Overview

Mandalay, a city in north-central Myanmar, is the second-largest city in the country. The city is located on the Irrawaddy River and is the center of regional communications and trade and transportation routes. King Mindon built Mandalay in 1857-59 to replace Amarapura as his capital. The past name of the city was Ratanapunja, and the present name is based on the 236meter high Mandalay Hill, which is one of the major tourist destinations of the city. This last capital of the Myanmar kingdom fell to the British in November of 1885AD. During the WWII, Japanese occupied this city and was almost destroyed with the most significant damage during a 12day siege in March 1945, when the British Fourteenth Army commanded by General Sir William Slim retook it. The principal inhabitants of Mandalay follow Buddhist, which represents "the indestructible heart of Myanmar." As it is the significant Buddhist religious center, a large number of monks live here. The major highlights of the city include the remains of the royal palace (Nanda), numerous temples and monasteries, the moated citadel of Fort Dufferin, and the old British Government House. Mandalay Hill also has some relatively recent monasteries, pagodas, and monuments. The base of the hill contains 730 pagodas, or Kuthodaw ("Works of Royal Merit"), authorized by King Mindon as a result of the Fifth Buddhist Council. The city's renowned Zegyo Bazaar is the largest market of Myanmar and attracts thousands of artisans and farmers from all over the country. Shwe Kyimyint is also one of the significant pagodas of the region, built by King Minshinsaw in 1167. Major industries of the area are silk weaving, tea packing brewing, and jade cutting, distilling, brass and copper casting, and gold-leaf work. The city's inhabitants also produce some of the best wood carvings, goldware, and silverware in the country. The nearby towns; Ava, Amarapura, and Sagaing, are suburbs of Mandalay. Bamboo forests, Myitnge river, and Magi River surrounds the city. Just north of Mandalay, there is a small village called Mingun that contains the largest uncracked bell in the world, Mingun Bell. Mingun also includes an impressive 50meter brick structure Swhich was intended to be a 150meter temple.

During the Konbaung Dynasty, the city of Mandala served as proof of the splendor of the Golden Age in Burma. The town and the Royal Palace got destroyed during World War II; however, they were soon reconstructed and now is the cultural center of Myanmar and also home to many Buddhist monasteries and superb examples of Myanmar's architecture.

Join us on the trip to Mandalay on this adventurous day, south of the river full of golden pagodas and ancient cities, designed to show you the finest of Mandalay region. Accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide, you will visit many must-see sights of the area, interact with people along the way, and witness best spots with picturesque vistas and fascinating Burmese history.

Trip highlights

What's included?

  • English speaking guide
  • A private vehicle
  • Lunch

What's excluded?

  • Breakfast and Dinner

Itinerary Show all

Day One:

Mandalay

We begin our Mandalay sightseeing tour by driving southwest(20km) of the city to reach Sagaing, the pagoda nirvana. A crest of green hills studded with white and gold pagodas marks the 'skyline' of Saigang, a significant religious center and houses dozens of monasteries and hundreds of monks and resembles Bagan with elevation. Pagoda towers scatter throughout the gorgeous scenery, making it a picture-perfect landscape. There is no particular pagoda that stands out from others, but when seen together, the whole scene is captivating. Today, we will visit the university of Sitagu, where you can learn more about Buddhism and their pursuit of enlightenment, followed by a trip to the Myasetkyar monastery, which is popular for its gigantic standing Buddha statue. Here, we will observe lunchtime rituals and a parade of monks. Then, we hop on the public ferry and then to a horsecart and head to Inwa, the ancient capital of Myanmar on the other side of the Irrawaddy River. Touring Inwa feels like you are taking a fascinating trip back in time. The city contains lots of old watchtowers, city walls, monasteries, and temples that feel a world away from the hustle and bustle of Mandalay. You might get hungry by this time, so we will stop for some local dishes like mohinga (rice noodle and fish soup) and laphet thonhk (pickled tea leaf salad) at a riverside restaurant.

Iowa is rich in history as it was the capital of Myanmar. Here, you can see some spectacular monasteries and pagodas such as the Yadana Hsimi Pagodas, a little rundown roofless collection of several stupas and three Buddhas. Much of the former royal city is now dominated by mother nature, so we will also be walking through lush fields of banana trees rice fields while touring around crumbling architectural gems. Finally, we will visit Amarapura Swhich is another ancient capital renowned for its silk and cotton weaving industry. Here, we will tour one of the gorgeous sites of Myanmar, the U Bein Bridge. This impressive teak structure is the longest teakwood bridge in the world, with a length of about 2kilometers. The bridge is a perfect spot to get some mesmerizing view of the sunset in the afternoon. You will also see lots of monks using this bridge to cross Lake Taungthaman. This bridge is very popular even among locals; you will see locals gathering to enjoy the serenity and beauty of the bridge in the late afternoon. To get the best pictures, get off the bridge in the middle, and stand in the fields to capture the bridge's silhouette against the fiery, orange-red sky. For a small fee, local fishers will gladly take you on the Taungthaman Lake by boat.

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