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Mandalay lies on the east bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River (Irrawaddy River), in the upper part of Myanmar. Mandalay accommodates the Royal Palace of the last Konbaung Dynasty. The city has inherited many cultural from the ancient Myanmar kingdom. Second largest town in Myanmar, Mandalay is protected by the marvellous eponymous hill, founded in 1857 by King Mindon as his royal capital. Head to the top of Mandalay Hill for an epic panoramic view of the site, especially for sunset. You can climb the stairs to the top or have a taxi bring you to Sutaungpyei Pagoda.
The beautiful scene of the whole city can be seen from the hill: the Royal Palace, Sanda Muni and the Shwenandaw Monastery lie, prestigious and proud, at your feet. Restaurants offering Burmese, Chinese, Indian and European food are available. Coffee shops and snacks bars are mostly located in Mandalay.
If you can shut out all the honking, Mandalay has its own charm: splendid markets, many monasteries, Indian temples, mosques, gold workshops and a bustling, working riverside to explore, as well as a thriving tea house culture that offers visitors the chance to mingle with the exceptionally friendly locals.
Most of the tourists don’t realize the dozens of things to do in Mandalay; and yet, they should spend at least 2 nights in the city. The U Bein Bridge is the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world, built in 1849. The bridge is 1.2 km / 0.75 miles long and used by the local people to cross Taungthaman Lake and visited by masses of tourists in the early morning. The temple is also famous for the cracks running through it caused by an earthquake in 1839. The Mingun temple was never completed due to an astrologer claiming that if the temple was entirely built, the king would die.
The Mingun Bell weighs 90 tons and is 13 feet tall. Until the year 2000, it was the world’s largest ringing bell but has been eclipsed by a Chinese recent construction. It’s worth a quick stop to jump out and give it a ring.