Burma's old capital, Mandalay, a
large, leafy and pleasant city, with some great sights
and a seething multitude of bikes and trikes.
Myanmar Pictures | Myanmar Map | Mandalay Poem | Mandalay Travel
Mandalay was the last great capital of Burma, is now Burma's second city and at the core
of their culture and religion. It's
a city of over one million people, but leafy, flat and a haven for winging
flocks of bicycles - and just like birds, none have lights!
There's no shortage of things to see and do in the city, and getting
to them in the comfort of a trishaw is one
of a tourist's special pleasures, though a lot of the place is quite modern.
A tricycle taxi at the east entrance to Mandalay Fort/Palace, with Mandalay Hill in the distance.
Take trishaws to explore the inner city. This can be exhilarating
or terrifying depending on your disposition, since they cross busy
main roads without stopping, and hurtle along unlit streets disregarding
pot holes and each other.
Locals love to see you enjoying trishaws and may wave and shout
hellos, not to mention that your money will NOT be going towards supporting the military junta.
Cycling is another good option, with rentals available.
For longer travels taxis can be hired but it can be difficult to negotiate a decent price.
Those waiting near hotels are naturally more expensive than ones
cruising, but more likely to speak English.
Pickup trucks cruise around picking up folk just like buses and at a good price.
Sunset over Mandalay seen from Mandalay Hill.
The 240 metre (760ft) high Mandalay Hill is in the northeast of Mandalay. It's an easy climb of half-hour with stops at small nats shrines, pagodas and a standing Buddha.
The main gate is guarded by two giant carved lion statues. After the climb to the top of the mountain stands the Sutaungpyei Pagoda. The viewpoint there offers a full panorama of the city and the Mandalay plain stretching to the horizon, with the old city walls and moat, various stupas, the Kuthodaw Pagoda (see below), Kyautawgyi and Sandamuni Pagodas and the Irrawaddy to the west.
The interior of the Shwenandaw monastery is quite disappointing, very dark, simple and austere compared to the beautiful decoration on the outside.
The whole exterior of the building is carved, the balustrades, walls and the roof cornices. A very delicate work and free to enter, though some of the carvings are in terrible condition.
Kuthodaw Pagoda, the Book Temple, with 729 satellite stupas each housing a page inscribed in stone. Yes, it's the world's biggest book, but unreadable to most.
Beating gold to make gold leaf. Mandalay also offers fine marble carvings and other terrific souvenirs.
There are also enjoyable day trips possible from Mandalay to the ancient royal cities of Amarapura, Inwa,
Sagain and Mingun; these will need either one more wheel
or a rudder.
Mandalay Port on the Irrawaddy River (or Ayeyarwady River), starting point for a half-day trip to Mingun. Next, Mandalay short trip pictures.
Travel | Politics | Myanmar
Map | Burma Weather
Burma Pictures: Bagan | Lake Inle | People | Yangon | Golden Rock