Mandalay is the second largest city and former royal capital in northern Myanmar. Founded by King Mindon at the foot of Mandalay Hill in 1857. The city is relatively new and much of it was restored during 1990s after being leveled during second World War like Royal Palace. Nowadays walking through the same street, you can witness new private house block district appearing right next to a block of shacks which are owned by less earning locals. The difference between them and inequality gap is huge and exploring behind shining pagodas, Royal Palace or marvelous Hill views can be a bit shocking.

As city was and still is growing very fast construction was never about the beauty or esthetic, thus, Mandalay could probably never be called a beautiful city. On top of that pollution from growing number cars and motorcycles adds up creating a cover of smog around the city.

Nevertheless, if you can ignore all the noise, pollution and inequality, it has its own charm and many sights to offer! It could be named one of the most appealing destinations in the country for travelers. Not only because of great location to be used as a base while exploring the north of Myanmar but also many still standing monasteries, splendid markets, gold workshops and nature surrounding the city. Most of the incredible sights here are situated outside the city while still many of which are free to visit. It is best to take your time and feel the vibe of the city, experience the local hospitality and sharing a drink with them in a local teahouse or a “Beer stop”.

Helpful tips

Restaurants. There are multiple places in the city where you can find descent food. In most of the local restaurants you will find price and quality ratio alright and food fresh. Stop by and try local food in street markets, look for a cleaner place and enjoy!

Most of all we enjoyed food in Thai style restaurants around our hotel, thus, if you are in Myanmar just a short time, we suggest you to explore the surroundings and find the best place to try local cuisine.

Markets. In Mandalay as in almost every other city in Myanmar you will not easily find a lot of cheap souvenirs to put on your fridge. However, we encourage to walk around and look for hand made goods in local markets. Here they will charge you less the less you look like a tourist and if you know some simple Myanmar phrases, that will melt their hearts away. In shops all over city prices vary around same level, thus, choose a more convenient for you. We did not find a shop which would accept card payment, thus, be prepared and have some cash with you!

Transportation. To get to Mandalay you can use car, bus, train or plane as it is second largest city of Myanmar. We traveled to Mandalay using hitchhiking from Pyin Oo Lwin. The road was relatively wide and with not a lot of construction. Either way you choose, be aware that in many cases infrastructure is underdeveloped, roads are small and sometimes two-line road (one line each direction) is already considered as a highway. Traveling with trains between major cities are alright, however, if you plan to visit more remote areas, be prepared to spend some quality time in the process. So, at this point you must be able to enjoy the trip not only the destination.

Inside the city you will find yourself using local Tuk Tuk’s, Taxies, bikes or scooters which are one of the most convenient transportation devices used to get around. However, exploration is doable on foot if you decide to skip on bike.

Best of luck planning your holidays in Myanmar!

Is there anything else you would like to visit while in Myanmar?

If you have anything in mind, please let us know and let’s discuss it.

For more traveling tips subscribe to our newsletter!

Don't forget to SUBSCRIBE to make sure you get all our latest videos

Follow us on Instagram !

Subscribe our newsletter!