Glory of Myanmar! The second largest city established in 1857. It lies on the east bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River and in the upper part of Myanmar. As a proof of the splendid of the Golden Age, Mandalay serves as the cultural centre of Myanmar and is home to several Buddhist monasteries, some of which are impressive in their architectural style, construction and exquisite examples of Myanmar masonry as well. Mandalay is not only a city of temples and monasteries; it can also be considered as city of royalty. The other attractions in Mandalay are reminders of the time when Burmese kingdoms were still in existence. This is the city where the Royal Palace can be found, as well as other structures built by the kings. While the city is historically relevant, it remains fresh and contemporary with modern hotels and establishments. However, the best attraction in Mandalay is not made by man; Mandalay Hill, is currently one of the most popular tourist attraction of the city and is a must stop.
Attractive Destinations around Mandaly
Being 11km south of Mandalay, just half an hour drive by car from downtown, is Amarapura lies on the left bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River and is a suburb of Mandalay. Amarapura was the capital city of Myanmar during the Konbaung Dynasty and means city of Immortality. It is famous for the Silk Weaving Industry and production of Achiek Longyi. Most of the Myanmar people are very proud to attend the cultural ceremonies wearing these famous Achiek Longyi. Amarapura was a royal city with its beautiful temples and monasteries. Maha Gadayon Monastery, Bagaya Kyaung Monastery and U Bein's wooden bridge are the famous destinations for travelers.
After a one hour boat ride up river from Mandalay, you can reach Mingun along the boat trip to Mingun is pleasant with plenty of life on the river to see. It is famous for many Buddhist shrines, Monasteries, meditation centers, monuments of historical and cultural importance. Mingun Pahtodawgyi, the remains of a massive unfinished Buddhist stupa begun by King Bodawpaya in 1790 making the largest pile brick in the world. From the top of the Pagoda you can view the scene of Mingun and Ayeyarwaddy River. The next attraction is the Mingun Bell weighs 90 tons, and is today the largest ringing bell in the world. The weight of the bell in Burmese measurement, is 55,555 viss or peiktha (1 viss = 1.63 kg). Myatheindan Pagoda and home for the aged founded by Daw Oo Zun make a perfect visit to Mingun again.
Once an ancient capital, Sagaing lies 21km south west of the Ayeyarwaddy River. Sagaing is the largest division in Myanmar and the four main rivers flow through this division. Once you cross the Ava Bridge you will see the Sagaing Hills which are dotted with pagodas and there are over 500 monasteries, a retreat for some 6000 monks and nuns. The places of interest are Soon U Ponya Shin pagoda, Kaung Hmudaw pagoda, Ywahtaung Village, home of the silversmiths' guild and Sagaing market.
Ava located on an island between the Ayeyarwaddy and Myitnge River was founded as a capital by King Thado Minbya in 1364 CE. Ava lies south of Mandalay and can from there in only 30 minutes of drive be attained. The Maha Aung Mye Bonzan well known as Me Nu Oak-Kyaung (Brick Monastery) is one of the finest specimens of Myanmar architecture during the Konbaung Period is the main site. The grand Bagaya monastery and the Watch Tower (Nan Myint) are attractions of tourists as well.
Monywa, about 136 km to the west of Mandalay is a major center for trade and commerce for agricultural product from surrounding Chindwin Valley. If you are travelling to Monwya by car you should stop about 20 kilometres before you reach the town to visit this most unusual Buddhist temple complex on 37 acres of land which is part of the Mohnyin Forest Monastery retreat with interesting samples of modern Buddhist art. Thanboddhay is the only pagoda of unique shape in the whole country. Bodhi Tahtaung (one thousand Bo Tree), Aung Sakkya pagoda, Shwe Gu Ni pagoda, Pho Win Hill and Shwe Ba Hill are the major places for the visitors.
Shwebo is often overlooked by tourists but it makes for a great excursion from Mandalay. Ancient ruins, traditional pottery villages and the spectacular Ayeyarwaddy River are part of the lure of Shwebo and it is a regular stop for visitors. Shwebo is located 3 hours northwest of Mandalay on the road to India passing through the wide paddy field and experience rice mill industries. On first glance, there is not much appealing for tourists but with a bit of insight you can find plenty to do in Shwebo. It is a typical mid-sized Myanmar town with a vibrant market, a university and a bustling main street of shops, Shwe Chet Thoe pagoda, Zabu Simee pagoda and Shwebo Myao Daunt pagoda. Adjacent of Shwebo the small riverside town of Kyauk Myaung is famous for its large earthenware pots which are used to gather and store rain water.
Pyin Oo Lwin
Pyin Oo Lwin formally known as May Myo was over 1000 meters above sea level. Pyin Oo Lwin is a popular hill station about 69km away from north of Mandalay. A pleasant way to enjoy the sights of the town is a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. A feature of Pyin Oo Lwin is its variety of architectural styles and features, including iron grillwork, balconies, chimneys and attractive decoration scarved from wood. Close to Pyin Oo Lwin are several natural attractions and caves. They include the Dat Taw Gyaint waterfall, the B.E. waterfall (Pwe Kauk), the Peik Chin Myaung cave, which houses many Buddha images and the attractive grounds of the National Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens. The hills around Pyin Oo Lwin have orange, orchards and coffee plantations, some of which are open to tourists.
Tamu is a small border town at the Myanmar-India border. It is located at the Kabaw valley of Sagaing Division and connected to Moreh, India, by a bridge crossing over Mahuyar creek. The town is flourishing steadily after the bi-lateral trade agreement signed between Myanmar and India governments in 1994. After a decade later, the newly opened Monywa-Yagyi-Kalaywa road significantly shortens the length of travelling from Tamu to Mandalay which reinforces the already flourishing border trading. The town nowadays is not only a place to trade the goods from Myanmar and India but also trade the goods from Thailand and China to India and vice versa.
Ayeyarwaddy River Cruise
A Myanmar river cruise experience is far removed from that which is the norm in Europe. Vessels range from ultra-luxury to traditional Myanmar style, but what they have in common is the incomparable scenery. The ships there are smaller and have a much shallower draft due to the very nature of the Ayeyarwaddy and Chindwin Rivers, where sandbanks are a permanent hazard to shipping. They change location constantly, due to the strong currents of the river. There are also extreme differentials in the height of the river between the dry season and the wet season -- often as much as 45 feet. However, there are an increasing number of cruise operators now plying the mighty Ayeyarwaddy that's why you can visit all the classic sites along the lower Ayeyarwaddy including the celebrated sight at Bagan, home to more than 3,000 temples, shrines and monuments and you can meet the natural life views of human, charming styles of Burmese people and special sunset on the boat as well.
Chindwin River Cruise
Traverse the Lower Ayeyarwaddy & Chindwin Rivers and get a real insight into everyday Burmese life as we visit small villages and towns along the river and get a rare glimpse into a place little affected by mass scale tourism. These places offer genuine curiosity (where you are as much an attraction as the locals are to you), where smiles are the norm and everyday activity seems to have not changed for decades. This cruise presents it all. A few hours upriver from Bagan, you reach the confluence of the Ayeyarwaddy and the Chindwin River. This region is wild and remote and is only accessible for a few weeks each year when the water levels in the Chindwin are swollen by monsoon rains. The rewards are immense and soon you adapt to a routine of relaxing on the sundeck observing the varied scenery glide by and participating in the many easy paced on-shore excursions to Buddhist temples, cultural sights, quiet villages, rural farmland, and relics from the British colonial times.