Mandalay is the second largest city, the last royal capital of Myanmar and also the centre of Burmese culture. Situated about 600 kilometers north of Yangon, Mandalay is a popular destination with its ancient historical sites and some most amazing places surrounding it. It is believed that Mandalay gives the travelers a wide range of opportunities for exploration to gaze with many worth seeing sights and also enjoy the relaxed atmosphere here.
Mandalay at a Glance
Mandalay is known as a capital with many temples, monasteries and markets, as well as great street food and comprehensive views. Until now, there are a half of Burma’s monks reside in Mandalay and the surrounding areas. Mandalay is in the central dry zone, it receives far less rain than the more tropical south. Coming to this city, the travelers can enjoy a semi-tropical climate atmosphere and also experience some marvellous sites here.
Things to See and Do in Mandalay
Mandalay is an ideal place for visiting some supernatural power religious sites as Shwenandaw Kyaung Monastery, a totally preserved monastery made in teak wood. It is the only place built from the original wooden royal palace that could survive during World War II. Therefore, this great historical heritage becomes the only real part of the royal palace which can still be recognized today.
The travelers can also take a leisurely walk to Mandalay Hill which is located to the north of Mandalay Palace and visible from most of the city. Mandalay Hill with its stunning 360 degree views of the whole city is particularly beautiful at sunset, with the fading rays glinting off the gold and green of the Sutaungpyei Pagoda which is located at the summit.
Another unique journey is taken from Palace Museum which owns historical and memorable things as religious paraphernalia, court ritual implements, court dresses and uniforms, furniture, as well as palanquins and litters, all in their typical intricate Myanmar design and execution. The local people also keep and maintain many photos about these precious things. It is suitable to visit Palace Museum in the late afternoons, when the gold roofs are reflected by the warm sunlight with a beautiful and warm glowing effect.
In addition, the tourists can experience King Galon Gold Factory to see the precision of gold architecture art and the gold making procedure. They also discover some sculpture workshop, jade markets, traditional dance shows and enjoy street foods as soups, curries, stir-fry, etc. to widen their knowledge of Burmese life.
Last but not least, attending some festivals as Kyauktawgyi Pagoda Festival, Taungbyone Nat Festival (Taungbyone villages), Chinlone Festival (Mahamuni Temple), etc. is a meaningful moment for the visitors to understand more about Burmese’s cultures.
How to Get to Mandalay
The travelers can be calm because there are several trains from Yangon to Mandalay everyday and it takes about 15 hours for a trip. In the past, the inspector only accepted USD currency and the foreigners were content with higher fee for trip. However, until now, the foreign travelers can pay ticket in local currency and are also charged the same rate as Burmese.
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Besides, the visitors can choose other option to go from Yangon is a night bus with 5 departure time as 5:00 pm, 6:00 pm, 7:00 pm, 9:00 pm and 9:30 pm. It takes approximately 8,5 to 9 hours driving to Mandalay.
Bagan has comfortable bus systems to go to Mandalay. There are two choices for the tourists to consider: mini buses and big buses. Each mini bus turn is usually available every hour from the beginning of the morning till the latest turn is around 5:30 pm. It usually takes 5 to 6 hours driving to Mandalay by mini buses. In addition, the visitors can spend shorter time as using big buses; they can get these buses at 9:00 am, 2:00 pm and 9:30 pm in a day.
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From Inle Lake, Kalaw or Mid-Eastern Towns
There are available buses along this route, the tourists can take a day minibus at 5:00 am with 7 hour driving or a night bus with air-conditioner at 6:00 pm. The minibus in the day takes a slightly shorter and more comfortable trip than the full-sized night bus.
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