5 Essential Things To Do in Mandalay

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Mandalay is a city that needs your attention! With its rustic and spiritual aura, Mandalay is one of the most iconic cities of Myanmar to explore. There are plenty of things to do in Mandalay!

Also check out the things to do in Yangon!

It is the second largest city in the country with a population of around 1.2 million. The Mandalay region covers an area of 118.4km2 and is located in the central dry zone of Myanmar. 

It is a city that bustles with activity day and night and therefore can be a bit overwhelming at first. But if you know the right places to go, and willing to explore deeper, and tread through less taken paths you will discover its true beauty. Here are some things to do in Mandalay to make your trip informative, fun, and adventurous!

#1: Visit the Mahamuni Pagoda

The amazing interior of the Mahamuni Buddha Temple.
The amazing interior of the Mahamuni Buddha Temple.

Just like Bagan, Mandalay is an important cultural and Buddhist center in Myanmar. It houses many prominent pilgrim sites that are centuries old. 

Mahamuni Buddha Temple is the most venerated here because it enshrines Myanmar’s most sacred image of Buddha. Even the interior of the pagoda which is decorated with traditional motifs and intricate details is fascinating to observe. The four-meter tall statue is covered with a thick layer of gold leaf. 

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Every year, thousands of religious devotees come to seek blessings from this place, and we highly recommend you to visit it when you tour in Mandalay. Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, Kuthadow Pagoda, and Sandamuni Pagoda are some other pagodas you can visit.

#2: Explore a Monastery

The teak carvings on the walls of the Shwenandaw Monastery.
The teak carvings on the walls of the Shwenandaw Monastery.

If you want to see how Buddhism is ingrained into the daily life of Myanmar, visit a monastery. You will be able to observe the regular routine of monks and their devoted lifestyle here. 

Located southwest of Inwa Palace is Bagaya Monastery with a tranquil ambiance. Its teak architecture is simply a masterpiece with beautiful ornate structures and intricate carvings. It was first built in 1593 and then built back in 1834 after being burned down by fire. You will notice how monks spend different stages of their training and life here. 

Shwenandaw Monastery and Shwe In Bin Monastery are some other notable monasteries in Mandalay.

#3: Go for a Walk on the U Bein Bridge

The captivating sunset on the U Bein Bridge.
The captivating sunset on the U Bein Bridge.

How about a walk on the world’s longest and the oldest teak bridge as the next of the things to do in Mandalay? 

It was built in 1849 and is 1.2 kilometers long. It is interesting to note that the bridge was created using the remains of a royal palace. The site is spectacular and picture-perfect during sunrise and sunset. It is frequently used by locals to cross Taungthaman Lake and is a major tourist attraction in the country. 

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You can meet and chat with locals here, shop for souvenirs from stalls near the bridge, and even go on a boat ride on the lake! The U Bein Bridge is located 11km south of Mandalay, and you can quickly get there by taxi or local bus.

#4: Head to Dee Doke Waterfalls 

Dee Doke Waterfalls amaze with their clear water and is one of the most beautiful day trips you can take from Mandalay.
Dee Doke Waterfalls amaze with their clear water and is one of the most beautiful day trips you can take from Mandalay.

This is one of the ideal day trips from Mandalay to get away from the city noise and relax for a while. It is located 50km away from Mandalay. The gushing Dee Doke Waterfalls and the surrounding lush greenery are truly a feast for the eyes. 

Read more: The Most Beautiful Waterfalls in Myanmar

Dive into the pool and swim as you wish in its crystal-clear waters or just relax and enjoy. You would definitely want to spend a long time here.  

Remember to wear appropriate footwear because you will have to walk through tough paths to get to the waterfalls.  If you are wondering about the things to do in Mandalay to make your trip more interesting, this is a perfect idea.   

#5: Indulge in Myanmar Food

Prepare to taste some amazing food while staying in Myanmar!
Prepare to taste some amazing food while staying in Myanmar!

If you are a food enthusiast, prepare yourself to taste some delicious Myanmar food here. You have endless choices when it comes to street food, and you will surely be tempted to try them. 

Chapati, Mohinga (rice noodle and fish soup) and Samosa salad are very famous among them. A unique Burmese food you will find here is lahpet thoke which is basically a tea salad that includes pickled tea leaves, roasted peanuts, sesame, garlic, and some other spices. 

Read more: 10 Delicious Street Food You Have to Try in Mandalay!

In addition to Burmese snacks, you will also come across Chinese and thali food here. Looking for good places to try this food? Try Lashio Lay, Pan Cherry, and A Little Bit of Mandalay.

These are the essential things to do in Mandalay!

There are even more things to do in Mandalay!
There are even more things to do in Mandalay!

Mandalay is relatively new compared to other cities in Myanmar and was only founded in 1857. If you are looking for a serene getaway, this city won’t be ideal because it is dominated by skyscraping buildings, crowded streets, and traffic noise. 

However, it has its share of charms with its ancient cultural and colonial influence. If you plan your trip ahead and know about the things to do in Mandalay, you will definitely be impressed by its beauties. 

Read more: The Lovely People of Myanmar

Transportation in Mandalay mainly consists of taxis, local buses, and bikes that can be rented. We suggest you choose what is convenient and budget-friendly for you. 

So, do you find Mandalay as exciting as we do? Then, include it in your bucket list and get ready to explore!

Raeesha Ikram freelance content writer for aSabbatical
Travelling isn’t a mere journey to different places. Instead, it’s an eye-opener revealing how beautifully diverse the world is.