Mandalay City is almost 40km away from the airport and it was almost an hour's airport taxi ride into the city. Our accomodation was at Home Hotel, a rather popular 3-stars hotel in the city. Rooms were large and tastefully furnished.
After checking in, we headed to a popular local dinner place, Shan Ma Ma Restaurant, for our first dinner. This eatery is popular with both locals and foreigners, and offers Burmese Shan cuisine. For the amount of food that we ordered, the price came up to be very affordable!
Called it a night as there is barely any night life in Mandalay. The next day, it was an early start to join a day-tour. Breakfast was included in the hotel rate. The choices, though limited, was sufficient to start the day. The item I liked most was the traditional Burmese breakfast dish, Mohinga, which is a slightly spicy and flavourful soup noodles.
Morning city view from room.
First stop of the day is Mahamuni Buddha Temple
Maha Myat Muni Paya is Myanmar's second holiest pilgrimage site. It is a 4-metre high Buddha statue, made of gold and decorated with precious jewels. The image was brought from Rakhine State, southeast of Mandalay. Only men are allowed to approach the Mahamuni. For 1600kyat, you can get a small pack of gold leaves to partake in the ceremonial tradition of decorating the buddha statue. Over the past century a layer of gold over 6" deep has been pressed into the body of Mahamuni. (wiki)
Next stop is U-Bein bridge, the world's longest teak bridge.
Followed by an alms receiving ceremony at a monastary.
We passed by a grand procession, which is a ceremony to inaugurate young novice monks and nuns. According to the guide, such a grand ceremony is only affordable by the wealthy.
Visit to a handicraft workshop.
Having a traditional Burmese meal. Lots of tasty side dishes, and an interesting savoury 'tea salad' as dessert.
A local temple.
Gold leaves making
Mandalay Hill ahead.
Visit to the Royal Palace.
It was built in 1861 by King Mindon, to fulfil a prophecy. The palace, although destroyed in World War II, was rebuilt, and was renovated recently. In addition, while the design of the reconstruction was fairly faithful to the original, the materials used were not (metal was use instead of the original teak wood). The palace contains several pavilions and chambers. Replicas of throne rooms and chairs and Madame Tussaud style images of Kings Mindon and Thibaw with their chief consorts are on display. (Wiki)
It is a monastery made entire out of teak wood with beautiful intricate carvings. It was originally part of the royal palace built by King Mindon and moved to its current location by his son, King Thibaw in the late 19th century. It is the only major building from the original wooden royal palace to have survived the bombing during World War II, and thus is the only authentic part of the royal palace which can still be seen today. (Wiki)
is site of the world's largest book, located at the foot of Mandalay Hill. Built by King Mingdon in the 1800s, 729 white stupas within the complex contain the complete text of the Tripitaka, Theravada Buddhism's most sacred text. (Wiki)
Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda
Contains an image of the Buddha carved out of a single block of marble from the Sagyin Hill. The figures of 80 arahats or the disciples of the Buddha, are arranged around the central shrine, 20 on each side. The carving of the image was completed in 1865. (Wiki)
At the peak of Mandalay Hill for sunset.
One of the shopping centers in Mandalay, which was sadly, not very busy with many empty shops.
Dinner at Mogok Daw Shan Noodle. Its Shan noodles is amazing, as well as the very tasty dumplings.
It was a very pleasant short flight on Myanmar National Airlines on the RGN-MDL sector with very pleasant service and good inflight offerings. I woud have to qualms flying with MNA again if I have the chance in the future.