Experiences in Mandalay

Mandalay is the economic centre of Upper Burma and considered the centre of Burmese culture. A continuing influx of Chinese immigrants, mostly from Yunnan, in the past twenty years, has reshaped the city’s ethnic makeup and increased commerce with China. Despite Naypyidaw’s recent rise, Mandalay remains Upper Burma’s main commercial, educational and health center.

Mahamuni Pagoda

Here within the old metal roofed shed you will find one of the larges reclining Buddha images in all of Southeast Asia. This temple is a must see while touring around Yangon, and it is just a short distance from Shwedagon pagoda. You’re sure to be impressed by its massiveness. If you are into fortune telling then you have come to the right spot. There are quite a few astrological and palm readers within the temple. If you’re impressed by this Buddha and would like to see one a bit bigger we suggest a day trip to Bago. (see day trips around Yangon)

Kuthodaw Pagoda

Dubbed as the largest book in the world this astonishing complex is filled with nearly 800 individual pagodas, each enshrining a page of the Buddhist cannon. As you wander through this vast complex of white stupas lined as though they never end, you get a feel of how important Buddhist religion is to for the people. Also in the complex are a few Buddha images, but the most impressive to see are the hundreds of pagodas shaded by lush green trees. It is said that it would take over 450 days to read each page at the rate of 8 hours a day. This just puts this marvelous complex into perspective for you.

Mandalay Palace and Fort

Mandalay palaceWhile roaming the city of Mandalay you may have noticed the giant 26 foot high wall that is nearly 2 miles long. Complete with a moat and 4 entrances is the palace compound. Within these walls lies the rebuild Mandalay Palace. The original was destroyed in WWII, but the site has been rebuilt to give you a representation of how the last two kings lived. Once inside you will see multiple rebuilt buildings that give a good illustration of how the compound was laid out. There is also a 7 tiered central palace where the kings used to live. For an excellent view you can climb the 110ft spiral watchtower and gaze out over this sprawling palace. Among the palace buildings there is a cultural museum that will give you some history of what this site was originally, and it will provide some insight on the previous kings and cabinet members.

Mandalay Hill

Don’t be fooled by this impressive hill, it is a lot bigger than it looks. At about 760 feet the hill towers over the flat city of Mandalay. To get to the top you will wind up the small road that leads to the entrance of the hill. From here you can take a set of escalators to the top. From the peak of the hill you can get a panoramic view of the city as well as the river and the Shan hills. The views from up top cannot be had anywhere else in the city, and you can easily consume an hour or so just gazing out into the open land. The Ayerwaddy river runs along side the city and you can see the how important the river is to this wonderful city.

Amarapura

amarapuraAmarapura situated about 11 km south of Mandalay, Amarapura is one of the capitals of the third Myanmar Empire. A 1,208-metre long wooden bridge built totally with teak planks two centuries ago by Alderman U Pein, is the longest wooden bridge in Myanmar. It spans Taungthaman Lake, situated near Amarapura, with its farther end at Kyauktawgyi Pagoda. Bagaya Monastery and silk-weaving industries are other places of interest to visit.

Sagaing

Sagaing is the capital of Sagaing Division in Myanmar. It is located on the Ayeyarwady River, 20 km to the southwest of Mandalay on the opposite bank of the river.
Sagaing is a religious and monastic center, with numerous Buddhist monasteries. It briefly regained is position as a royal capital of Burma from 1760-1764.
The British-built a 16 span Innwa Bridge connects Sagaing with Mandalay, crossing the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River. It was built in 1934.

Mingun

amarapuraMingun is located about 11 km upriver from Mandalay, on the west bank of the Ayeyawaddy River, Mingun has a gigantic unfinished pagoda, 50 meters high, overlooking the river, and the 90-ton Mingun Bell, the largest ringing bell in the world cast in 1170 by King Bodawpaya. A 45-minute boat trip to Mingun is very pleasant with plenty of life on the river to see

Inwa

Innwa, is one of the memoriable cities as well as Royal capital city. The name of the palace is  Yadanapura meaning treasures land. It is built by King Tadominphya in 726 AD and it is located at the confluence of Ayeyarwaddy river and Myitnge river and 11 miles from Mandalay.

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