Mandalay is considered as a cosmopolitan city and the main religious center in Northern of Myanmar. A trip to Mandalay will bring you interesting impressions of its wealth and numerous monuments.
Mandalay was once the capital of Myanmar. Today, the city is the second largest city in the country and recognized as the main religious center of the north of the country. It is said that half of the Myanmar monks live in and around this city.
The city is a dynamic economic center, and its cosmopolitan character gives Mandalay the status of “The must-visit city” in Myanmar. A visit to Mandalay is surely an unforgettable experience for you.
1. How to reach Mandalay and stay there
Mandalay is one of the most easily reached cities in your tours in Burma because of its very good transport infrastructure.
By plane: Mandalay International Airport organizes flights to most cities in Myanmar and some cities abroad, such as Thailand or China. However, the airport is 45km far from the city, and you will have to take a taxi for about 10USD.
By train: You can reach this city from Yangon via the rail network service. Nevertheless, the journey lasts 15 hours and may be a little unpleasant. The price for a first-class ticket is of 5USD. You can also come to Mandalay from Lashio, Hsipaw, Pwin U Lwin and Myitkyina. However, trains are often slow and crowded.
By bus: There are three main bus stations in the city. You can reach them from Pyin U Lwin, Kyaukme, Hsipaw and other cities of the country (of course including Bagan and Inle Lake).
The journey from Yangon consists of a night bus which takes 9 hours to go to Mandalay. The VIP bus (18USD) offers the best value for the journey between the two biggest cities of the country.
By boat: You can reach Bagan via one of the many companies that offer this route. It takes about 10 hours to go there with the price of 40USD. Note that this service is stopped between April and June when the water level is low.
To move around the city, you have various choices from taxis to bicycles. It’s totally dependent on your taste and your budget.
In terms of accommodation, Mandalay hotel and guesthouses are available. Many hotels are located in the Palais Royal area. The prices are not so different from those in Yangoon.
For eating and drinking, lovers of exotic cuisine will be certainly satisfied. The position of the city as a major crossroads of trade with China, India, and Bangladesh has enabled the city to develop a very diverse food supply.
2. What to visit, what to do in your Mandalay tour
As a major religious center of the country, Mandalay will offer you a great number of impressive sites to visit, such as Mahamuni Temple or Mandalay Hill. Moreover, a tour of 10USD will give you access to various temples and monasteries. You can also visit the newly renovated Palais Royal to discover the city’s past through various exhibitions.
To discover the surroundings of the city, it will be easy to find a taxi or motorbike driver who will take you to discover its three villages. In Amarapura you will be able to admire the famous U Bein Bridge, a long teak bridge that becomes a popular rendezvous place at sunset. In Sagaing there are many temples, most of which are on Sagaing Hill. The ascent of 300 steps will allow you to enjoy a panorama of the valley and River Irrawaddy. Finally, you can visit Innwa in a horse-drawn carriage that will take you through 4 attractions: Bagaya Kyunag Monastery, Palace Nanmyin Watchtower, Mahar Aung Mye Bonzon Monastery and Brick Temple Complex Yadan Sinme.
Focus on: Dee Doke Waterfall
About 60km from Mandalay you will find the waterfall of Dee Doke, formed by a lava flow thousands of years ago. It’s suggested that you should visit it between November and February when the water is clear and pure.
As the second largest city in the country, Mandalay will delight visitors with its wealth and diversity of monuments that can be found throughout the city. A trip to Mandalay is certainly a significant milestone in your tours in Burma.