Mandalay


Built by the popular King Mindon, Mandalay was the last royal capital of Myanmar, until the British completed their colonisation of the country in 1886. No thanks to neglect and a combination of Japanese and allied bombing, in 1942, the city that had taken a thousand years to build was destroyed within hours. The royal palace, which was moved from the former capital of Amarapura back in 1857, was also burnt to the ground. All that survived was the royal mint, the watchtower and the four 2km long palace walls. Whilst a replica now stands in place, one can only imagine what the grounds and interior of the original palace would have looked like if it still stood today.

Almost as though it has risen from the ashes, Mandalay exists today as a young, lively and vibrant city, famous for its culture, education and arts. This helps to explain the large number of workshops, ranging from gold leaf making to marble and woodcarving. The city is also home to some of the country’s most lively and colourful markets. Mandalay’s gem market for example, is the largest of its kind in the country and a great way to witness the experienced buyers and sellers do what they do best. Then there is the Thaye Zay Station Bazaar, a local market with a difference. The open-air market spans both sides of a railway track, springing to life in the morning when vendors arrive with close to one hundred pop-up stalls. This business is purely temporary however, seeing as the vendors are frequently required to remove their stock to make way for passing trains.

Mandalay is also an extremely important religious centre, with more Buddhist monasteries than anywhere in the country. One of the most impressive however is the miraculously preserved Shwenandaw Kyaung, or Golden Palace Monastery, originally built as the private residence for King Mindon. Shortly after King Mindon’s passing, his son Thibaw often used the building for meditation purposes, but he soon became convinced that it was haunted by his father’s spirit. As a result, Kind Thibaw ordered the building to be dismantled and relocated to an area outside of the palace grounds. If it were not for this superstition, the country would have lost this awe-inspiring piece of architecture long ago.

Nearby, located at the foot of Mandalay Hill, the largest book ever written can be found in the grounds of Kuthodaw Pagoda. King Mindon ordered 729 marble slabs to be inscribed in gold with the entire Buddhist text of the Tripitaka, a remarkable testament to the popular king’s devotion to the religion. However, after the annexation of Mandalay by the British in 1885, it was decided that their troops would be stationed in the city’s monasteries, temples and pagodas. During this short period of time, many of the rare treasures that adorned Kuthodaw Pagoda were looted, including the gold from the inscribed marble pages. In 1982, a long and expensive restoration process started, but it was decided the slabs would be re-inked in shellac. Even though it was not possible to restore the complex to its former glory, there is no denying the magnificence of this complex.

Another worthwhile religious site is the magnificent Mahamuni Pagoda, where a 4 metre tall, 6-tonne bronze Buddha sits proudly enshrined. As a result of many years worth of dedicated worship, the originally bronze figure has now been covered in so much gold that it has lost its original proportion. Another highlight of this impressive temple complex are the worn bronze statues from Cambodia’s ancient Angkor Wat temple, believed by locals to possess magical healing powers.

Best Short Day Tours

1
Day
DISCOVERY MANDALAY AND MINGUN (FULL DAY)
Today starts the hike to the 240-M viewpoint on Mandalay Hill, where you can take advantage of sweeping views, while your tour guide introduces you to the city’s history and. Then ...
1
Day
FULLDAY AMARAPURA AND MANDALAY
Spend a full day exploring Amarapura and Mandalay with an expert guide leading the way and telling you interesting facts about the many sights along the way. See astounding pagodas...
1
Day
FULLDAY ART & CRAFT TOUR
Mandalay is a great choice for visitors to take day trips visiting beautiful landscape and exploring local lifestyle. With Art and Craft Tour, you will able to experience of a vari...
1
Day
HALFDAY MANDALAY HILL AND ENVIRONS
Mandalay was the royal capital of Myanmar and it is still the heart of Burmese culture today. Start walking to the top of Mandalay Hill, which rises 240 meters above the city. Enjo...
1
Day
LOCAL COLOR TOUR (Half day)
As you travel from Mandalay along the Irrawaddy River, you will experience the picturesque scenery of this river and the lifestyles of the local people who live and work on these w...
1
Day
MAHAMUNI PAGODA AND HANDY CRAFT TOUR (HALF DAYS)
Beginning with mysterious "Maha Muni Buddha", the most revered Buddha image in Myanmar. Being the most holy pilgrimage site, a rite of visiting pilgrims is to apply gold leaf to th...
1
Day
MANDALAY WALKING TOUR
We'll first visit to Mandalay Hill, 240m above the city, to enjoy magnificent views of the city and Irrawaddy River. Continue to Kuthodaw Pagoda, whose 729 marble slabs of Buddhist...
1
Day
MINGUN, SAGAING DAY TOUR (FULL DAY)
Visit Sagaing Hill where over 600 monasteries for monks and nuns are located for Buddhist studies and meditation. Thirty caves pagoda has many Buddha, Ywahtaung Village where you c...
1
Day
MONYWA PRIVATE DAY RETURN TOUR
First stop is Thanboddhay Pagoda covered with 500,000 Buddhas, then Boditahtaung Pagoda, the largest reclining Buddha in Myanmar(100m long). Nearby is the largest standing Buddha i...
1
Day
PALEIK AND KYAUK SE DISCOVERY (NEW) (FULL DAY)
Visit the snake pagoda, where giant live Burmese Pythons curl up around the base and next to the Buddha statues. Locals believe the snakes protect Buddha. After sightseeing in Pale...
1
Day
ROYAL CAPITALS (AMARAPURA, AVA and SAGAING)
Just few kilometers from Mandalay, Amarapura, Ava and Sagaing is common day trip attractions to explore the nature and history of Mandalay region. By including these attractions in...
1
Day
TAKING PART IN ALMS CEREMONY
Mandalay to Amarapura day tour, This trip Mandalay allow you to explore Amarapura, you will have chance to see the Mahagandayon Monastery - one of the biggest and most important m...
1
Day
THONEZEPAY COOKING CLASS & MINGUN SIGHTSEEING
Join this tour , if you are tried of many touristy areas in Myanmar.The village , called Thonezepay village is very peaceful place where you could learn a lot about culture , tradi...

Popular tours

7
Day
7 Days Highlight of Myanmar tour
See the best of Myanmar. This short but insightful holiday covers a lot of ground, starting from the vibrant city of Yangon and traveling onwards to the temple-filled plains of Bag...
Price USD $811
1
Day
DISCOVERY MANDALAY AND MINGUN (FULL DAY)
Today starts the hike to the 240-M viewpoint on Mandalay Hill, where you can take advantage of sweeping views, while your tour guide introduces you to the city’s history and. Then ...
1
Day
FULLDAY AMARAPURA AND MANDALAY
Spend a full day exploring Amarapura and Mandalay with an expert guide leading the way and telling you interesting facts about the many sights along the way. See astounding pagodas...
1
Day
FULLDAY ART & CRAFT TOUR
Mandalay is a great choice for visitors to take day trips visiting beautiful landscape and exploring local lifestyle. With Art and Craft Tour, you will able to experience of a vari...
1
Day
HALFDAY MANDALAY HILL AND ENVIRONS
Mandalay was the royal capital of Myanmar and it is still the heart of Burmese culture today. Start walking to the top of Mandalay Hill, which rises 240 meters above the city. Enjo...