By Jenna Jolie
Things to do in Mandalay Myanmar: Mandalay is Myanmar's enchanting cultural center and a city that beautifully intertwines ancient history with modern development. This is the country's second-largest city, established in 1857, holding a significant place in Myanmar's rich tapestry of heritage.
Mandalay is situated on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwady River and derives its name from the majestic Mandalay Hill, which has inspired literary works like Rudyard Kipling's poem 'Mandalay,' or the renowned song 'On the Road to Mandalay' by Oley Speaks. The city today is a testament to Myanmar's cultural and religious prominence, boasting astonishing masonry and architectural marvels. Beyond its role as a commercial, educational, and healthcare hub of Burma, the city is recognized as the fifth on the ASEAN Smart Cities Network list.
Let Myanmar Immigration Services take you to Mandalay, where numerous exciting activities await you. From our list of the best things to do in Mandalay, we hope your journey to this stunning city is more enjoyable.
Things To Do In Mandalay: Explore, Enjoy, And Embrace Mandalay
Visit the Kuthodaw Pagoda
The Kuthodaw Pagoda in Myanmar is located close to the iconic Mandalay Hill and is inspired by the temples of Bagan. It is one of the most famous pagodas in Myanmar and a must-visit place in Burma. This religious site contains the world's largest book, which is comprised of 729 stone tablets (inscribed with Buddhist scriptures).
Each shrine showcases a marble slab, standing at an impressive 153cm tall and 107cm wide, meticulously etched with the sacred texts of Tripitaka, including the Sutta Pitaka, Vinaya Pitaka, and Abhidhamma Pitaka on both sides. At the heart of the compound, an awe-inspiring golden stupa towers with a height of 72 meters, casting a resplendent glow over the surroundings.
The Kuthodaw Pagoda was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013, further solidifying its place as a must-visit destination for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in Myanmar's rich heritage. It's worth immersing yourself in the tranquil ambiance as you stroll around and contemplate the magnificence of the Kuthodaw Pagoda.
The Kuthodaw Pagoda in Myanmar is worth a visit
Take A Tour on Zegyo Market
It's highly advised to begin your Mandalay adventure by visiting the vibrant atmosphere of Zegyo Market, also known as Zay Cho Market, Ze Cho Market, or Zo Cho Market. No matter how you spell it, the name itself, which translates to "sweet price," reflects the allure of this bustling marketplace.
So, what is Zeguo Market famous for? From the outside, Zegyo Market may appear as a simple tower block, but step inside, you'll discover a wide of flavors and colors. The market's bustling energy and friendly interactions with the vendors provide a fascinating glimpse into everyday life in Mandalay. Beyond its cultural significance, Zegyo Market offers an excellent opportunity to find unique souvenirs and gifts at favorable prices. Without a doubt, visiting Zegyo Market is worth being your interesting thing to do in Mandalay.
Admire the mesmerizing sunset at U Bein Bridge
Among the top things to do in Mandalay, Myanmar, one that cannot be missed is chasing the mesmerizing sunset at U Bein Bridge. This iconic bridge spans across the serene Taungthaman Lake, near the city of Amarapura, just a short distance from Mandalay in Myanmar. As the longest teakwood bridge in the world, stretching approximately 1.2 kilometers, U Bein Bridge is a favorite spot for both tourists and locals to witness the magical scenery when dusk is falling down.
For the best experience, securing a reservation in advance with one of the local boats that ply the river is advisable. Because this is a popular tourist attraction, it's unlikely to have available boats to be occupied. However, don't fret if there are no boats to hire. Seek out fellow visitors who have already secured a boat and consider sharing the experience.
If you're seeking an even more romantic touch, hire a smaller boat offering refreshments and light bites to indulge in the stunning setting as you sip your favorite drink. As the sun begins its descent, the boats assemble in front of the bridge, forming a beautiful chain-like structure, eagerly awaiting the golden hues that will paint the sky during sunset. The sunset at U Bein Bridge is an experience that will forever be etched in your memory as one of the highlights of your visit to Mandalay.
Admiring the mesmerizing sunset at U Bein Bridge is a must-have experience in Mandalay
Indulge in the magnificent Mandalay Palace
A visit to Mandalay Palace is an absolute must when exploring the city of Mandalay in Myanmar. It offers a window through Myanmar's traditional culture, traditional attire, traditional construction techniques, ancient architectural designs, and the captivating stories of Myanmar's ancient kings and queens. This majestic structure, also known as the Great Golden Royal Palace, is an iconic presence and historical importance of the country, making it a famous landmark for tourists.
The palace, formally named Mya Nan San Kyaw, is surrounded by four immense walls, each stretching 2 kilometers in length, with a total of 48 turrets. There are 12 gates surrounding Mandalay Palace, symbolizing 12 months per year, and 4 bridges representing 4/5 weeks per month. A captivating 60-meter-wide moat gracefully encircles the citadel, adding to its allure and creating a serene atmosphere. As stepping inside the palace, tourists will be mesmerized by a vast complex with audience halls, throne halls, a monastery, a watchtower, a court building, and a tooth relic building. Each corner of the palace offers a glimpse into the rich heritage and royal legacy of Myanmar.
Mandalay Palace was constructed in 1859 and used to be the residence of the esteemed monarch's King Mindon and King Thibaw. However, it fell under their occupation by the British during their colonial rule. Following Myanmar's independence, the government transformed the palace into a cherished heritage site, preserving its historical significance for future generations to appreciate.
Climb Mandalay Hill
If you visit Mandalay, Myanmar, and gaze towards the northeast horizon, you'll be captivated by the sight of a hill adorned with golden pagoda peaks, emerging proudly from the lush green canopy of trees. This is Mandalay Hill, a gorgeous place that is worth visiting on your Mandalay trip.
It is not obvious that tourists often add this 240m high hill to their travel bucket list. The majestic spectacle from the summit of the hill captivates the travelers' hearts at first sight. The Ayeyarwady River meanders gracefully in the distance while the surrounding hills create a mesmerizing backdrop that shimmers on the horizon. As evening descends, the setting sun paints the sky with hues of orange, casting a serene ambiance over the landscape.
To reach the top, you have two options: embark on a barefoot climb of approximately 40-50 minutes using one of the four stairways, or opt for a taxi ride that will take you directly to the lift, effortlessly transporting you to the Sutaungpyei Pagoda and its splendid viewpoint. However, climbing Mandalay Hill is recommended because this is a rewarding experience that connects you with the spirituality and natural beauty of the surroundings. As you make your way up the hill, you'll encounter a plethora of pagodas and monasteries, each adding to the spiritual allure of the journey. The invigorating walk to the summit allows you to relish the refreshing breeze against your face and discover hidden Buddhist monuments that can only be encountered on foot.
Mandalay Hill is among the top things to do in Mandalay
Helpful Tips To Enhance Your Experience In Mandalay
Where to stay in Mandalay, Myanmar
As the second largest city in Myanmar, with easy access to other must-visit destinations such as Bagan and Inle Lake, finding a place to stay in Mandalay is effortless. Here are a few suggestions for top hotels in Mandalay that you might consider for your stay.
If you're seeking boutique accommodations in Mandalay, Rupar Mandalar Resort and Hotel by Red Canal are excellent choices. For those seeking a touch of luxury, Pullman Mandalay Mingalar Hotel, Hilton Hotel Mandalay, Mercure Mandalay Hill Resort, and Ritz Grand Hotel Mandalay offer opulent experiences. A more moderate to middle-ranged option is also available, and you can choose Eastern Palace Hotel, Hotel Apex, and Hotel Yadanarbon, which provide comfortable and affordable stays.
Best time to visit Mandalay
The most ideal time to explore the enchanting city of Mandalay is between the months of October and January. During this period, the weather is pleasantly mild, and the humidity is manageable, allowing visitors to enjoy their time exploring the city's rich cultural heritage. However, it's worth noting that as late February approaches, the city slowly transitions into summer, from March to May is the hottest month.
What to eat
Not only being famous for numerous famous sites to visit, Mandalay is also a paradise for foodies where they can taste many types of unique food. Here are some must-try dishes on your Mandalay trip:
Getting around Mandalay
The most convenient mode of transportation to get around Mandalay is by taxi. While official taxis are limited, you can easily spot private taxis near hotels and guest houses. These black-numbered private cars are distinct from the red-numbered taxis. Private taxis can be hired for a full day, half day, hourly, or depending on your trip's duration. It is advisable to plan your itinerary in advance and hire a taxi for the entire day to ensure seamless travel.
Trishaws are also a popular choice in Mandalay. They provide a unique cultural experience and allow you to take great photos of the daily life of local people.
Another option is riding a bicycle, which allows you to soak in the city's sights, sounds, and vibrant atmosphere. Whether you prefer the convenience of a taxi, the authenticity of a trishaw, or the freedom of a bicycle, multiple options are available for getting around Mandalay.
Essential Documents To Prepare Before the trip
It is crucial to obtain a visa and a valid passport before embarking on a journey to Myanmar. As an essential requirement, a visa ensures hassle-free entry into the country and allows travelers to fully enjoy their trip. Fortunately, the process of getting a visa to Myanmar has become easier thanks to the Myanmar e-visa. Applying for a Myanmar visa online takes approximately fifteen minutes, and applicants can expect to receive their travel documents within a maximum of 03 business days.
By securing a visa beforehand, travelers can confidently explore the rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant local communities that Myanmar has to offer, knowing that all necessary documentation is in place.
And now, let’s get ready for a Mandalay trip and prepare for the most fulfilling moments in this fascinating land!