The Centre of Myanmar Culture
Mandalay, the last capital of the Myanmar Kings, is located in Central Myanmar, 668 km north of Yangon. Also known as Ratanabon-nepyi (meaning Gem City, it was built in 1857 by King Mindon. Today, it is the second largest city boasting its rich cultural heritage. It is also the commercial centre with rail, road, river and air links to all parts of the country
How to get there
Mandalay International Airport is the gateway. Mandalay is only over an hour's flight from Yangon. Myanmar Airways, Yangon Airways and Air Mandalay operate daily flights. By road, it takes about 12 hours by Express coaches, and about 14 hours by train.
Where to Stay
Mandalay has a wide choice of accommodation from international standard hotels to local standard hotels, inns and lodging houses for visitors to suit their taste and budget.
What to See
Mandalay Hill, 230 metres in elevation, commands a magnificent view of the city and surrounding countryside. The legend has it that the Buddha, on his visit, had made a prophecy that a great city would be founded at the foot of this hill.
The whole palace complex was destroyed by fire during the War. The palace walls, the four gates and the moat still stand today as evidence of the majestic Palace City. A number of palace buildings have been reconstructed within the premises.
Shwe Nandaw Monastery
This beautifully built monastery was originally inside the palace compound. King Thibaw had it moved to its present site east of the palace in 1879 after his father's death.
King Bodawpaya built this Pagoda in 1784 to house the Mahamuni Buddha Image brought from Rakhine State. Being the most revered Pagoda in Mandalay, the early morning ritual of washing the face of the Buddha's image, draws a daily crowd of devotees.
King Mindon built this Pagoda in 1868, surrounding it with 729 marble slabs inscribed with the Tipitaka text (the Three Baskets of the Buddhist Pali canon). It is often called the "World's Biggest Book."
Not too far from the Kuthodaw Pagoda is the Atu-ma-shi Monastery (the Incomparable Monastery built in 1878 by King Mindon, and which was partially destroyed by fire in 1890. It was however, rebuilt in 1996.
Kyauk Tawgyi Pagoda
Kyauktawgyi Pagoda (the Pagoda of the Great Marble Image, also built by King Mindon, stands at the foot of Mandalay Hill. Built in 1865, the Pagoda is so called because it houses a large image of the Buddha sculpted from a single block of beautiful Sagyin marble. Other attractions are Sandamuni Pagoda, Eindawya Pagoda, Shwe In Bin Monastery, Mandalay Museum and Library, Zegyo Market and Silk Weaving Cottage Industry.
Mandalay Photo Gallery
Some 11 km south of Mandalay is the town of Amarapura. It was the capital of Konbaung Dynasty during the reign of King Bodawpaya when he moved its capital to Amarapura in 1783. Places of interest are Pahtodawgyi Pagoda, U Bein Bridge across the Taungthaman Lake, Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, Nagayon Pagoda, Mahagandayone Monastery and Cotton and Silk Weaving Cottage Industry.
In wa is another ancient capital, known as the Kingdom of In wa during the Second Myanmar Empire. Today In-wa is a small town south of Amarapura. The sites to see in In-wa include Nanmyint Watch Tower, Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery, Bagaya Monastery, Lacquerware Industry and In-wa Bridge spanning the Ayeyarwaddy River.
Once an ancient capital, Sagaing lies 21 km south west of Mandalay, beside the Ayeyarwaddy River. The Sagaing Hills are dotted with pagodas and there are over 500 monasteries, a retreat for some 6000 monks and nuns. Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda, Kaung Hmudaw Pagoda (a copy of the Mahaceti Pagoda in Sri Lanka, and Ywahtaung village (home of the silversmiths' guilds) are places worth visiting.
Mingun, located about 11 km upriver from Mandalay on the western banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River, is a town well-known for its 90 ton Mingun Bell, the largest ringing bell in the world; a mammoth unfinished Mingun Pagoda; Settawya Pagoda, and Hsinbyume Pagoda.
Mingun Photo Gallery
Over 1000 metres above sea-level, Pyin-Oo-Lwin is a popular hill-station about 69 km away from Mandalay. It is well known for its colonial-style houses with large compound and pine trees, eucalyptus and silver-oak abound in town. Delightfully cool and pleasant the whole year round, the 175 hectare Botanical Garden, Pwe Kauk and Ani-sakan Waterfalls, Goteik Viaduct and Peik Chin Myaung Caves are places of interest.
About 136 km to the west of Mandalay is Mon Ywa, the commercial centre of Chindwin Valley. Sites to see in Mon Ywa are Than-bok-de Pagoda with over 500,000 Buddha Images, Bodhi-ta- htaung (one thousand Bo trees), Ledi Kyaungteik monastery where Buddhist scriptures are inscribed on 806 stone slabs and Kyauka Village known for its own style of lacquerware.
Mogok (Ruby Land)
Mogok, known as Gems City, is some 115 km northeast of Mandalay. Myanmar rubies, sapphires and emeralds and other precious stones are mined in Mogok area. Only packaged tours are allowed to visit Mogok with special prior permission.
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