Mandalay is the second largest city in Myanmar and was established in 1857. It lies on the east bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River and in the upper part of Myanmar. Mandalay has the Royal Palace of the last Konbaung Dynasty. Mandalay inherits many cultural heritage from the ancient Myanmar Kingdoms and beautiful places to visit.
Mandalay consist of five main townships namely Aung Myay Thar Zan, Chan Aye Thar Zan,Mahar Aung Myay, Chan Mya Tharzi and Pyigyi Tagun Townships. Mandalay Hill is a popular destination to visit while you are in Mandalay. The beautiful scene of the whole city can be seen from the hill.
Sagaing lies 21km south-west of Mandalay on the west bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. It lies in Sagaing division, which is the largest division in Myanmar. Today, Sagaing is known as a meditation centre. Myanmars all over the country would visit Sagaing for the purpose of religious retreat. Inwa Bridge connects Mandalay and Sagaing crossing the mighty ayeyarwaddy.
Once you cross the Inwa Bridge, you see the hilltops, each crested with a pagoda, the banners proclaiming the Buddha's teaching, the refuge from all ills and tribulations where over 600 monasteries for monks and nuns are located for Buddhist studies and meditation. Mural paintings can be seen in the Tilawkaguru cave temple, which was built around 1672. The most impressive Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda nearby was constructed in 1312. The view of Sagaing from Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin and its approach is marvelous.
Amarapura lies on the left bank of the Ayarwaddy River. A suburb of Mandalay, it is also known as Taung-myo (Southern Town) or Myohaung (Old City). Amarapura means City of Immortality. Amarapura was the capital city of Myanmar, during the Konbaung Dynasty. It was founded by King Bodawpaya in 1782 AD, as the king transferred the capital from Innwa (or Ava). Visitors to Amarapura can still see the tombs of King Bodawpaya who died there on 5th June 1819, located to the north of Shwezaga Pagoda, and also of King Bagyidaw, located east of Pyatthat Gyi Village.
Amarapura is famous for the Silk Weaving Industry. Most of the Myanmar people are very proud to attend the cultural ceremonies with Achiek Longyi, mainly produced from Amarapura. Not very far from Mandalay city and accessible by car.
U Bein Bridge is about three quarter of a mile, crossing the Taung-tha-man Inn (lake). It is one of the most attractive spot for tourists. It is the longest teak bridge in the world and is about two centuries old.
In the southern part of Amarapura, the Pahtodawgyi Pagoda modeled on the Mahazedi of Sri Lanka. The foundation of this pagoda was laid by King Bagyidaw and his Queen on 2nd March 1820.You'll have a fine view over the surrounding countryside from the upper terrace. An inscription stone, within the temple precincts, details the history of the pagoda's construction.
Mingun is located on the western bank of the river Ayeyarwaddy, approximately 7 miles north of Mandalay. It is reached by ferryboats across the river and takes 1 hour for up-river and 40 minutes for down-river. It is famous for many Buddhist shrines, monasteries, meditation centres and monuments of historical and cultural importance. A boat trip to Mingun is pleasant with plenty of life on the river to see. You can also travel to Mingun from Mandalay but you can get there by road.
Mingun Paya (Pahtodawgyi) is one of the famous buildings in the world. This is Pondawya Pagoda which is prototype of Mingun Pahtodawgyi. You can study Myanmar arts and crafts of Kongbaung period in Mingun Pahtodawgyi. If this pagoda been completed, then it would have been the largest monument. This unfinished structure was badly damaged with cracks by the earthquake of 1838 but it is still the largest brick base in the world.
King Bodawpaya dedicated a big bronze bell near the Mingun Cedi at Mingun on the west bank of the Ayeyawaddy River, facing Mandalay. The Mingun Bell was made of bronze; but it is said that Buddhist devotees inserted gold, silver ornaments and jewellery into the bronze.
Pyin Oo Lwin
Pyin Oo Lwin is located on the western bank of the river Ayeyarwaddy, approximately 7 miles north of Mandalay. Over 1000 metres above sea-level, Pyin Oo Lwin is a popular hill station about 69km away from Mandalay. It is well known for its colonial style houses with large compound and pine trees, eucalyptus and silver-oak abound in town. Delightfully cool and pleasant the whole year round.
The Botanical Garden was first founded in the year 1915-16 by one British botanist named Mr. Roger who began collecting local plants and trees and cultivating them on 30 acres of land at the present site. Besides, vast meadows and several seasonal flower beds were arranged and hundreds of wild orchids from different parts of the country were collected and displayed in the Orchid Green House in the garden. The garden thus became one of the world class botanical gardens.
The Peik Chin Myaung cave is near Wetwun village 12 miles east of the town and it is three miles south of the village, easily accessible by car. The cave is at the entrance to the Peik Chin Myaung ravine, with many beautiful springs. When the rocks in the cave began to form, the place was under seawater.