Mandalay may be noisy and often congested, but it is always underestimated by visitors.
Once you get exploring this charming, lively city, you’ll soon see that Mandalay has so many exciting sites to discover. Downtown is easily walk-able and the city is bursting with bustling side streets, exciting culinary treats, busy tea-houses and ancient temples.
Mandalay is not only an irresistibly buzzing city; it also serves as the perfect hub for unmissable experience in the country’s surrounding regions.
There’s certainly no lack of inner-city charm and Burmese style sites to explore, but one thing that makes Mandalay an unmissable stop on your Myanmar adventure is its exciting surrounding regions and unrivaled adventures. Mandalay makes the ideal place to stay, sleep, dine and explore whilst still enjoying the endless opportunities to relish unforgettable adventures outside of the city.
11 kilometres up the Ayeyarwady River from Mandalay lays Mingun, home to what should have been the largest temple in the world. Accessible by boat, car or motorcycle, the journey to Mingun is simply spectacular. This quaint riverside village would perhaps be lesser known today if it weren’t for the construction of Mingun Paya that started back in 1790. Legend has it, the temple was not completed due to a claim by an astrologer that King Bodawpaya would die upon its completion. With this in mind, the King ordered for a giant bell to be erected instead. Today, the site of Mingun Paya, with its giant foundations and half-built appearance remains utterly impressive and the Mingun Bell has successfully proclaimed itself as the world’s heaviest ringing bell several times over the years.
20 kilometres outside of Mandalay is one of Myanmar’s most sacred ancient capitals. Lovingly referred to by locals as the ‘Kingdom of Ava’, since 1364, Inwa has been named the royal capital on 4 separate occasions. The perfect place to escape the bustle of Mandalay city, today Inwa offers visitors a relaxed and charming atmosphere dotted with ancient, crumbling ruins of stupas, pagodas and temples, top place to explore.
The proclaimed cultural capital of Myanmar, Mandalay lays at the foot of the stunningly infamous Mandalay Hill. Studded with glorious ancient pagodas, today the hill overlooks a bustling commercial hub and acts as the perfect gateway for many adventures. Founded in 1857 by King Mindon, sadly the region was heavily bombed during World War II, meaning the surprisingly youthful city has undergone a lot of reconstruction over the years. Nevertheless, the city is easily explored by bicycle and holds plenty of sites of cultural interest including Mandalay Palace and Mahamuni Paya as well as being home to a thriving local teahouse scene.