Sights to see in Mandalay
Shwenandaw Monastery (Shwenandaw Kyaung)- perfectly preserved monastery, which was originally the royal apartment in which King Mindon died, and was sited within the palace walls. It was moved to its current location (on the corner of 14th and 62nd streets) by Mindon’s son, Thibaw – the last king of Burma – and converted into a monastery. Made entirely out of teak, it is adorned with beautifully intricate carvings. $10 Mandalay zone ticket is required for entry.
Mandalay Palace and Fort - this site was once an amazing set of sophisticated carved wooden buildings but most of it were destroyed because of the bombings of WWII. Its giant walls are 26 foot high and almost 2 miles long. It is complete with a moat and 4 entrances to the palace compound. The only building that survived the attacks of WWII is the Golden Palace Monastery. There is also a 7 tiered central palace where the kings used to live. It provides an excellent view of the Mandalay Palace at the top of the 110ft spiral watchtower. Some of the dresses of the ancient kings, queens, princes, princesses and other ministers are displayed. Entrance is through the east gate; $10 Mandalay zone ticket is required.
Mahamuni Temple- One of Myanmar’s most important religious sites, the Mahamuni temple often throngs with pilgrims, and is set in a large religious complex that is most famous for its seated Buddha, which stands at 3.8 metres tall and has been adorned with so much gold that its body is now a mass of golden blobs. The one part that is still clear is its beaming face, which is washed by monks, and has its teeth cleaned, in a ceremony every morning (at 4am or 4.30am). A number of festivals are held here throughout the year.
Kyauktawgyi Buddha Temple-the name of the temple means “Marble Image of the Great Temple”. It is also called Maha Thetkya Marazain Temple. The images are carved from a single block of marble large. It took three years from 1863 to 1865. Temple is located at the foot Kyauktawgyi of Mandalay Hill. Temple is a replica of Ananda temple at Pagan in external form. It is famous for its 8 m, 900 tones Buddha placed in the center. The statue was carved from a large marble and 10,000 people took 13 days to transport the stone from the Irrawaddy River. The Paya Kyauktawgyi Festival, which is one of the biggest and most festivals respected in Myanmar, is usually held here for seven days in October, attracting a large number of visitors every year.
Shwe Kyi Myin Paya in Mandalay- Located in the heart of Mandalay, this impressive structure was built by Prince Min Shin Saw of Bagan in the 1st century AD. The pagoda's style is unique and it has never been renovated, meaning the pagoda's appearance today is just as it was when it was originally completed. There are a number of images here that were made from precious metals recovered from ruined temples in the Mandalay area.
Kuthodaw Pagoda- built in 1857, under the rule of the emperor King Mingun, this is a complex of 729 temples or shrines called kyauksa gu. Inside each of them is a stone plaque scriptures record on both sides. Each white marble has a width of 1 meter and is 1.5 meters high. Kuthodaw temple is also known as the world’s largest book. The entire process of carving started on May 14, 1860 and completed on April 5, 1868, with the total number of “pages” being 1,458 stones. Locals say that if read for 8 hours a day, it would take 450 days to read and understand the entire book.
Maha Aung Mye Bonzan Monastery- also known as Oak-Kyaung Me Nu (Abbey Brick), it was built in 1822 by Nanmadaw Me Nu. This monastery is one of the best specimens of architecture during Konbaung Myanmar (19th century). Its structure is the simulation of the wooden monastery with roofs and a prayer room of the seven-storey superstructure. An aisle inside the building led through the monastery. Inside there is a statue of Buddha.
Kandawgyi National Gardens- located in the Alpine town about 1.5 km south of Pyin Oo Lwin. It was first founded by Alex Roger, a forest research officer, with the aid of Lady Cuffe, the botanist, in 1915. It was modeled after the Kew Gardens of England. The original area of the Botanical Garden was 170 acres of land and 70 acres of water totaling 240 acres. The government declared it as a state-recognized garden in 1917. In 1924, the site was declared as a Government Forest Reserve. In 2000, the garden was upgraded to be a recreation garden and renamed into "Kandawgyi National Gardens". The Botanical Gardens has three museums- the Fossils Museum, the Petrified Wood Museum and the Butterfly Museum.
Mandalay Cultural Museum - located between the 80 and the 24 Road. The museum mainly displays articles and artifacts of the royal family and officials of the Burmese. Royal costumes and interiors are also shown as well as models of the minister of King Mindon. The Museum holds many precious objects of national and Myanmar Mandalay Region, such as a collection of antique musical instruments, dresses, the masterpieces of bronze statues, pottery, crafts of the ancient dynasties, especially during the reign of King Mingun.
Several old capitals such as Amapura, Sagaing, Ava, and Mingun are located here near Mandalay City.
Amarapura - This half-day-trip allows visitors to explore Amarapura, have a chance to see the famous Buddhist monastery of Mahagandayon, longest teak-wooden bridge in the world, 200 year old U Bein and the Bagaya Monastery, etc. The duration of the tour is 4 hours. The tour starts from a chosen hotel in Mandalay, followed by a 15 km drive to Amarapura from Mandalay. It ends at Bagaya Monastery, with a superb collection of Buddha statues.
Mingun - This 4-hour tour allows us to explore Mingun by a boat trip on Ayeyarwaddy River, visit the magnificent world largest bell weighing 90 tons, the white pagoda of Hsinbyume Paya and the unfinished Mingun Paya stupa.
Mandalay Excursions to Amarapura, Ava & Sagaing – this 10-hour tour allows us to discover the best sites of Mandalay including: the Ubein Bridge, Bagaya Monastery, boat trip to former Royal Capital of Inwa, horse -carriage experience, etc.
Excursion to Maymyo- the 8-hour tour starts at the appointed hotel in Mandalay, drives on a scenic road to the former British hill station of Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo), a delightful small town of colonial-style buildings, markets, and a botanical garden. After lunch at a local restaurant, the venture continues to the Peik Khyin Myaung Caves, caves almost as old as the land itself and proceeds to Pwe Kyauk Falls.