A Complete To - Do List in Mandalay, Myanmar

Blended between modernity and acienty, oldness and newness, rich history and hustling dynamic, Mandalay is becoming one of the most impressive destination for tourists all over the world.

Established by King Mindon in 1857 at the foot of Mandalay Hill, Mandalay is now the second largest city in Myanmar. Blended between modernity and acientness, rich history and hustling dynamic vibe, Mandalay is becoming one of the most impressive destination for  tourists all over the world.

If chances bring you to Mandalay, don’t miss out on these top things to do in Mandalay as they mark the uniqueness of this city.

1. Discover Mahamuni Pagoda

Mahamuni Pagoda was built in 1985 by King Bodawpaya. It is home to one of the most sacred Buddha images in Burma - Mahamuni Buddha.

Everyday, male devotees apply thin gold leaf to the statue as a way to express respect. The image now looks very different from the original appreance because of having a thick gold leaf layers applied onto the surface. In addition, at 4 am daily, a senior monk carries on a washing ritual of the image’s face and teeth. 

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The face washing ritual at Mahamuni Pagoda

When entering the inner space of the pagoda, guests have to pay 1000 kyat (about $0.65 US) for camera fee. If you want to approach the golden statue (only men can do it), it is required to have at least 1 gold leaf. Remember to cover your shoulders and knees as well as take off your shoes when entering the pagoda.

You can also find some interesting artifacts of Khmer Empire in the building located in the precinct of the Pagoda. The bronze statues are said to worshipped Shiva and have the healing ability.

  • Location: between 82nd street and 84th street
  • Entrance fee: US$ 4 per person
  • Opening hours: daily from 6 am until 8 pm

2. Climb on Mandalay Hill

The summit of this 760 feet hill, sprinkled with various pagodas and monuments in different sizes and shapes offers you a great panoramic view of Mandalay. Especially at sunset, the whole view is worth marvelling at, if you are looking for a photogenic scenery.

Either a staircase or escalator will get you to the top, but if you can climb up barefoot and go pass through golden beautiful temples, the experience is much more memorable.

It's also possible to drive most of the way up Mandalay Hill before taking a lift up from the upper car park. However the last five minutes must be taken by stairway. 

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Amazing sunset at Mandalay Hilltop pagoda - an amazing experience in Mandalay Group Tour

3. Visit Kuthodaw Pagoda and the World's Largest Book

Lying at the base of southeast stairway to Mandalay Hill is Kuthodaw Pagoda, renowned for its 729 Buddhist text inscribed marble slabs as titled “ the world’s largest book”. The origin of the pagoda dated back to 1857 during King Mindon Min’s empire.

To protect Gautama Buddha’s teachings from British invasion, King Mindon decided to inscribe all the Tipitaka Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism into 729 huge stone slabs, each of which is enshrined in the so-called “kyauksa gu”.

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Kuthodaw pagoda complex makes a spectacular view from above

  • Location: The pagoda lies to the east of Mandalay Royal Palace
  • Opeing hours: daily from 8.00am to 8.00pm
  • Entrance fee: $5USD per person

4. Admire the Stunning Woodworks of Shwenandaw Monastery

Situated near Mandalay Hill, Shwenandaw Monastery was built by King Mindon Min and later moved to Mandalay by his son, King Thibaw Min in 1878.

It first belonged to Amarapura’s royal palace before moved to Mandalay to become part of king’s royal apartments. With a majestic beauty from gold and glass mosaic, Shwenandaw Monastery is famous also for its teak carvings of Buddhist myths, which are decorated around the building’s walls and roofs. In addition, this architecture of old Burmese style remains the only major structure from the original Royal Palace nowadays.

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A pattern of intricate wood carving of Shwenandaw Monastery

5. Explore the Traditional Workshops

Visiting traditional workshop is also a unique experience in Burma, as each one offers you a great understanding into cultural and religious diversity. You may love to drop by a gold leaf beating workshop to witness how local people create thin gold leafs which are used to cover revered Buddha images or pay a visit to another bronze casting workshop, which demonstrates the process of making impressive large status across golden land.

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One of the best places to experience the gold leaf making in Mandalay - King Galon workshop

6. Take a Boat Trip to Mingun

Let's take a boat trip to Mingun - another ancient capital of Burma and explore its most stunning places of interest. As you sail towards Mingun on the mighty Irrawaddy river, the scenery is amazing to contemplate. You can spot Mingun Pahtodawgyi from afar with the large crack on it surface. Intended to become the most gigantic stupa in the world but then left undone, it is now one of the most famous tourist attractions in Mandalay.

The construction you see today only reaches one third of the intended height (about 50m). Tourists are not allowed to climb on the top of the stupas anymore because of their own safety and the preservation of the building.

One attraction you should not miss when visiting Mingun is Mingun Bell, which is considered as the second largest ringing bell in the world. Not far from that is the white - washed Hsinbyunme Pagoda providing plenty photogenic chances.

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Hsinbyunme Pagoda - a photogenic spot in Mingun

7. Go on a Day Trip to the Nearby Attractions of Ava, Sagaing and Amarapura

When in Mandalay, don't miss out on a chances to discover three ancient capitals of Burma - Inwa, Sagaing and Amarapura.

3 times occupied as the capital, Inwa (Ava) owns some signature attractions, including two monasteries, a pagoda and relics of the palace. The best transportation when you are visiting Inwa is by horse - cart. 

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Explore Ava by horse - cart - one of the most interesting things to do in Mandalay

You can then continue with Sagaing Hill, which plays a key role in Burmese religion with more than 554 monasteries, 6000 monks and nuns. At a Monastic school and orphanage where we may drop by for a visit, the teachings of Buddhism is a interesting thing to take note.

We are off to Amarapura, the old capital used to be regarded as ‘The City of Immortals’ and now becoming a famous cotton and silk weaving village. This is also the best place to experience the making of the traditional handicraft as well as get for yourself a beautiful longyi. 

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» See the Detailed Itinerary for an Interesting Full Day Tour to Ava - Sagaing - Amarapura: https://bit.ly/2MMfZS3

8. Contemplate Sunset at U Bein Bridge

Lying 11 kilometres to the south of Mandalay, the 1.2 kilometre - long U Bein Bridge owns the record of the world’s longest teakwood bridge. In the movement of capital from Amarapura to Mandalay, the bridge was constructed by a local mayor named U Bein, who collected wood from fragmented teak palace  and rebuilt it into such one of the most scenic sites in Myanmar now gently curving around Taungthaman Lake.

Should you would like to marvel at the most stunning view of U Bein Bridge, visit  it in sunset, when light is lit  up, sun slowly goes down to cast a reddish glow on the sky and everything falls into a romantic scenery. However, to observe the local dynamic, come here just right after sunrise when villagers and monks go back and forth across it.

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Hope that the infomation above helpful for you when palnning a trip to Mandalay. Check out the ultimate Myanmar travel guides for more useful travel tips and advices.

© Myanmar Group Tour

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