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Mandalay Travel Guide

Mandalay has never failed any visitors on how amazing this city are. Not just being the economic center of Upper Burma and considered the center of Burmese culture, the fact that all masterpieces in Mandalay had suffered so much through war time and series of earthquakes but still remain, every single part of those remain constructions just makes us wow.

Hot Air Balloon In Mandalay

Hot Air Balloon In Mandalay

Mandalay actual name was Yadanabon before it was found and set up as the new royal capital city by King Midon in 1857. The name “Mandalay” was named after Mandalay Hill since it was located at the foot of this hill. Mandalay was also the last royal capital city in Burma (Myanmar).

Main history event:
Mandalay has been still the Upper Burma's main commercial, educational and health center beyond the fast growth of Naypyidaw. In October 2018, Mandalay was ranked by CIO Asia as #5 among the top 10 cities in Southeast Asia in the process of becoming a smart city for ASEAN Smart Cities Network.

Main history attraction:

Pagoda in Mandalay

Pagoda in Mandalay

Mahamuni Pagoda: Mahamuni Pagoda is known for the gorgeous statue that covered with layers of overlapping gold leaves that reach up to 15 centimeters in thickness. Besides, Mahamuni Pagoda also focuses on a lot of specific yet amazing activities that may surprise you. For example, they use Neem trees brush to spread rituals for the statues and wipe perfume statues’ faces every morning. Tourists can also visit some other places in the temple complex which includes a Museum of Buddha's life together with many stalls selling incense, flowers, candles, etc. to serve visitors. There is also a small market where tourists can find the most beautiful Burmese puppets for souvenirs.

Myingyan: Myingyan is famous for the literally golden Mount Popa, which requires visitors to climb up to the peak of the mountain. But the most interesting part of this is that Mount Popa is considered as sacred place, so travelers must trigger for doing athlete activities on bare feet wearing appropriate clothes. So before joining this 777-step journey, treat yourself nicely with a lot of food and drinks, and be well-prepared with some extra chocolate bars with lots of water in your travel bag.

Bargaya Monastery: Also called as “Teak Monastery”, this is the oldest structure in Mandalay and also the least suffer after series of earthquakes. It is kept originally so you can have the full special nostalgic feels just by looking at the carving on wood. This place was built for the royals to educate their offspring, and the Burmese still keep that tradition today when they literally use this place to teach local kids.

Innwa: Innwa was used to be the capital city of Burma erratically 6 centuries, also the place that was originate set up the Buddhism spirits into Burmese until now. Those amazing edifices in Innwa were mostly collapsed, but it really worth to visit like Brick Monastery - a special well-preserved architecture in pale brownish yellow color constructed during the Konbaung dynasty. This one was stand out for its owner - Queen Me Nu. She built this as residence of the Royal Abbott. With all customary details on wood along with stuccoed sculptures, you would really amazed of how talented and meticulous Burmese were.

Culture (ethnicity, living custom, religious belief, special tradition festival etc.)

Monks in Mandalay

Monks in Mandalay

Mandalay is Burma's cultural and religious center of Buddhism, having numerous monasteries and more than 700 temples and pagodas. King Mandon had shaped and directed the styles of Mandalay Buddha statues along with Buddha images, and had filled Mandalay with them until Buddhist art became Myanmar’s pure art by using his devout Buddhism.

Weather

It would be great if you visit Mandalay during November - March since the weather is pretty dry and temperature is not yet on-and-off, perfect for any activities from climbing mountain to travel by boat across places. Mandalay fully features the weather of tropical wet and dry climate, so it is best time to travel Mandalay because the weather is not too hot and rain nearly don’t fall that much often.

Transportation

  • Private cabs: taxi is highly recommended for you because it is the fastest and most convenient way of moving.
  • Horse-carriage: It would be such a very extraordinary experience when you can slowly enjoy every single manmade masterpiece while riding a horse. It would give you the feeling of being royal, just like a king.
  • Walking: It is not really recommended to walk around and move between places in Mandalay because of the tropical heat and you would easily get tired before you can even enjoy gorgeous palaces in Mandalay. But it would be really friendly for sporty travelers who love to experience the locals’ lifestyle throughout the way.

TRAVEL TIPS

Mandalay Bay

Mandalay Bay

  • You have to buy a 10 US dollar ticket to have full access for a week to the Mandalay archeological zone including monasteries, Amarapura, Innwa, Sagaing as well as the Shwenandaw Golden Monastery and Atumashi Pagoda in Mandalay.
  • Mandalay is the city of sanctuary, remember to wear appropriate clothes before visiting any places. Shirts have to go with sleeves, and pants must go below knee line. You should beware of touching the fragile details since they are too delicate. Also, don’t forget to bring yourself a bottle of water to avoid dehydrated as well as prepare sandals or slip-on since you have to take off your shoes before get in any spiritual places.

Money (Currency exchange, where to change)
You can official bank and private licensed exchange booths at Mandalay airports, so there is no need to worry much. When exchange money, remember to get and count Burmese money Kyat before handout your money. It is preferred for you to always have cash in hand because there are not so many places have ATM or accept credit card payment. With cash, it would be a plus for you to easily enjoy the local Burmese’ life.

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