Located 668 km north of Yangon, Mandalay is the second largest city in Myanmar. It lies on the east bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River and in the upper part of Myanmar. Mandalay has the Royal Palace of the last Konbaung Dynasty. Mandalay inherits many cultural heritage from the ancient Myanmar Kingdoms and beautiful places to visit.
The Myanansankyaw Golden Palace, built in 1857 is a replica of the old palace and definitely not to be missed. Revered as the holiest shrine in Mandalay, the Mahamuni Buddha image is said to have been cast in the lifetime of Buddha. The Mandalay Hill is 230 meters in elevation and visitors can climb the 1729 steps to enjoy the magnificent view of the city and surrounding environs from the summit. Lying at the foot of Mandalay Hill is Kuthodaw Pagoda, also known as the world’s biggest book for its 729 stone slabs inscribed with Buddhist scriptures. Not far from Kuthodaw Pagoda, the Ah-Tu-Ma-Shi Monastery houses the Great Marble Image, an image of Buddha sculpted from a single black of Sagyin marble. Reminiscent of the old Mandalay Palace, the Shwenadaw Monastery is famous for its exquisite woodcarvings and glided teak pavilions. At Zaycho Market, visitors can definitely find attractively priced shopping hunts and observe the lifestyles and cultures of the locals.
11km south of Mandalay, Amarapura features the world’s longest wooden bridge - U Bein. Built in 1782, the U Bein Bridge spans 1208 meters with over 1700 huge teak pillars. Other sites of interests in Amarapura include silk weaving industry, Mahagandayon Monastery, Kyauktawgyi Pagoda and Pahtodawgyi Pagoda.
20km southwest of Mandalay, Innwa (Ava) used to be the capital for ancient Shan and Myanmar Kings in the 12th century. Crossing the river and riding in a pony-cart, visitors can see Nanmyint Watch Tower, Maha Aung Myay Bonzan Okkyaung and Htilaingshin Pagoda.
Mingun, 12 kilometers north of Mandalay, accessible by ferry boat rides, is famous for the world’s second largest ringing bell of 90 tons in weight and Mingun Payagyi.
Dotted with over 400 pagodas, monasteries and nunneries, the Sagaing Hill - 21 km southwest of Mandalay -is noted as a religious retreat. About 10 km from Sagaing stands Kaungmudaw, an enormous dome-shaped pagoda built by King Thalun in 1636. Nearby is Ywahtaung village, famous of its silver craftsmanship.