) .


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. ... Read more about Mingun .

Great photography spots

Spending two to three days in the Burmese cultural capital provides not only an important Burma history lesson, it also offers access to some of the most iconic photography spots in the country. Here are some spots we’d recommend heading to for keen ... Read more about Great photography spots .

Cycling around Mandalay

The charm of Mandalay and its surrounds can often lie under the surface. 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 .

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Mandalay? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Burma_myanmar.

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