Being the second biggest city of Myanmar with many beautiful temples, Mandalay should not be missed in your list of must-see destinations. Here below are some tips to plan the most interesting schedule for your trip to Mandalay Myanmar.
When is the best time to visit Mandalay Myanmar?
Mandalay is located in the center of Myanmar featuring a tropical dry, hot and wet climate. The weather is divided into 3 seasons: dry season, hot season and rainy season.
The dry season is from November to February, enjoys cool temperatures with little rain. Thus, it is a peak tourist season as the weather is wonderful to visit. When planning traveling during this time, you should book hotel and other services in advance as all the hotels are busy during this period and can be fully booked very easily.
The hottest months are March and April. The weather is extremely hot and there is less rainfall. It is advised that you should not go out from midday till 4 pm. My recommendation is that you should book a nice hotel with good facilities to enjoy your time at the hotel. When going out, remember to protect yourself with sunglasses, a sun hat, long-sleeved shirts, and sun cream.
The rainy season is from May to October and your travel plan could be affected by heavy rain. If you plan to travel in the rainy season, be expected to change your itinerary anytime because of flight cancellation or delays. Also, you should be more careful with the mosquitoes and try not to expose your skin.
How long you should spend in Mandalay?
In general, three nights with two full days is fairly enough to discover highlights of Mandalay. Still, depending on your time limit, you could either spend either one day to explore the main spot or four or five days to deeply learn the culture of the area.
Top things to do in Mandalay
U Bein Bridge
U Bein Bridge connecting two banks of Taungthaman River is one of the must-visit spots in Mandalay. The bridge is 1.2 km long and has been built for nearly 200 years. Being constructed by 984 teak posts that were once part of the deserted Inwa Palace, U Bein Bridge is considered as the world’s longest teak span.
Walking across the bridge and watching the most beautiful sunset is one of the activities you shouldn’t miss. Be expected to have many people coming there on the sunset time so you will need to share the spot with other people. If you want to have more space, renting a local boat to capture a fabulous view of U Bein Bridge is an amazing experience.
Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery
Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery is an amazing unique structure with large oval windows standing on stilts. In contrary to most of the other temples which are decorated ornately, this temple was built with teak wood, carved in intricate patterns. Travelers should not miss the chance to visit this small but elegant Monastery.
The opening time for tourists is from 8 am to 6 pm. Remember to take off your shoes when coming inside, dress appropriately, lower your voice especially when the novices are reading Budha’s litanies.
It’s worth taking the time to wander around this beautiful structure as there are so many types of intricate woodwork to look at both inside and out. The ceiling on the inside is gilded and the lighting is perfect for photography. The teakwood carvings are very impressive and beautiful. Just enjoy the art.
Located in the north of the city, Mandalay is a 235 meter-high mountain which offers a great view over the entire city and surrounding area. It is a long way up but you can take many nice pictures of the landscape, Budha Statue, and shops on the way there.
If you are too tired to walk up, you can get a taxi or ride a scooter to the summit.
(View at Mandalay Hill – Source: Internet)
Kuthodaw Pagoda – one of the most popular Mandalay pagodas
Nestled at the foot of Mandalay Hill, the Kuthodaw Pagoda is figuratively called the world’s largest book. The pagoda got its name “the world largest book” because there are 729 smaller white marble slabs that 2 sides were inscribed with Burmese scripts. These texts reflect Buddhist doctrine and if they were printed on paper, the texts would fill more than 15,000 pages.
Being located on the Ayeyarwady River and covered with 600 white-painted pagodas and monasteries, Sagaing Hill is widely regarded as the religious center of Myanmar. The complex is home to 3,000 monks and 100 meditation centers. As there are many small pagodas to see, my recommendation is Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin and U Min Thone Sae. After visiting the pagoda, take a stroll along Sagaing’s local market, a typical Burmese market to witness people’s daily life.
Inwa (aka Ava)
Inwa used to be the capital of Burmese kingdoms lasting for more than 400 years. There are not much remains, only a few ruins surrounded by fields and meadows. There are many ways to reach the area, in which taking a local boat or renting a horse draw is an interesting way to try and explore the countryside areas. In Inwa, you can visit Bagayakyang – a wonderful teak monastery; Maha Aungmye Bonzan monastery built of stucco-covered brick, royal monastery temple; and Nanmyin – a leaning watchtower of Ava.
Migun is a beautiful ancient village on the side of the Irrawaddy River. The best way to get there is getting a private local boat for the one-hour cruise. Upon visiting the main sites of Migun with the famous Mingun Pahtodawqyi, the beautiful white Hsinbyume Pagoda whose distinctive style is meant to resemble the mythical Mount Meru. Then, see the Mingun Bell which weighs 90 tons and is considered the world’s largest uncracked ringing bell.
Where to stay in Mandalay?
The best location to stay in Mandalay is in Central Mandalay where you will have easier access to restaurants, convenience stores, clinics, ATMs, and other facilities. Still, hotels in Mandalay will not be walkable distance to most of the highlights of the town, booking a private trip to reach different spots is highly recommended.
It is obvious that, based on your travel budget, you can pick the most suitable hotel. You can expect to pay around US$ 20 – US$ 30 for a comfortable guesthouse. However, with a hotel from 3 star standards, the rate is normally quite expensive. A nice superior hotel (for example Bagan King) can reach around US$ 100/night. The rate can fluctuate depending on your travel period – low and high season. Recommendation for 4-star hotel is Triumph Hotel and luxury 5-star hotel is Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel.
Suggested Myanmar tours including Mandalay
I hope the above information about Mandalay Myanmar will be useful for you to plan your Myanmar travel!
Have a lovely holiday!
Van Do – Travel Specialist