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Mandalay & Environs


Mandalay was founded in 1857 as the capital by King Mindon and remained the capital city of the Konboung, Myanmar's last dynasty. King Mindon built the present Palace City in 1858, it was known as Yadanabon (the Gem City).

Mandalay is situated on the Ayeyarwaddy in central Myanmar, 688km north of Yangon and is reachable by land, waterway and air. Mandalay is the cultural heart of Myanmar. Mandalay's monasteries and pagodas are of great religious significance to all Myanmar.




Situated about 11km south of Mandalay, Amarapura is an ancient capital of the Konbaung Dynasty. Places of interest include the Patodawgyi Pagoda, U Bein Bridge (1208 meters long), silk and cotton weaving workshops and Maha Gandayon Monastery.





Inwa (Ava)

Inwa lies 20 km southeast of Mandalay. Founded by the Shan King Thadominbya in 1364, it remained the royal capital for almost 5thcenturies. Visitors cross the river on a ferry boat and ride around the sites of Ava in a horse-drawn pony cart. Highlights include the Nanmyint Watchtower, Bargaya Teak wood Monastery, Maha Aungmye Bonzan kyaung, Htilaingshin Paya and the workshop making lacquer alms bowl for monks.



The ancient capital of Sagaing lies 21km southwest of Mandalay on the west bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. The Sagaing Hill offer famous religious retreats where monks and nuns go for study and meditation in over 400 monasteries. Nearby is Ywataung Village known for its sliver craftsmen.





Mingun is 11km up river from Mandalay on the western bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. It is noted for the Mingun Paya, a huge unfinished pagoda, Myatheindan Pagoda and a gigantic 90-ton bell the largest uncracked ringing bell in the world. The 45 minutes boat trip to Mingun is a very pleasant way to see the life along the Ayeyarwaddy River. Tourists never fail to visit there.




Monywa, about 140km to the west of Mandalay is a commercial centre of Chindwin Valley. Bodhi-ta-taung Pagoda (one thousand Bo trees), a 300 foot long reclining Buddha, Kyaukka Shweguni Pagoda and lacquer ware village. Thanbodhe Pagoda (with over 500,000 Buddha images), and Shwe Ba Hill and the famous cave of Po Win Taung across the river are major tourist attractions.




Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo)

Pyin Oo Lwin, 1070 meters above sea level, is 67 km east from Mandalay. It is best known as Maymyo, a former British colonial summer retreat. The famous Candacraig Hotel, Kandawgyi Garden (formerly Botanical gardens) and the Pyin Oo Lwin Market are popular sites.

Excursions to Pwe Kauk waterfalls, Peik Chin Myaung cave and a ride on a horse-drawn stagecoach through the town Pyin Oo Lwin is an easy day trip from Mandalay. Hiking trips to the nearby Anisakhan Falls can be arranged.


Hsipaw (Thipaw)

Hsipaw is a Shan town, and was the local capital of a Shan principality.

The old wooden traditional Haw, Palace of the Sawbwa was destroyed by bombing during the last World War, but we were able to visit the interesting modern Sawbwa's residence built during colonial times by Sawbwa Sao Ohn Kya who ruled Hsipaw from 1928 to 1938.

Hispaw has a large local market in the center of the town, with cinemas, small guest houses and restaurants near the bus stands. The Haw is at the northern end of the town and the main pagoda, the Maha Myatmuni Phaya is right at the southern end. The roads are parallel to the Namtu or Dokhtawaddy River with its clear, cool waters against a backdrop of hill and mountains.


Lashio is the trading centre for northern Shan State at the beginning of the famous Burma Road leading into China. From Mandalay you can reach Lashio by road in a day. Lashio has one of the most colorful markets in the state. Each morning Chinese, Wa, Shan, Bamar, Lisu and Palaung national races gather for their daily shopping. It is a mountain town at 855 meters. Quan Yin San Chinese Temple, hot springs and New Pyi Lon Chan Tha Pagoda are among some of the places to visit.


General Information




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