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In the Myanmar tourist triangle, Mandalay is really only seen as a stopover for tourists who are travelling to Inle lake.
But, there are so many amazing things to do in Mandalay too!
Personally, I found Mandalay ended up being one of my favourite cities in Myanmar. There were so many 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 that it is a country which hasn’t been touched by the outside world.
There are no Starbucks, McDonalds, KFC or any of that meaning it’s a country to enjoy at it’s most authentic.
However, they aren’t completely unprepared for tourists. You will see ‘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, these things to do in Mandalay Myanmar may change your mind to skip over this city!
Top things to do in Mandalay
1. Watch the sunset from Mandalay Hill
This is the main attraction of the city and you can easily 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 is so ornate.
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 were grateful just for your conversation!
Then, you can watch the sunset on the cities horizon. The sky turns from orange to red and pink. 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 walkway today.
Locals and tourists cross the bridge in U Bein and it is busy all the time.
As you walk across the bridge and over the river, you can see the fishermen out in boats with their nets. Hoping to catch some fish.
It’s really 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.
It’s one of the top things to do in Mandalay!
How to get to the U-Bein Bridge
Many places can only be accessed by Taxi for tourists.
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. So, they 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 holy snakes today have been donated to the temple, the original snakes have been stuffed. They 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 the Snake Pagoda
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 to take a taxi by our hotel 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!
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