Mandalay is the second largest city of Myanmar, located at the very heart of the country. The city lies on the bank of the Irrawaddy River and is the cultural and economic center of Upper Myanmar, the latter mostly for its extensive trade with China and its growing trade with India. There are some interesting sights here, mostly the Royal Palace grounds, but besides that the city is a convenient and well connected jumping point into the surrounding countryside.
Mandalay came into existence in 1857 when then king Mindon wanted to fulfill a prophecy that a Buddhist metropolis was to come into being. He constructed a new capital, out of which Burmese royalty were to spend their last decades on the throne. Bombings during the Second World War by first Japanese and then Allied forces destroyed most of the original cultural wealth, and the sights that you can visit today are largely reconstructions.
Besides the Royal Palace (which is still beautiful if you can get over the fact that it is a replica), there are a number of religious attractions like the splendid golden Buddha at Maha Myat Muni Paya (the holiest pagoda of the city) and the Shwenandaw Monastery with intricate wood carvings. Most impressive of all though are the pagodas and temples that stand up Mandalay Hill.
Outside of Mandalay you find other attractive towns like Amarapura, Sagaing, Mingun and Inwa. [Review by travelindicator]
- Mandalay is a city in Myanmar. It has a population of 952,570, is situated at an altitude of 256ft and the best airport to fly into is MDL (Mandalay International, Mandalay)
- The main spoken language here is Burmese, and the average English skill is low
- Note: Mandalay is a good point of entry for trips to Myanmar as it is well internationally connected (by air)
- The currency used in Myanmar is the Myanma kyat (MMK)
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