Best Things to do in Mandalay
Mandalay is the former capital of Myanmar, and probably your entry port to the country (if you choose to fly to Myanmar you can chose Mandalay or Yangon as your point of entry). In the past just a normal city, now is becoming a top tourist destination.
The city of Mandalay is full of beautiful pagodas, several monasteries, friendly locals and delicious food. This makes Mandalay a perfect 2 days stopover, part of your Myanmar itinerary.
Here is my list of things to do in Mandalay!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. The income goes to keep this site updated and free for everyone! Rest assured, these are products and services that I love and use all the time.
Getting To/Around Mandalay
Mandalay was my starting point for my trip in Myanmar. The airport is quite easy to get around and there are quite a lot of flights available. From the airport, you can take a fixed price taxis that goes to the city (12000 kyats for a private taxi or 4000 kyats for a shared taxi). The ride takes around 45 minutes. In Mandalay you can rent a motorbike or rent a tuk-tuk for the day and travel hassle free. They are quite cheap and you find them at every corner of the street. You can also book a private tour to take you around the main sites.
You will need a ticket to entry most of the attractions. Mandalay Archaeological Ticket is valid for 7 days and costs 10000 kyats (7$). This will get you inside:
- The Royal Palace
- Shwenandaw Monastery
- Atu Mashi Monastery
- all the attractions in Innwa
- The Mandalay Cultural Museum
You will have to pay an additional 5000 kyats for Mingun and 1000 kyats for Mandalay Hill.
Mingun is located 11 kilometers up the river from Mandalay. You will have to take a hour-long boat (5000 kyats) or drive around in order to get here. The ferry leaves from Myan Gyan Jetty at 9am and the return boat leaves Mingun at 11am. Once you are out of the boat, negotiate with a tuk-tuk to drive you around for a few hours.
The pagoda is famous for its cracks made by an earthquake. Mingun Pagoda is still unfinished due to a prediction that the king will die if this will ever be finished. If they would have finished it, it would have been the largest stupa in the world. It is a beautiful spot to visit, as it looks quite spectacular from outside. Take some time to walk around it and escape all the people that stay only at the entrance of it.
While the Mingun Pagoda is the most famous attraction, Hsinbyume Pagoda is the most photogenic one! This is a gorgeous white temple, within walking distance of Mingun Pagoda. You can walk up the stairs and explore every level of it. Definitely a must see attraction while in Mandalay.
Here you will find the world’s largest book. The “book” is consistent of 729 stone plates engraved with writings from the Tripitaka (the Buddhist Holy book). Each stone has it’s own little pagoda and measures one meter wide and two meters tall. The size of this place is amazing and such a beautiful place to see, as every pagoda is white and all of them are organized in several rows. Not only it has the largest book in the world, but it also makes the be place for a photo shoot.
Although it looks like a very modest monastery at first sight, once you get closer you observe the intricate carvings that will make you in awe of the teak wood architecture. Make sure to visit it as it is within distance from the Royal Palace.
You cannot miss this one, as it sits in the center of the city. Mandalay Palace was mostly destroyed during the World War II. The palace still looks amazing as restorations were made in 1990. Make sure to visit the watch tower and climb all the way to the top and take in the beautiful view over the entire palace. It’s an interesting place to looks around, but other then the watch tower there isn’t that much to see.
Mandalay Hill will offer you a great view of the city. At least that’s what I read! As we lost one of our flights and the journey to get here got a little bit longer, we didn’t get a chance to visit this attraction. Once we reached Mandalay, we went to our hotel and decided to sleep for a few hours and visit Mandalay Hill for sunset. Needless to say that we overslept and completely missed this place. To get to the top, you can choose the stairs which will take you around 45 minutes, or take a taxi to the top and then the elevator.
I left this one for the end as we decided to skip this on purpose and catch a bus to Bagan. I still included it on my list because everybody is says that it’s a beautiful place for sunrise. The first day we missed the sunrise as we arrived in the afternoon, the next day was pouring and on the third day we took the bus towards Bagan.
Read More: 4 Days in Bagan
Ready to book your hotels, flights or tours? Check out these services that we used on this trip and made our life so much easier!
- Skyscanner to find the best flights for you
- 12go is taking care of any bus tickets you will need
- Booking.com for your best hotel deals in Mandalay
- Get Your Guide has you covered with the most entertaining tours
Mandalay is a very interesting city and well worth a visit! With so many points of interest and beautiful attractions your visit will be quite amazing. As I didn’t get a chance to visit Mandalay Hill and U-Bein Bridge please let me know in the comments your opinion about them!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. The income goes to keep this site updated and free for everyone! Rest assured, these are products and services that I love and use all the time.