Mandalay once was the capital of Myanmar and the second largest city after Yangon. It is centered around the Royal Palace where located in North area of Myanmar about 564 km from Yangon. Even the lanes there are wide but the main vehicles of this city are motorcycles and bicycles. Come to this land on your Myanmar travels & tours, you will be impressed by its cultural diversity, the rich in history and bustling life.
Think about Mandalay, many people will think about the splendors of the Burma of old. But you should know before going on your Myanmar travels & tours, it is not an old or medieval city. It was created by King Mingdon Min of Burma as the new capital of the kingdom of Ava in 1857. There are only two Burmese kings ruled this city from that time – King Mingdon and King Thibaw. This city was splendor between 1858 and 1885, but then the British conquest happened in Upper Burma in 1885 destroyed almost magnificence and wooden structures during the Second World War. Come to this city on Myanmar tours; it is not a problem if you don’t understand Burmese because the roads are lettered, and the streets are numbered neatly as the British creation during the war. Some significant structures were reconstructions such as Royal Palace, the great Atumashi Pagoda, and King Mingdon Min’s finest creations. Although the capital was removed to Naypyidaw, Mandalay still is the main commercial center of Upper Myanmar because it is the center for growing trade with India and China.
Mandalay has many different ethnics. Besides the slight majority Bamar (Burmans), there are 30-40% of the population are Chinese from Mainland China and the local Chinese who bring China-style to the constructors of the city you must see on your Myanmar travels & tours. And other ethnic groups as the Shan who are related to the Thais, Laotians, and the Karen (Kayin); and Nepalis and Sikhs who are ethnic Indian.
The climate in Mandalay is the semi-tropical so that it is dry and cold from November to February in winter and hot and heavy rainfall from March to May in summer. If you have come to other semi-tropical climate countries, you will find that Mandalay has far less rain than them. You should book a Myanmar package tour to come to this city in November to February for the best weather when the sky is crystal and the temperature during the day is not too high.
Top traditional festivals
As the cultural diversity and the rich in the history of this city. Local people held many festivals through the year to honor the heroes and spirit being of city and country. Don’t forget to explore some famous festivals below on your Myanmar travel tour:
Taungbyone Nat Pwe festival
Taungbyone Nat Pwe: It is a massive and chaotic festival, held about 12 miles in the north of Mandalay. It was organized to honor two great Bagan-era spirit beings. Festivals consist of lots of village drinking and more local music.
Mingun Nat Festival: As the tradition of Burma, they held this festival from the 5th to 10th days of the waxing moon of Tabaung to pay homage to the brother and sister of the Teak Tree, they drowned in the river while clasping to a trunk.
Thadingyut: Myanmar’s lights festival honors Buddha’s return from the celestial sphere on the full moon of Thadingyut. At the southern base of Mandalay Hill, the giant temple festival at Kyauktawgyi Paya builds for two weeks. Sagaing Waso festival: This festival, followed by the big Paleik festival, held in the two weeks after the Waso full moon.
Nowadays because of Mandalay International Airport, you can book your flight from Yangon to Mandalay for your private Myanmar tour easily. It is much cheaper if you book the direct flights from Yangon to Mandalay. The average price of the ticket is about $132 – $265 and take about 1h40 minutes. The Airport is about 45km on a modern toll highway to the city; you can choose your vehicle to central Mandalay as the private taxi for about USD11 or MMK15,000, shared taxi/minibus for about USD4 or MMK4000.
Going by train must be the cheapest way to go from Yangon to Mandalay on your Myanmar travels & tours as the price of the ticket is about $13-$19 depending on the class. But notice that it take about 15 hours for a trip, and if you think you can sleep on the train, that could be a big failure. Because the tracks and the carriages may be old, and the train will not go smoothly in the whole trips, besides the other passengers are loud.
From Yangon city, you can choose night bus with air-con to come to Mandalay for your Burma tours. There are 5 departure hour: 17:00, 18:00, 19:00, 21:00 and 21:30. It takes about 9h to get to the stop. The price of the ticket is considerable; it is about $29-$35. You should go off on Thiri Mandala bus station- the closest to city center bus stop.
Get around Mandalay on your Myanmar travel tour don’t take you many coins extra. Besides, there are many fancy sights near place around Mandalay hill so that you can come by walking. But to get to other sights place far away from the center, you can take some recommends below.
#1 Taxis: You can pick it in front of your hotels, and the price is not high. But they are not allowed to flag down so you have to go by foot if it is necessary.
#2 Motorcycle taxis: this is the cheap way to get around on your Myanmar travels & tours to Mandalay but not safe because sometimes the drivers may give you a cheap helmet and drive too fast.
#3 Renting a motorcycle: This seems to be an idea way to see the city because you can stop whenever you want and go on your own plan. But you should be an experienced rider to go around this crowded city, especially in the rush hour. You can rent an automatic motorbike on your trip for around MMK 12,000-15,000
#4 Cycle hire: It is the cheapest way to explore the city on your Myanmar tours. It just takes you about USD1-2 per day. If you love cycling, you should think about renting a bicycle to go around Mandalay on your Myanmar travels & tours.
#5 Trishaws (cycle rickshaws): It is the special way to get around this city. There is nothing better if you can find a driver who can speak English fluently so that he can be your tour guide for your short trip. The price of Trishaws is reasonable if you are good at bargaining. Each Trishaw can hole about 1 or two people, if you go on Myanmar package tour with your family, you should think about rent more than 1 trishaws to move.
Top Suggested Tours & Activities in Mandalay
1. Royal Palace (Burmese: man-da-lei nan-dau): It is a walled city within Mandalay built in 1861 by King Mindon, to fulfill a prophecy. After being destroyed in World War II, it was rebuilt and renovated recently fairly faithful to the original but the materials used were not, they use metal instead of the original teak wood. The locals are allowed to entering the site from other sides, but the visitors have to buy the ticket with the price of about 10,000 kyats ~ USD10 for a 5-day ticket to enter the palace. But trust me, it could be an unforgettable memory in your Myanmar travels & tours.
2. A trip to Mandalay Hill: Mandalay Hill (Burmese: man-da-lei thaonh) has the height of 230m near the city. There are several monasteries and temples along its path. Pay $10 for The Mandalay Zone Admission Fees, then you can access many magnificent sites such as Shwenandaw Monastery made entire out of teak wood with fancy intricate carvings, Sandamuni Paya (Burmese: san-da-mu-ni pei-ya) contains the world’s largest iron Buddha image, Kuthodaw Paya (Burmese: ku-tho-dau pei-ya) site of the world’s largest book.
3. Visit Moustache Brothers: A comedy trio performs from their home, for tourists. You can see perform Burmese dance and some jokes every night at 20:30, No tickets needed; just show up, MMK8000.
4. Touring to Waterfall Hill (Yaedagon Taung): It is located on the east side of Mandalay. The most exciting outdoor activity here is caving and rock climbing because it is not crowded, spoiled and not far from the city. Give it a try when you have a chance to go on Myanmar travel tour to Mandalay.
5. A tour to Sagaing is worth for one-day exploring: On the way Southwards towards Sagaing Hill to have beautiful views of the numerous golden temples around.
6. Motorcycle/Taxi Tour of Mandalay Outskirts: Many thrilling outdoor activities wait for you to give it a try on your Myanmar tour such as Amarapura with the U Bien Bridge which is 1.2 km teak bridge famous for sunset stop, climb to Sagaing hilltop, Climbing 300+ steps to Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda and having 360-degree overlooking the Irrawaddy River. Also, Going on the boat to reach the town of Old Ava – Innwa with the payment of MMK1,200.
7. Watch Puppet Show @ Mandalay Marionettes Theatre, 66th St., Bet: The show is quite odd and takes a particular type of appreciation to be able to enjoy. If you don’t have interested in interpretive dance performed by humans, it may not a good idea for your tour.
8. Full day trip to Mingun: The boat departs at 09:00 to the village of Mingun and returns at 13:00. It costs MMK5,000 round trip – min 4 people. You have totally three hours to explore here. Don’t forget to climb to the Mingun Paya with bare foots and visit world’s largest uncracked bell and white pagoda -Hsinbyume Paya on your Myanmar travels & tours.
9. Watch movies at Diamond Palace, 78 street (near 35th street): The tickets have the price about MMK2,500-3,000, and they are sold out very early. You also can put the little time to play games in the games arcade nearby.
Mandalay has several tourist-friendly lodgings. Many hotels face the Royal Palace. And most budget guest houses located on 25th St, between 81st and 84th Streets. Prices of the guest houses here are not much cheaper than Yangon so that you should think about your budget carefully before going on Myanmar travels & tours.
• Ace Star Hostel, Rm (T2-8), Thazin Plaza, Pearl street, between 31st and 32nd, and between 77th and 78th, Mandalay (About 200-300m east of the train station), ☎ +95 9258411776, +95 9796521146, Dorm USD12; superior dorm USD14; double USD30
• AD1 Hotel, Eindawya Sintada St, Chan Aye Thar San Township (East of the Eindawya Pagoda), ☎ +95 2 34505, +95 965 02430. Superior dorm USD15, double USD25
• Dreamland Guest House, Corner of 69th and 37th street, Maha Myaing, ☎ +95 9 402544997 +95 943068299 +95 2 32850 (email@example.com). Check-in: 13:00; checkout: 12:00. Dorm USD8, single USD13, double USD18, en suite double USD20, en suite single USD15.
• ET Hotel, 83rd and 23rd/24th Street, ☎ +95 2 65996. Single USD12, double USD20 (Mar 2015). En suite twin room USD30
• Garden Hotel, 83rd, and 25th St (around the corner from nylon hotel), ☎ +95 2 31884. Check-In: Early check-in available.; checkout: 12:00. Single USD20 air-con, USD11 fan, Twin: USD20 air-con, USD15 fan all include continental breakfast.
Enjoy your Myanmar travels & tours and make as many fancy memories as you possible before going back to your daily life.