Union of Myanmar
The Burmese kings ruled from the Mandalay area
for many centuries - their capitals included Ava (now Innwa), Sagaing
and Amarapura. Mandalay, itself, was made capital only in 1857 by
King Mindon. For centuries under royal patronage, Mandalay has been
the center for Myanmar arts and crafts. The city is full if silk
weavers, tapestry makers, wood carvers, stone masons, silversmiths
and bronze casters - all of whom still follow the time-honored traditions
of their forefathers. As the seat of Myanmar's last Kingdom, Mandalay
remains an important spiritual center with numerous old monasteries
and unique pagodas.
MANDALAY IN YOUR INTINARARY
Another highlight of Myanmar - all itineraries
should include a minimum stay at one night. If possible, we prefer
to include at lease 2 nights in Mandalay, as this allows time to
visit the ancient capital cities of Amarapura, Sagaing, Innwa (Ava)
OVERLAND TRIP FROM MANDALAY
SOUTH OF MANDALAY
Ava is located on an island which can be reached by local ferry,
crossing the Myitnge River. Pass through the ancient city walls
by horsecart and see the remains of the ancient city: the brick
and stucco monastery "Maha Aungmye Bonzan", the renovated
Nanmyin Watch Tower and the impressive wooden monastery of Bagaya
This former capital is situated a 30 minuets drive south of Mandalay.
Though the royal palaces have been destroyed, the pagodas, temples
and monasteries remain. The Mahagandayane Monastery in Amarapura
is the religious center, where over 700 monks attend to their religious
duties. Of particular interest is the three-quarter mile long wooden
footbridge built by U Bein. Amarapura is visited on a day-trip from
Mandalay, combined with Ava and Sagaing.
WEST OF MANDALAY
Across the river is another former capital, Sagaing. In the rolling
hills beyond the modern town are situated countless hermitages,
for both monks and nuns. The majority date from the turn of the
century and are built in a delightful mix of colonial and old Myanmar
styles. Sagaing can be visited on a day-trip together with Amarapura
A morning trip upriver from Mandalay, takes you to the great unfinished
pagodas of Mingun, the Mantana Gyi Pagoda, as well as the world
largest ringing bell. This memorable boat trip along the banks of
the Ayeyarwady River will provide a fascinating insight into life
on this famous waterway.
North-west of Mandalay, on the banks of the Chindwin River, lies
Monywa. A ferryboat will take you across the river to the cave pagodas
of Schwebataung and Powintaung, where Buddha statues of all sizes
can be found within their sandstone niches. It is advisable to stay
overnight in Monywa, although the caves can be visited in a day
EAST OF MANDALAY
Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo)
This delightful old British hill station sits on the foothills of
the Shan Plateau, slightly north-east of Mandalay. The 1 hour drive
from Mandalay offers breathtaking views across the Mandalay plain.
Horse-down carriages are the primary means of transport for exploring
this town which abounds with colonial atmosphere. Spectacular waterfalls
and natural caves are also located in the vicinity. Pyin Oo Lwin
can be visited on a day-trip from Mandalay or as a part of an overland
trip to Lashio.
Lashio is located at the southern end of the infamous "Burma
Road", on the way to the Chinese border. The railway line from
Maymyo to Lashio is considered an engineering masterpiece. The famous
Goikteik Viaduct, built in 1903, traverses a 300 meter deep gorge
in the Shan mountains. A trip to Lashio, which includes the scenic
rail journey from Pyin Oo Lwin, needs a minimum of 3 nights.
NORTH OF MANDALAY
The ruby-mines of Mogok, hidden in the depths of the hills, are
unimaginable. Trips to Mogok can only be organized by one authorized
agent and will take a full days drive, by car, from Mandalay. Currently
the area is off-limits and cannot be visited.
TRAVELING FROM MANDALAY BY AIR
The town Myitkyina has always been a trading center between Myanmar
and China and, being the largest town in Kachin State, is the best
base for visiting nearby Kachin villages. West of Myitkyina lies
Indawgyi Lake - although somewhat inaccessible due to poor roads,
the lake is huge and has unique natural beauty.
Only Myanmar Airways flies to Myitkyina from Mandalay.
In order to include Indawgyi Lake in your itinerary, a minimum of
3 nights, preferably 4, is required. Flights are operated irregular
and it is not always possible to visit this area. A train journey
from Mandalay to Myitkyina will take 26 hours.
Bagan, Heho and Yangon
There are daily flight to Bagan, Inle Lake and Yangon.
TRAVELING BY RIVER
Mandalay is the northern terminus of the Road To
Mandalay and RV Pandaw. There is also a daily ferry services from
Mandalay to Bagan. Although less luxurious than a cruise ship, it
is a great way trip to see life along the river. A ferry ride takes
from 8 up to 12 hours.