The former capital of Mandalay is the third largest city in Myanmar, after Yangon and Nya Pyi Taw, and has a rich heritage and culture. Traces of the beauty of ancient royal palaces can still be seen and is a main attraction for tourists. Be amazed by the beauty of the golden Mandalay Palace and its intricate hardwood carvings.
Mandalay is also a trading center for the North and a hub to connect to Myanmar’s important tourist attractions such as the Inle Lake of the Shan State; Pyin Oo Lwin, the colonial city in the hills; or the ancient kingdom of Bagan. Here are Thai Smile’s top ten recommended tourist attractions to visit when you are in Mandalay.
1. Mandalay Palace
Mandalay Palace is situated at the foot of the Mandalay Hill and is one of the most beautiful teakwood palaces. The palace is actually a replica of the World War II-era palace that was destroyed.
2. Mandalay Hill
Mandalay Hill is a mountain in the center of Mandalay with a height of 236 meters. The foot of the hill is the location of two large lion statues and the road leading to the mountaintop is filled with places of worship. On the top is an important Buddhist religious site for Buddhists in Myanmar. This is also the place to take in the view of Mandalay, spanning as far as the Irrawaddy River, the Royal Palace, and the Kuthodaw Pagoda.
3. Mahamuni Paya
Mahamuni Temple is considered the heart of Mandalay and houses the “Mahamuni Buddha Statue,” one of the five most sacred religious relics of Myanmar. The Buddha statue is considered Mandalay’s main religious relic.
4. Shwenandaw Kyaung
Shwenandaw Monastery is made of golden teak and boasts a magnificent architecture and intricate carvings. King Thibaw Min dismantled and relocated the golden teak from the former palace to build the monastery, which used experienced craftsmen whose skills modern-day artisans can’t rival. The monastery is one of the oldest in Mandalay and was fortunately not destroyed by the bombings during World War II.
5. Kuthodaw Paya
Kuthodaw Pagoda was built to commemorate the fourth revision of the Tipitaka, which was inscribed on 729 marble slabs, making it the world’s largest Tipitaka. This is also the first time in history that the Tipitaka is inscribed in Pali. The marble slabs were placed around the 30-meter tall Mahalawka Marazein Pagoda, a golden pagoda that was replicated from the Shwezigon Pagoda in Bagan.
6. Kusinara Pagoda
Kusinara Pagoda is located at the foot of the entrance to Mandalay Hill. The architecture is a white colonial style and beneath the white cave-like arch lies a Buddha statue in the lying posture that is centuries old. The statue is adorned with gold carvings of the sala flower and mythical creatures.
7. Shew In Bin Monastery
The Shew In Bin Monastery was constructed in 1892 in the modern style by a wealthy Chinese jade merchant. The grounds of the monastery are serene and you’ll get to view intricate wood carvings, as well as wooden door arches that is a symbol of the monastery.
8. Kyauktawgyi Temple
The Kyauktawgyi Temple is located at the foot of the Mandalay Hill and houses a Buddha statue that used to be the largest Buddha statue in Myanmar. This Buddha statue is made of white marble and it has been said that the face of the statue resembles King Thibaw Min, who commissioned the statue.
9. Mingun Temple
A distance from the walls of Mandalay lies traces of the greatness of the kingdom of Mingun on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. The reddish brown Mingun Temple, or the pyramid of Myanmar, resembles a huge hill. King Bodawpaya intended for this pagoda to become larger than the pagodas in Bagan as a symbol of his growing power. However, seven years into the construction, the King passed away so the pagoda was left unfinished at a height of 50 meters.
10. U Bein Bridge
U Bein Bridge is the world’s longest teakwood bridge and is located in near the old capital of Amarapura. The bridge is two kilometers long and was built from the teakwood that was dissembled from the former royal palace in Inwa. The bridge is over 200 years old.