Spending time in Mandalay Myanmar (Burma)

Dan & Fani exploring together around Mandalay City, checking out the views from the pagoda to the hill top | Buy My Morning

Spending time in Mandalay Myanmar (Burma)

Located towards the center of the country, Mandalay is the second largest city in Myanmar. You will feel the difference instantly from Yangon (the capital city), although it’s as busy, the area is a lot more spaced out.

Staying here you have options to visit some great local places and it also gives you access to the boat to Mingun (Min Kun) and the U Bein Bridge.

The Central Square – around Mandalay Palace

So we walked around the entire square, stopping off at the Kuthodaw Pagoda and speaking with people on the route. On the trip we must have been stopped by six taxi drivers wanting to talk to us and seeing if we needed a lift or directions. So we chatted for a bit before continuing on our walk. We eventually got to the main entrance of the palace, took a look around and then completed the giant square walk together.

Other things to consider:

  • Walking up to Mandalay Hill and experiencing the view from up high (the first photo on the page shows the view up to the hill)
  • Authentic souvenir shopping – a small shop called Little Mandalay, close to the Ned Kelly Irish Pub Hotel!

U Bein Bridge – Long Wooden Bridge

We found a tuk-tuk driver sporting an Arsenal football shirt, being Chelsea fans we quickly got talking in broken English. We negotiated 10,000 for the trip, but when he realised we wanted a return he said it would be 8,000 total. Probably the most random negotiation ever for us in Asia but true to his word he wanted 8,000 at the end of our 90 min trip. We tipped giving him 12,000 and something additional for some nuts and a drink he offered us, top man and a true gentleman.

Fani standing on the U Bein Bridge with us enjoying some great weather | Buy My Morning

The bridge is over a kilometer long and has stood for 170 years! It’s worth a visit to experience, meet people and see what life is like close to the water’s edge in Mandalay.

Long shot of the U Bein Bridge from a distance | Buy My Morning

Mingun / Min Kun

Getting a tuk-tuk down to the public ferry is super easy, you need to head towards Gaw Wein Jetty, the driver will drop you off to a tiny room where you be asked to buy a return ticket. You will also need to take your passport with you.

To board the boat, you will experience walking the plank (or planks) to your vessel with a real authentic pirate feeling to it. As you set off down the river you will see floating villages made of bamboo and arrive at Mingun about an hour later. Once you arrive, you will have time to explore the structures and meet the local people. 

Once you get off the ferry everything is a short walking distance away from you.


Fani standing at the base of the magnificent Pahtodawgyi structure | Buy My Morning

A gigantic brick structure commissioned by King Bodawpaya in around 1790. Although it was never completed, and shows the scars of many tumors over the years, it is an incredible structure to stand by and witness.

To this day it remains the largest single brick structure on Earth! If you have the energy there is a pathway for you to step up and climb to the top too.

Mingun Bell

Next to the Pahtodawgyi, you will find a 90-ton bell (that’s close to 81,650 kg), the second largest ringing bell in the world originally completed around 1810.

Incredibly the bell is not cracked like the Pagoda it sits close to, and is in full working order to this day.

May Thein Tan Pagoda (Hsinbyume Pagoda) – The White Temple

Fani sitting on the wall at the famous white pagoda in Mingun (Min Kun) | Buy My Morning

Quite possibly one of the most extraordinary temples we have ever visited walked around and completely relaxed within. It was built (or more accurately) commissioned by Prince Bagyidaw, the son of King Bodawpaya (who commissioned the huge Mingun Pahtodawgyi).

We were told that this impressive white pagoda was built to commemorate Princess Hsinbyume, the Prince’s late wife who had died in childbirth, she was the White Elephant Queen.

Ok it’s hot on the list for capturing pictures and Instagram moments, but it is so much more than that, so stop yourself for at least a moment and just sit, watch and let your mind wander somewhere.

It's Dan & Fani standing along the pure white walkway, with some small dogging legs in view | Buy My Morning

Where To Stay In Mandalay – Accommodation Tips

– Luxury – The Link 78 Mandalay Boutique Hotel – You can spend a lot more money in Mandalay for a luxury hotel option, but if you want quality for your money then please check out this place.

– Mid – Diamonds Inn – We stayed at this hotel for our last night and we were really impressed with the staff, atmosphere and quality of the rooms.

– Budget – Hotel Aurora – Simple and sweet looking hotel option with good reviews and breakfast included, all at a nice low price.

Where To Eat! Mandalay

– Cafe & Brunch – Nova Cafe – Take a walk through the streets of Mandalay and cross the train tracks to get to this cafe. Really stylist, spacious and quiet … top spot for tourists and people that want to get away and work on the laptop / mobile for a little while (with decent wifi).

– Cafe – Goffee-Coffee – A more central option for a good coffee, and it’s really nicely presented. Friendly staff and a nice spot to stop, chill out and then get back out there and explore.

We’re not going to lie to you all, we didn’t really have great meals in Mandalay (other than the options above for snacks & brunch), maybe because we were spoilt throughout this trip and Mandalay was the last stop … but for lunch and dinner, we have no good personal recommendations.

If you find something great, then please add a comment and recommend to future blog readers.

1 Comment

  1. Maria
    16th August 2019 / 1:27 pm

    Really great read, glad I spotted this one! So many people have mentioned Mingun to me but I wasn’t aware that there were more things to see and do in Mandalay.

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