Mandalay in Mynamar is one city worth visiting from November till February, which is their dry season with little rainfall and relatively cooler temperatures, or March through May during the summer. We suggest avoiding Mandalay from June to August which is their rainy season.
We have rounded up the top five must-sees in Mandalay, a city in Myanmar.
1. Visit Mingun
Plan a relaxing half-day trip to Mingun, a small town northwest of Mandalay that is easily accessible by ferry. Take in the sight of the unfinished monument of Mingun Pahtodawgyi – construction of the stupa began in 1790 and would have reached 150 metres in height if the project hadn’t been abandoned upon alleged royal decree. Around the corner from the ruins is the massive Mingun Bell, which was originally cast for the monumental stupa and is the second largest bell in the world. Finally, no trip is complete until you visit the striking Hsinbyume Pagoda.
2. Climb Mandalay Hill
For the best panoramic views of Mandalay – Myanmar’s last royal capital – head to Mandalay Hill. It might take about half-an-hour on foot to get to the top or hire a car to drive you as far up as the foot of the Su Taung Pyai Pagoda. As with any religious site in Myanmar, you’ll need to remove your shoes and socks before entering, so you’ll have to climb the rest of the way barefoot. However, there is an escalator and lift access to the pagoda, and the view at the top makes any small discomfort getting there worth it. It’s also a great spot to catch the sunset!
3. Visit Kuthodaw Pagoda
Kuthodaw Pagoda is a Buddhist stupa located at the foot of Mandalay Hill. In the grounds of the pagoda, there are 729 stone-inscription caves, each containing a marble slab inscribed on both sides with a page of text from the Tripitaka, thus making it the world’s largest book.
4. Take a Walk Along U Bein Bridge
The iconic bridge is one of the world’s oldest and longest bridge made of teakwood, and it’s a great place to catch the sunset. But if you’d rather beat the tourist crowds, go early in the morning for the sunrise instead. Get a glimpse of the locals going about their daily lives – Buddhist monks and nuns passing through, a street dog trotting by, brisk walkers and the occasional jogger. Another advantage of visiting in the early morning, it’s usually cooler and more comfortable. You can also enjoy a boat ride along the Taungthaman Lake or stroll through a sunflower garden.
5. Visit Sagaing Hill
Located on the Irrawaddy River, just further down from Mingun, Sagaing Hill is home to some of the most beautiful Buddhist monasteries and pagodas. One of the distinctive ones is the photogenic U Min Thonze Pagoda, also known as the Thirty Caves Pagoda, which comprises 45 Buddha statues sitting in a crescent-shaped colonnade, partly built into the side of the Sagaing Hill.