Mandalay is a major industrial and trading hub and the second largest city in Myanmar. The walled city itself only dates from 1850 when it was founded by King Mindon, based on a Buddha prophecy. Although the British had been attacking greater Myanmar since the 1820′s, they were not able to annex Mandalay until 1885. Soon thereafter Myanmar was made an “official” colony of the British Empire, and it’s name changed from the formal “Myanmar”, to the informal “Bamar”, and anglicizing it to “Burma”. It was changed back to the original Myanmar in 1989. Then the likes of Rudyard Kipling waxing poetic instilled it into our dreamy imaginations.People hear the name Mandalay and have romantic notions of the mysterious East dancing in their heads.
Once a beautiful walled city on the Irrawaddy, it is now…not so much. And yet it is an absolute must visit for the marvelous array of hidden gems both within the city and nearby. There is a reason the great National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry spends more time in and around Mandalay than any other location in Myanmar. A great guide is really essential to getting the best the “Mandalay array” has to offer.
The Sites/Sights – Shwenandaw (carved teak wood) Monastery, Maha Muni Paya, (2nd holiest Buddha shrine), Mandalay Hill (exotic sunrise views) Mingun Rock Temple (largest cast iron bell in the world), Hsinbyume Paya (all white pagoda), Kuthodaw Paya (world’s biggest book), U Bein’s Bridge (longest teak bridge on earth), Mandalay Marionettes Theatre, Classical Dance at Mintha Theatre, The Comedy Stylings of the Moustache Brothers.
Luminous Rated Hotels – Rupar Mandalar, Red Canal, Amazing Mandalay, Mandalay Hill Resort, Sedona Hotel.
Extensions: Holy Hills of Sagaing, ancient capitol of Inwa, River Cruise to Bagan, Monywa and the Buddha caves at Po Winn Daung.