The Best Things to See and Do in Mandalay
With more and more people venturing towards the rugged and untamed shores of Myanmar, the busy town of Mandalay is slowly becoming a big tourist destination. From colorful walks around the moat, visits to various monasteries and pagodas, and of course, the endless string of teashops, there is so much more to this unassuming town. To help you discover and make the most out of your time in Myanmar, here’s our list of the best things to do in Mandalay that you shouldn’t miss.
U Pein Bridge at Sunrise
Coming in at a whopping 1.2 kilometers in length, the U Pein Bridge is estimated to be the longest teakwood bridge in the world. This historic, architectural structure is best seen at sunrise or sunset which is why visitors should rise early to get the best views. It was built in 1850 and is utilized by both locals and tourists alike. Burmese people exercise on this wooden relic while fishermen spot the surface of the surrounding waterway, casting their nets into the still water throughout the day.
A Half-Day Trip to Mingun
Visitors will kill a few birds with one stone on a half-day visit to Mingun. Many will opt to head for the Mingun pier and catch the hour-long ferry ride in order to arrive at this riverside village on the Ayeyarwady River. Make your way past the taxi drivers and merchants, and find a number of unique pagodas and historic relics. The three main things visitors will want to see include the Mingun Pagoda, Mingun Bell, and the Hsinbyume Pagoda.
Kuthodaw Pagoda is home to the world’s largest book which is actually made up of 729 standing stone “pages” with individual stupas known as a kyauk-sa gu. They span across the vast pagoda grounds in long organized rows to spectacular effect and are well worth a visit. Filled with sacred teachings representing 15 books of Buddha’s teachings, every page of the book is about a meter wide and two meters tall. It’s worth wandering around before you descend up Mandalay Hill.
While most of Mandalay is flat, this hill offers a stunning elevated view of pretty much everything around you. For those that opt to scale up this hill, you will be rewarded with a bird’s eye view of the city walls, the surrounding moat, and various temples and pagodas with Irrawaddy River gleaming from afar. If walking up the long staircase isn’t your thing, you can also opt to take a taxi and an elevator to enjoy these view. Mandalay Hill is located outside the downtown area and is a 10-minute drive from the main city.
See How Gold Leaf is Made
There are many ancient pagodas and temples made up of gold leaves in Myanmar. Some of these workshops can be found around the city of Mandalay, and making this material is no easy task. One place where visitors can see these gold leaves being made is at the Gold Leaf Workshop Showroom.