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. The golden Buddha of Mahamuni Paya is also 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 silver smiths 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.
When to go
The best time of year to visit Burma and Mandalay is November to March during the dry season, when the weather is at its best.