Mandalay is the is the second largest city after Yangon in Myanmar and the last royal capital of the country. Both Rudyard Kipling and George Orwell spent time here and there is even a bar called Kipling’s Bar in the Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel.
Mandalay is popular as a stopover for those travelling through the country but it has a rich history with a diverse community and there is plenty to see and do, but if you like many travellers only have a day or so to spend in Mandalay then I will guide you in my footsteps of what I did in my action packed day in Mandalay.
On my early morning arrival into Mandalay via VIP from Yangon and I was greeted by my tour guide and driver at the bus station, and on my way to the hotel I visited the Mahamuni Temple. The temple holds one of the most revered Buddha images in Myanmar with over 5000 kilos of gold on it. Every morning the place is crowded with devout Burmese and only a few tourists. The amount of gold that you see in the temple is amazing and everyday the image of the Buddha is layered with gold paper. The ambience here is very moving and you can see how special this place is to the Burmese. This is a must visit place in Mandalay.
After being dropped off to check into my hotel I had a quick bite to eat before the driver and guide returned as per my request to pick me up and we moved onto Shwenandaw Kyaung also know as the Golden Palace Monastery. It is beautiful exotic monastery with exquisite carvings and a rich history. I was informed by my guide that it is the only surviving original building from the Grand Palace which was destroyed in WWII, it’s definitely worth a visit and doesn’t take more than an hour to see it all.
Next we visited Kuthodaw Pagoda which houses the ‘World’s largest book with 729 pages. It is a stunning collection of 729 small white pagodas each housing a white marble slab containing Buddha’s scriptures. it is also a UNESCO Heritage site and was one of my favourite stops in Mandalay.
We then moved onto Kyauktawgyi Pagoda which is famous for a 9 meter, 900 tonne Buddha The statue was carved from massive marble and was said to have taken 10,000 men took 13 days to transport the stone from Ayeyarwaddy River to current location.
After lunch we then moved towards Mingun to the unfinished Mingun Pahtodawgyi, left as such after an astrologer predicted the King would die should the temple be completed. If had been completed as planned it would have been the biggest ever temple built at the time. Earthquakes have damaged the structure but you can still see the remains of a gigantic lion in front of the temple. Further down the road you can see the 90 ton Mingun Bell, considered the world’s largest uncracked ringing bell.
We then visited Sagaing which boasts over 600 white-painted pagodas and monasteries. Sagaing Hill is considered to be the religious centre of Myanmar and as such it is home to 3,000 monks and 100 meditation centers. You actually see monks of all ages male and female here, which in all my travels, I have never witnessed so many in one place at a time living and going on about their daily lives.
Our next stop took us to Amarapura, the ‘City of Immortality’ which used to be the capital of Myanmar twice and today is part of Mandalay. Today it is famous for producing exquisite local handmade products. We completed the day take a stroll along the 200 year old teak U Bein Bridge. The bridge is 1.2 kilometers in length making it the world’s longest teak span, as you stroll along the bridge enjoy the beautiful views of the surrounding farms and streams.
I organised my day tour through AsiaTrips. If you would further information please visit www.asiatrips.travel or contact email@example.com