To Explore Mandalay In 2 Days

Mandalay occupies most monks in the country and becomes home to many Buddhist monasteries. With so many religious and historic sites around, the city still keeps the ancient ambience that attracts the cultural and heritage sites lovers.
 
Mandalay was our last city that we visited in Myanmar. We didn’t intend to go home via Yangon because we found it time-consuming due to we still had no direct flight from Myanmar to Jakarta, so finally we decided to pick Airasia for the connecting flight from Mandalay to Bangkok and Lion Air from Bangkok to Jakarta.

We were lucky that we could enjoy the view of both sunrise and sunset in Mandalay from 2 different places.


Hello, Mandalay!


The bus to Mandalay arrived at 21:30 just in front of Aung Mingalar Hotel. This bus provided no blanket, so please be prepared to wear warm clothes if you would take night bus from Bagan to Mandalay. The fare was Kyat 7,500 and it took about 6 hours to reach Mandalay from Bagan.
 
Don’t worry about taxi in the middle of the night or early morning since there are bunch of them at the Mandalay Bus Station, ready to take you everywhere. The fare to our guesthouse in the city centre was Kyat 8,000.

We stayed at Rich Queen Guesthouse that charged us Kyat 30,000/night. A nice, new and clean guesthouse with decent breakfast.
 

First Day to Explore Mandalay

There was taxi driver waiting at the guesthouse lobby in the morning when we were ready for breakfast, the guesthouse staff helped him to offer whole-day tour package around Mandalay with only Kyat 35,000 to us. Due to we had tight itinerary, it was good decision to take the offer since the taxi would surely know the places we were going to visit. And thank God, I had my friend for the shared cost. 

1. Mahagandhayon Monastery

First place that the driver took us to was Mahagandhayon Monastery, he wanted us to watch the monks having lunch (or breakfast because it was still 10 am?). We were so excited when he told us about the event, but wow there were so many tourists gathering around the street that made us try so hard to get good pictures.

 

Monk of Mahagandhayon Monastery lining up for lunch at 10 am

Monk of Mahagandhayon Monastery lining up and having lunch

 

2. Sagaing Hill

On the way to Sagaing Hill, The driver stopped by the Yadanabon Bridge (Irrawaddy Bridge) for us to take pictures. He was the best, he knew if we would love it. But he said we needed to hurry in order to catch lunch time at another monastery. I thought like “What…another lunch show?”, but then I found out if it was a nunnery, ThakyaDiThat Nunnery with their  beautiful Buddhist nuns in pink robes.

The view of Irrawadi river from Yadanabon bridge (Irrawaddy bridge)

The view of Irrawadi river from Yadanabon bridge (Irrawaddy bridge)

 

bhikkhuni (nuns) having lunch at ThaKyaDiThar Nunnery

bhikkhuni (nuns) having lunch at ThaKyaDiThar Nunnery

 

The third place to visit was Soon Oo Ponya Shin Pagoda, a Buddhist temple on the top of Sagaing Hill before we had late lunch at Sagaing Hill Restaurant.

 

Soon Oo Ponya Shin Pagoda, one of the oldest temples on Sagaing Hills

Soon Oo Ponya Shin Pagoda, one of the oldest temples on Sagaing Hills


We were also taken to a new pink temple before taking lunch, but I couldn’t find the temple information, so let us name it Unnamed Pink temple.

Unnamed Pink temple

Unnamed Pink temple


3. Ava/Inwa Ancient Village

Founded in 1365, this village was actually an imperial capital of Burmese kingdoms from 1365 to 1842.

To access Ava/Inwa Village, we needed to take a boat to across the river. Kyat 800/person for boat fare, then we had to pay US$ 10 for the entry ticket fee and Kyat 6000 for horse cart tour.

 

The horse cart took us to explore Inwa/Ava

The horse cart took us to explore Inwa/Ava

 

Yadana Hsemee pagoda complex with its outdoor Buddha statues

Yadana Hsemee pagoda complex with its outdoor Buddha statues

 

Daw Gyan Pagoda

Daw Gyan Pagoda

 

Bagaya Kyaung: The Teal Pagoda in Ava/Inwa

Bagaya Kyaung: The Teal Pagoda in Ava/Inwa

 

Maha Aung Mye Bon Zan Monastery or Brick Monastery, built by Nanmadaw Me Nu in 1822

Maha Aung Mye Bon Zan Monastery or Brick Monastery, built by Nanmadaw Me Nu in 1822

 

Ava bridge can be seen from Maha Aung Mye Bon Zan Monastery

Ava bridge can be seen from Maha Aung Mye Bon Zan Monastery

 

Nanmyin Tower: Watch tower that was built by a British engineers in 1934

Nanmyin Tower: Watch tower that was built by a British engineers in 1934

 

4. Ubein / U Pein Bridge for enjoying sunset

We can’t say this as the 4th place that we visited that day, let’s say this as the 4th area. Ubein or Upein bridge is a famous place to view sunset in Mandalay across Taungthaman Lake. This old teakwood bridge was built in 1850 and has been used by the locals and always crowded.

Thanks to the taxi driver we got splendid time visiting so many awesome places in a day.

 

Ubein or U Pein bridge, 12 kiometres in length

Ubein or U Pein bridge, 12 kiometres in length

 

How We Spent Our Second Day in Mandalay


1. Mandalay Hill
After fighting the laziness and cold weather, we finally left the guesthouse at 5 am for the Mandalay Hill by ourselves, because the car rent around this hour was limited that made it very expensive. Fortunately there was motorbike taxi that charged us only Kyat 3,000 to send us to the Mandalay Hill entrance. We needed around 1 hour to reach the top to enjoy sunrise. 

mandalay-hill

Mandalay Hill with Byardeik Paye Pagoda near the summit and sunrise view on the summit

 

Not far from the entrance of of Mandalay Hill, only 5-10 minutes on foot, we saw Kuthodaw and Sandamuni Paya. We didn’t plan to visit these temples but we were so lucky we took that path to go around Mandalay Hill complex.

 

Kuthodaw Temple, built in 1857 with 729 stupas

Kuthodaw Temple, built in 1857 with 729 stupas

 

We went back to the hostel by taxi with fare Kyat 3,000 after tough negotiation, on the rush to do packing. I didn’t want to leave, though. But life had to go on.

With only Kyat 4,000/person because there were 2 other tourists from the hostel willing to share the taxi fare, we were heading to the airport. It took about an hour from the hostel to the airport.

Bhine, Myanmar. Thank you so much, you are the best new year’s gift I’ve ever had.

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