The city of Mandalay is situated in the upper part of Myanmar, on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River and about 700 kilometers north of Yangon. This destination is a home to the last Burmese Royal Palace, numerous important Buddhist constructions and peaceful surrounding areas which makes it one of the best places for sightseeing in the Golden Land.
2.BEST TIME TO VISIT MANDALAY
Mandalay is situated in the central dry zone of Myanmar, which makes it receive a hot and dry weather. The city features 2 seasons: dry and wet. The dry season starts from November to February bringing warm sunlight and less rainfall making the outdoor activites enjoyable. However, remember to bring a lot of water to keep you hydrate, sun block and hat when going outside. This time of the year is also considered as the best time to visit Mandalay.
The hottest months fall on March and April which is scorching hot with the highest temperatures can reach to 40°C. However, the water festival of Thingyan - Burmese New Year occurs at the beginning of April will offer tourists with many interesting activities and unique ceremonies.
The wet season happens in May to October bringing heavy rainfalls to the region. The showers may interupt your activities, hence, they bring life to the vegetations and the travel cost is much cheaper during this period in compare to the dry season.
3.THINGS TO DO IN MANDALAY
Coming to Mandalay, you cannot miss these following attractions:
Pay a Visit to Mahamuni Pagoda
Mahamuni pagoda is a famous landmark in Mandalay not only for the acient origin (built in 1784) but also for housing a very scared Buddha image. Rumor has it that the statue is one of the 5 likeliest images in the world depicting the Gautama Buddha appreance. It is now covered in a thick layer of gold leaf applied by men devotees as a mark of respect. There is a washing face ritual for this image practised by a senior monk early every morning.
Aditionally, the pagoda also has a colorful festival in February celebrating the historical beginning and development of it. Not only religious activities will be organized in this ceremony but also you can take part in many other cultural, entertaining, social activities. This is the chance for you to witness the culture and spirit life of the Burmese.
- Location: Between 82nd and 84th street
- Opening Hours: 04:00 am – 05:00 pm daily
- Admission Fees: $4 per person
Climb up Mandalay Hill
Mandalay city has it name from the famous Mandalay Hill which is one of the most important Burmese religious sites. The destination also serves as a vantage point as it overlooks the city, offering tourists a perfect place observe the magical sunrise or sunset of the Golden Land.
There are three ways for visitors to reach the top of the hill: climbing up the stairways in bare feet (with many convenient seats along the ways up), taking the escalator or going on a tuk tuk (finish with a final few steps or continue to take the escalator). Remember to pay special attention to the two statues of giant chinthes (half - lion, half - dragon guardian deities) guarding in front of the southern entrance, as well as Su Taung Pyi Pagoda near the top of Mandalay Hill.
Furthermore, you can also pay a visit to some nearby attractions at the foot of Mandalay Hill such as the Royal Palace, Shwenandaw Monastery and Kuthodaw Pagoda and the world's largest book.
Discover Burmese Traditional Handicrafts at Local Workshops
Have you ever wonder where the thin gold leaf that the locals use to apply on the Buddha statues come from? Or how the stunning piece of Longyi (Burmese traditional dress) with colorful patterns are made? Take a visit to the local workshops of Mandalay and you will never regret.
Mandalay is famous for making many beautiful Burmese traditional handicrafts such as gold leaf beating, bronze casting or silk weaving. Coming here, you can have a great opportunity to observe the skilful craftsmen doing their work and may be experience the procedures by yourself.
Take a Boat Trip to Mingun
After exploring the all the main highlights of Mandalay, hop on a boat trip to Mingun - another former Burmese capital. Once you arrive in Mingun, you will be impressed by the enormous, undone structure of the famous Mingun Pagoda (also known as Mingun Pahtodawgyi or Mingun Paya), as well as the distinctive architecture of Hsinbyume Pagoda nearby. This place is also well - known for Mingun Bell which is the second biggest ringing bell in the world.
Enjoy the Magnificent Sunset over U Bein Bridge
This 1.2 kilometre bridge was built around 1850 from over a thousand teak columns (some have currently been replaced by concrete posts) taken from the royal palace of Ava . U Bein bridge is now believed to be the oldest teakwood bridge in the world.
The bridge not only plays a significant role as a passageway for the locals but also a famous tourist attraction that draws waves of tourists every year. U Bein bridge is most beautiful when the sun casts it mesmerizing glow over the Taungthaman lake creating a magical scene.
Location: Taungthaman Lake, Amarapura (about 30 minutes drive from Mandalay)
Explore Inwa by Horse Cart
Your trip in Mandalay may be uncompleted if you do not take a horse cart exploring around Inwa (or also known as Inwa), a small town situated at the convergence of Ayeyarwaddy and Myitnge river. Needless to say, Inwa has become a popular day trip destination from Mandalay thanks to its timeless cultural heritage. Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery, Grand Bagaya Monastery, Nanmyint Watch Tower are the top attractions in Ava which will definitely give you memorable experiences in this ancient city.
4. THINGS TO BUY IN MANDALAY
- Gold Leaf
Traveling around numerous cities and tourist attractions in Myanmar, visitors can easily spot Buddha images or stupas gilded with gold leaves. The making process to create gold leaves is completely handmade and very interesting to observe. Mandalay has many gold leaf workshops that own the biggest supply for genuine gold leave resources. You can pay a visit to King Galon workshop for a closer look at the gold leaf beating.
- Arts and Crafts
The rich culture and beautiful architecture of Myanmar are shown on various types of presents. Some of those are Buddhist sculptures and paintings, as well as Marionette – an adorable form Burmese traditional puppet. These souvenirs can be found in Amar Waddy, Aung Nan Myanmar Handicrafts workshop or Rocky - one of Mandalay’s most popular handicraft shops.
5. DO'S AND DON'TS
- Avoid using your left hand
- Watch where you point your camera
- Respect the local religious customs
- Touch someone’s head
- Wear shoes in pagoda or on temple grounds
- Leave knees and shoulders exposed when visiting religious architectures
- Party, sleep or climb on pagoda where tourists are not permitted
- Drink tap water
- Visit restricted destinations