U Bein Bridge, Mandalay, Myanmar


Although not as evocative as its surrounding ancient riches, Mandalay is a thoroughly modern city with an interesting history dating back to the 19th Century when it was Burma’s capital.

Mandalay is the second-largest city in Burma (Myanmar) and is located in the northern region of the country on the eastern banks of the Irrawaddy River, it is the economic hub of the country and has managed to thrive through its exportation of rubies and jade amongst other goods.

The main sites within the vicinity of Mandalay include the magnificent wooden U-Bein footbridge that stretches for over a kilometre across a lake near the old city of Amarapura.

Golden statue of the Buddha at Mahamuni Paya
Mawlamyine, Myanmar

Buddha of Mahamuni Paya

The golden Buddha of Mahamuni Paya is well worth a visit. The nearby ancient city of Ava with its walls and wooden temple, the huge cast-iron bell at Minguin and a brick temple reached by boat along the river, are all not to be missed. The craft of making gold leaf and puppets are also kept very much alive here. The monastery area of Sagaing is home to 100’s of monks and nuns and a number of silversmiths practice their craft here.

Although nowadays it is a thoroughly modern city, in certain parts of the old city its old charm is still alive and it is well worth visiting for a day or two on a Burma holiday.


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Mandalay Market, Yangon, Myanmar

Mandalay Market

Stroll through the towns bustling market, a place few visitors reach, for an insight into real daily life.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Irrawaddy River, Road to Mandalay, Myanmar

Sunrise over Mandalay

Get up at dawn to watch the sunrise over the cityscape.

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Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar

Kuthodaw Pagoda

Spend a peaceful hour exploring the ornate shrines of the graceful Kuthodaw Pagoda in Mandalay.

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Sagaing Hill, Myanmar

Sagaing Pagodas

Explore the hundreds of golden pagodas and mingle amongst the pink and saffron clad monks of Sagaing.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Hilton Mandalay £££££

  • Myanmar
  • City

Centrally located opposite the Royal Palace, the Hilton Mandalay offers comfortable rooms with some spectacular views. Choose from vistas of the hotel gardens, the palace or the eastern moat and Mandalay Hill beyond. Pathways lead through tropical gardens, dotted with ponds and temple gateways to a lovely swimming pool.

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Mercure Mandalay Hill Resort £££££

  • Myanmar
  • City

Mercure Mandalay Hill Resort is located amidst verdant jungle foliage at the foot of Mandalay Hill. Set within 12 acres of gardens the hotel and each of its 206 rooms overlook Mandalay Hill or the Royal Palace with its beautiful moat and dozens of different pagodas. Facilities include five restaurants, a spa, swimming pool and tennis courts.

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Rupar Mandalar Resort £££££

  • Myanmar

In a peaceful location just 10 minutes from the centre of Mandalay, Rupar Mandalar Resort offers a welcome retreat from city life. The 40 bedrooms are set throughout lush gardens and finished with local teak furnishings. At the centre of the hotel is a swimming pool and additional facilities including a small spa and a restaurant.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Paul Craven

Paul is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Central Asia and the Silk Route.

Being from a family with Army connections I can from an early age remember travelling. From camping in Europe and then later being sent to boarding school when we lived in Germany at the age of eight, complete with shorts, long socks, a cap and my suitcase. In appearance not too dissimilar to the children evacuated to the countryside during the blitz.

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