Palace Wall MandalayMandalay, the present day second Capital of Myanmar is located in the upper Myanmar about 688 Km due north of Yangon. Its' previous official name was Yadanabon, meaning the city of gems. It was the last Capital of Myanmar Kingdom and occupied by the British in 1885. This enchanting city is full of regal identity, famous pagodas, religious edifices. It can also said that Mandalay is the center of Myanmar Culture, and it will give all people of arts and crafts lovers such as wood carving, stone carvings, Bronze casting, gold beating, and gold embroidery or Kalakar making.
Mandalay (Yadanabon), the last capital of the Myanmar Kingdom, is in Central Myanmar, 688km due north of Yangon. It is the largest city after Yangon and is the place where one will come closest to real Myanmar. The Royal City came into being only in 1859 when " King Mindon" established it as new center for the teaching of Buddhism. The King also made Mandalay his capital, moving it from nearby Amarapura to the newly built Royal Palace at the foot of the Mandalay Hill.
Being rich in monasteries and pagodas, it is still accepted as the arts and cultural heart-land of Myanmar. For lovers of arts and crafts, Mandalay offers the largest repository of Myanmar arts and crafts. Skilled crafts men make world famous genie tapestry called Shwe Chi Htoe (Gold thread Weaving), beautiful articles of ivory, wood, and stone, silver-ware and bronze statues according to the time-honored traditions of their fore-fathers.
It takes about one hour and thirty minutes by air from Yangon. There are daily flights during the tourist season from October to May. The new International Airport project of Mandalay is completed at present and under operation in the early of late 2000. Express trains are running which take about 16 hours. Yangon- Mandalay highway is over 700 km and overland travelers are advised to break journey at Taungoo (280 km) or at Meiktila (540 km) where there are hotels for overnight stay. The government and private express buses are also running everyday. Visitors are advised to check with tourist Information Services for flight train schedules.
According to the legend, the Lord Buddhist visited to the top of the Hill and directed his hand to a spot prophesying his disciple that the famous pious king would found the Royal City and the King Mindon had to built the present day remain Place on the said spot. Mandalay Hill, 230 meters in elevation, commands a magnificent view of the city and surrounding countryside.
Entrance Fee -US$ 4 (pay in kyats at current exchange rate)
The fire destroyed the whole magnificent palace complex during the World War ll. However, the finely built palace walls, the city gays with their crowning wooden pavilions and the surrounding moat still present an impressive scene of the Mandalay Palace. Mya-nan-san-kyaw Golden Palace, the model of the Mandalay Palace, Nanmyint-saung, Cultural Museum and Pyi-gyi-mon Floating Restaurant in the moat is located inside the Palace grounds.
Entrance Fee - US$ 5 (pay in kyats at current exchange rate) (Palace)
Entrance Fee - US$ 3 (pay in kyats at current exchange rate) (Museum)
The only remaining apartment of Mandalay Palace in which the royal founder of Palace died after a prolonged illness. Famous for its intricate wood-carvings, this monastery is a fragile reminder of the old Mandalay Palace. Actually, it was built inside Mandalay Palace but King Thibaw moved it and turned into monastery in 1880.
Entrance Fee -US$ 3 (pay in kyats at current exchange rate)
Revered as the holiest pagoda in Mandalay, it was built by King Bodawpaya in 1784. This pagoda enshrines the famous Maha-muni Buddha Image brought from Rakhing State. The early morning ritual ceremony of washing the Face of Buddha Image draws a large crowed of devotees everyday.
Entrance -US$ 4 (pay in kyats at current exchange rate)
It is known as Mahaatula Marrazein, meaning the royal bounty built by King Mindon in 1857. This pagoda is surrounded by 792 upright stone slabs on which are inscribed the entire Buddhist Scriptures known as Buddhist Canon. It is popularly known as " the Worlds Biggest Book" for its stone scriptures.
Entrance - US$ 2 (pay in kyats at current exchange rate)
Situated about 11 km south of Mandalay, Amarapura (the city of immortal) is an ancient capital of the Konbaung Dynasty. Patodawgyi Pagoda, U Pein Bridge ( 1208 meter ) built by Mayor U Pein with teak planks two centuries ago and silk weaving industries are places of interest to visit.
A historical capital founded by King Thado Minbya in 1364. There is Maha Aungmye Bonzan monastery built by the wife of king Mindon, is a fine example of Myanmar masonry and arts and architecture.
Mingon, the small village is situated about 11 km upriver from Mandalay on the western bank of the Ayeyarwady river. Mingun is noted for its huge unfinished pagoda and 90-ton bell, the largest ringing bell in the world. A 45 minute boat trip to Mingun is very pleasant with plenty of life on the river to see.
Entrance -US$ 3 (pay in kyats at current exchange rate)
Sagaing BridgeSagaing lies 21 km south-west of Mandalay on the west bank of the Ayeyarwady River. It is also an ancient capital of 'Sagaing Dynasty'. Sagaing Hills are known as a religious retreat where over 400 monasteries for monks and nuns are located at the foot of the hills who are dedicated for Buddhist studies and meditation. The hills is dotted with Pagodas and Temples that attracts the strangers to be visited. About 10 km from Sagaing is the Kaung-hmu-daw, an enormous dome-shaped pagoda, built by King Thalun in 1636 based on the model of the Maha-ceti Pagoda of Sri Lanka. There is also a village called Ywahtaung that well famous for its silver-smiths.
Kaung-hmu-daw & other Pagodas Entrance Fee -US$ 3 (pay in kyats at current exchange rate)
Bodhi Tahtaung MonywaAbout 136 km to the west of Mandalay is Monywa, the commercial center of Chindwin Valley. Places of interest are Than-boke-de pagoda adorned with over 500,000 Buddha images; Bidhi-tahtaung (one thousand Bo trees), Alantaya Buddha Reclining Image; Ledi Kyaungtaik, a teaching monastery where Buddhist Scriptures are inscribed on 806 stone slabs; and Kyaukka village, known for its own distinctive kind of lacquer-ware making.
Over 1,100 meters in elevation, Pyinoolwin is located 69 km to the east of Mandalay. It enjoys cool and pleasant weather the whole year round. Places to visit includes Pwe-kauk waterfall Botanical Garden ( 142- hectare), the Chinese temple, Peik- chin-myaung cave and the local market where the hill-tribals are flocking there. Pyin-Oo-Lwin is the most favorite and ideal place for visitors during the summer to escape from the heat.