Established in 1857, Mandalay is the 2nd largest city of Myanmar. On the old days, its official name was Yadanabon (“City of Gem”), then changed after the nearby 236-metre high Mandalay Hill. The city was recognized as the as proof of the splendor of the Burmese Golden Age. Nowadays, it becomes a center of economy as well as culture in upper of the country. Among the highlights of Myanmar (beside Yangon, Bagan and Inle Lake), you cannot miss Mandalay in the traveling list.
The Hill is a must-see place of Mandalay. Standing high at 230 meters, this landmark always welcome the huge numbers of visitors for the stunning views of the city and the surrounding countryside in sunrise or sunset.
The legend said that the Lord Buddha has passed by the hill and prophesied a great city would be established at its foot.
Situated in the middle to the north of downtown, the Palace complex looks impressive from the outside. Unfortunately, Mandalay Palace was devastated by bombing in the 2nd World War. Soon, the sites was restored: a model of the Mandalay Palace, Nanmyint-saung and Mandalay Cultural Museum were built inside the grounds. It is the place you can find the scale of King Mindon. The finely built palace walls, the city gates with their crowning wooden pavilions and the surrounding moat…still represent the remarkable scene of a royal palace.
Amarapura (which means “City of Immortality) is a former capital in the township of Mandalay. It was appointed as the capital of Myanmar twice during the Konbaung period (1783–1821 and 1842–1859).
If you’ve never experienced a Buddhist monastery, Mahaganthayon monastery in Amarapura is a suggestion. Every day at around 10AM, people come here to witness the monks queuing up to have their lunch (their last meal on the day). Be patient with this slow moving Buddhist mealtime ritual, and you’ll learn a lot about the culture.
Nearby is the great serenity of U Bein Bridge. Constructed in 1849, it is believed to be the longest (1.2-kilometre) and the oldest teakwood bridge in the world
Mingun can be reached by both car and boat, approximately 1-hour from Mandalay. Its main attraction is the ruined Mingun Pahtodawgyi. The site was meant to be the largest stupa in the world, however, it was not completed, due to an astrologer claiming that, once the temple was finished, the king would die. Besides, Mingun Bell is one of the world’s largest ringing bells dated A.D 2000. The weight of the bell is 55,555 viss (90 tons) and about 13 feet tall.
Lying 21km south west of the Ayeyarwad River on the opposite site, Sagaing was once the royal capital of Sagaing region. The Sagaing hills are dotted with hundreds of white and gold pagodas and over 500 monasteries. It seems a best place to learn the rich history and the religious development in Mandalay.