Top 3 famous Mandalay pagodas to see

Myanmar is known as “The Land of Pagodas” for owning numerous pagodas throughout the country. Although Bagan is famous for its heritage of thousand stupas, Yangon is favored as the capital city with a vast number of beautiful golden pagodas, Mandalay as the former capital is the religious heart of Myanmar with the largest number of pagodas, up to 600. But which ones are worth seeing? This handy post will help you decide the top 3 must-see Mandalay pagodas; thus, you may enjoy the most of the highlights there within limited time.

Mahamuni Pagoda

The Mahamuni Pagoda is considered the second most significant pagoda in the country behind the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon; due to the four-meter bronze Buddha statue enshrined inside the main temple. Many people believe that the Buddha himself resides in the statue and is still alive.


Mahamuni Pagoda
The bronze Budha image inside the Mahamuni Pagoda is coated with gold leaves

Therefore, to pay respect to the Budha, male devotees apply gold leaves onto the image over ages making it be covered with a thick 15 centimeter gold leave. Nowadays, the statute has changed the original shape and become much bigger than a century ago through the old photos.

How to get Mahamuni Pagoda

The Mahamuni Pagoda is located between the 82nd street and 84th street. In order to get there, you can choose to go by private taxi for US$4-5 or rickshaw for US$ 2-3 from the downtown Mandalay.


Mahamuni Pagoda
The Mahamuni Pagoda Complex

Opening time

It opens daily from 6 am to 8 pm. If you prefer to catch the best moments of sunset, it should be between 3 and 6 pm.

Entrance fee

It is US$4 or 6000 kyat per person.


Since the pagoda is the most highly revered Buddha image in the country, the temple grounds can get busy, especially on Buddhist holidays. Therefore, you should check the information before visiting; and you are recommended to get in the line as early as you can to buy an entrance ticket.

Click to see tour of Mandalay with a visit to Mahamuni Pagoda:

Kuthodaw Pagoda, the world’s largest book

The Kuthodaw Pagoda has been known as the world’s largest book. This large walled complex was built at the same time with the Royal Palace – one of the remnants of the ancient capital city Mandalay. Its central stupa is modeled after the famous pagoda named Shwezigon at Nyaung U near Bagan.


Kuthodaw Pagoda
Amazing view of Kuthodaw Pagoda surrounded by hundreds of stone stupas

For any concerns about the reason to call “the world’s largest book”, you may find an answer when entering the complex. It is because this golden temple is surrounded by 729 white stone stupas containing marble slabs that comprise this area a “really hard to read book”. Each of the stone “pages”of the huge book is a large marble tablet inscribed with text from the Tipitaka; which is some of the Buddhist scriptures that only monks can learn and read. In the past, the text was originally carved in gold but it has faded away due to weather and the invasion of the British. Nowadays, the writing are marked with black ink from the organic materials; and a few precious gems still exists over the time.  


Kuthodaw Pagoda
Some of the 729 stupas at the Kuthodaw Pagoda

How to get Kuthodaw Pagoda

The address is 62nd St Mandalay Myanmar (Burma). Moreover, Kuthodaw Pagoda is located at the foot of Mandalay Hill so you can combine this place in your day tour.

Opening time

It opens daily from 8 am to 04:30 pm.

Entrance fee

It is totally free. But kindly note that the camera use may need a small fee.

Click to see tour of Mandalay with a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda:

Sandamuni Pagoda

On your way to Mandalay hill, do not skip the Sandamuni pagoda located right to the west of Kuthodaw. The Sandamuni is also similar in structure; but surrounded by a forest of smaller, white stupas on the ground with the perfect view of the Mandalay Hill.


Sandamuni Pagoda
Rows of stupas at Sandamuni Pagoda

Sanda Muni Pagoda complex was built as a memorial to assassinated Crown Prince Kanaung in the 19th century.

Sandamuni Pagoda Highlights

  • Golden pagoda: The golden chedi is the most ancient structure on the grounds; constructed in 1874 under the instruction of King Mindon. The structure was just on the site of the King’s temporary Palace. Located on a base of three square tiers of diminishing size, the conical stupa is topped with a multi tiered hti, an ornamental spire.
  • Sandamuni is popularly known for 1774 shrines housing inscribed marble slabs. Each slab is inscribed with the teachings of the Buddha; consisting of Sutta Pitaka, Vinaya Pitaka and Abhidhamma Pitaka – the three baskets that make up the Tripitaka; as well as commentaries and sub commentaries.
  • Sandamani Buddha image: the pagoda is home to Burma’s largest iron Buddha image; which was cast in 1802 by King of the Konbaung dynasty named Bodawpaya. The Iron Buddha Sandamuni cast was originally constructed with nearly 41,000 pounds of iron and now covered with a layer of gold.


Sandamuni Pagoda
Golden Sandamuni Pagoda

How to get Sandamuni pagoda

As its location on the Mandalay Hill foot, so head to North East of the Royal Palace and take a several-minute walk from the Kuthodaw Pagoda

Opening time

The pagoda opens between 8 am and 8 pm, so arrange your time properly to visit the destination.

General tips to visit these most sacred Buddhist sites

  • Visitors should wear clothing that covers the knees so should avoid shorts or short skirts. Longyi – a Myanmar traditional costume is available to borrow at the entrances so you can easily get one before entering.
  • Shoulders should not be exposed so choose the suitable clothing or bring your own scarfs
  • You are required to remove your shoes/ footwear to go on bare feet inside the area and leave them at the entrance for a small fee.

Suggested Myanmar package tours for Mandalay pagodas

In conclusion, if Myanmar is on your list when planning to travel Indochina, Mandalay pagodas are must-see to fulfill your Myanmar toursMay the blog help your Mandalay discovery!


Linh Chu – Travel Specialist

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