In the Myanmar tourist triangle, Mandalay is really only seen as a stopover for most tourists who are travelling through to Inle lake or waiting for their flight out of the country. But, there is so much more to do in this city than people give it credit for! Personally, I found Mandalay to be one of my favourite cities in Myanmar and there was some amazing streets and districts to explore.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the country, it has only recently opened its doors in 2012 for frequent tourism. Meaning it is a country which hasn’t been touched by the outside world. There are no Starbucks, McDonalds, KFC – none of that. It is completely free of all that, which means it’s a country to enjoy at it’s most authentic. However, they aren’t completely unprepared for tourists – there are ‘Be kind to tourists’ signs everywhere and so you’re in safe hands with the Burmese people, they can’t do enough for you.

Hopefully the tips below may change your mind to skip over this stopover city!

1. Watch the sunset from Mandalay Hill

This is it’s main attraction and you can see why. The Buddhist temple is placed high above the city and provides some beautiful views all around you. The temple has gorgeous marble floors and it’s so ornately decorated. Students also visit the temple to learn English, so make sure you sit down and stay for a chat. They are so kind and it was so humbling that they are grateful just for your conversation! Then, watch the sun set on the cities horizon, the sky turns from orange, to red, to pink and it transforms the city into the evening.

Tip: As you make your way up the various escalators, you will need to remove your shoes and make sure your legs and shoulders are covered. You will need to pay to take photos as well on top of your entrance  ticket.





2. U Bein Bridge



U Bein bridge is the largest and longest teakwood bridge in the world. It is over 100 years old and still stands as a walk way today. Locals and tourists cross the bridge in U Bein and it is busy at all times of day. As you walk across the river you can see fisherman hoping for a catch  in their boats or with their nets. It’s picturesque and gives you an idea of what life is like in the Mandalay region. After you have crossed the bridge you can admire the view from their many riverbed cafes and watch the world go by.




Getting Here: Many places as of 2015 could only be accessed by Taxi. As this was expensive for us, we caught one of the many local tuk tuks here and grabbed a motorbike over to the bridge. We just told the driver where we wanted to go and paid around 200 kyats (around 12 pence).



3. Visit the Snake Pagoda (Hmwe Paya)

This popular Buddhist temple has a legend associated with it. The story goes that the snakes which rest and coil themselves around the Buddha were called here by Buddha himself from the forest. The monks who were in the temple at the time, kept seeing the snakes return to the temple despite trying to move them and considered them to by Holy.  Locals give money as an offering to the statue and the snakes are washed and fed in a holy ceremony every day. Although the snakes here now are donated, the original snakes have been stuffed and are on display for you to visit (if you wish!). Don’t worry – the snakes won’t bite you, they peacefully lie there. The monks will even let you stroke them – but I will let you make that call.

How to get here: It is a little off the beaten track and a fair way out of Mandalay but the temple is so beautiful you can’t miss out, we were offered a taxi but decided to take the many tuk tuks that were on offer. It is a fair way out of the city so do what’s best for you!


4. See the Mandalay Palace and walls


Mandalay is also famous for it’s large walls which protect the Mandalay palace. The palace has a large moat which surrounds the outside and is beautiful in itself. You can take a stroll past the wall to start your ascent up Mandalay hill. It’s a beautiful walk, with plenty of places to stop for a photo!




Over to you! Would you spend more time in Mandalay? Comment below!

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Sophie Pearce

Sophie Pearce is the founder of Third Eye Traveller. Always having itchy feet and a restless soul seeking adventure, she has now travelled to over 30+ countries, many of them solo. Leaving her heart in India, which gifted her a “Third Eye”, she felt inspired to share her travel stories in the hope of encouraging others to explore this big beautiful world of ours.

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