View of Mandalay from the top of Mandalay Hill, Myanmar
Holidays to Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Many have heard of Mandalay, even if they’ve never been. It’s the name of Rudyard Kipling’s evocative poem and was popularised further by the likes of George Orwell and Frank Sinatra. The word itself often brings up memories of Asia of old, but Mandalay is actually a fairly new and fast-developing city. But while it might have the hustle and bustle of a big city, you won’t find it pickled with western chains as of yet.
Despite its busyness, it’s worth pausing to spend a few days in the city as its riverside setting, shaded pagodas and rich cultural scene make it the perfect introduction to Myanmar. For memorable views over the super flat city, climb Mandalay Hill and mix with tourists and locals doing just the same thing. Time it right and catch the sun set over the city for the best view.
The city makes for a great base to explore former Burmese capitals. Check out Inwa, once the ancient imperial capital and now a quiet backwater town accessible by horse and cart. It’s definitely worth visiting Amarapura too, which is home to the impressive U-Bein Bridge - the longest and oldest teakwood bridge in the wold. The last royal capital of Burma, Mandalay has some fascinating attractions to explore. The only surviving original building from Mandalay’s royal palace is Shwenandaw Monastery - sometimes called the Golden Palace Monastery. It’s made from teak which makes an interesting change from the ubiquitous gold pagodas of Myanmar. If you’re not pagoda-d out, be sure to stop by Kuthodaw Pagoda, which contains the world's biggest book. No it’s not some super-sized leather bound book, but instead boasts 729 standing inscribed stone pages (just imagine writing that out).
Take time to admire the local arts and crafts scene and for an immersive experience sign up to a local workshop, which range from wood carving to gold leaf bashing. In the evening catch a local comedy show. Watch out for The Moustache Brothers, a comedic trio who rose to fame in the 90s when their political satire landed them jail time.
Mandalay trip ideas
Here are some trip ideas that include Mandalay. All of our trip ideas shown below are examples, and we’ll amend, adapt or start from scratch, until we’ve created the perfect trip for you.