Located between the vast Ayeryarwaddy River and Shan plateau, Mandalay has long been considered the centre of Burmese culture. A hub for trade, the streets of Mandalay are a constant flurry of merchants and bicycle riders.
A trip to Mandalay would not be complete of course without a visit to Mandalay Palace. An unmistakable sight, the palace is surrounded by a large moat, walled citadel and situated right in the middle of the city. Though partly destroyed by bombings in the Second World War and reconstructed, its imposing façade never fails to give visitors an idea of the majestic quality back in its heyday.
Also a must-visit on your itinerary is Mahamuni Paya, a temple which plays home to a 13-feet tall seated Buddha which is believed to be 2,000 years old. Over the years, devotees have applied votary gold leaves on the statue, leaving it with an astounding 6-inch layer of pure gold on its body!
And if you’re in the mood for some breathtaking scenery, get a bird’s eye view of Mandalay atop the magnificent Mandalay hill. Standing tall at 760 feet, the walk up its covered stairways may be a little challenging for some but the view awaiting you is definitely worth it. The trek to the summit should take you about 30 minutes, but we’d recommended stopping by the temples and intricate pagodas on your way up.
If you’re not too tired after that trek, then take a trip down to U Bein bridge where you’ll find the world’s longest teak footbridge. This surreal structure spans an impressive 1,300 yards across Taungthaman Lake. A great site for photography enthusiasts, this incredible sight is best visited at sunrise when monks and villagers commute across it, or around sunset – when the light is at its best.
After all the sightseeing, the perfect way to end your day in Mandalay is with some retail therapy at Zay Cho market. One of the newer markets in town, you’ll be able to find a variety of knick-knacks here including acheik (Mandalay silk), kadipar (velvet) slippers and yummy treats like hto moat (sticky cakes)!
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