North west of Yangon is a beautiful city called Mandalay, with many interesting places to visit!
You can fly there directly from Yangon and Golden Myanmar airlines is a good choice to do that.
First of all let’s talk about where to stay:
Personally I had booked my accommodation at Sanctuary Hotel, a nice hotel in the center of the city, with a good restaurant and puppet show at the rooftop!
For my first day I booked, with the help of the hotel manager, a one-day tour to the three Ancient Cities (Sagaing, Ava, Amarapura).
And it was good that I did! Our guide, Tun Tun, was great. He was very knowledgeable, patient and pleasant and we learnt so much about the sights, but also about Myanmese culture.
Here is where we went and my suggestions of places to visit in Mandalay:
The Myanmar Handicraft Workshop, which was interesting.
The Soon U Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, which is a temple at the top of Sagaing hill, with a great view.
The Mahagandayon Monastery
Established around 1908 as a meditation monastery for forest-dwelling monks, Mahagandhayon Monastery now is the country’s most prominent monastic college and home to about 2000 monks and nuns at any given time. Everyday, before 10:00 am, the resident monks line up silently and systematically for their lunch, the last meal of the day.
The Bagaya Monastery
A magnificent monastery made from teak wood.
The ancient city Ava.
An amazing city with old temples, some of which were affected by the earthquakes of 1839.
The Silk Weaving Workshop, where they produce beautiful silk creations.
The U Bein Bridge at sunset.
Last stop of the day was this magnificent 1,2 km long wooden bridge.
For the second day I decided to rent a scooter, to see the rest of Mandalay.
I saw the Mahamuni Buddha image.
The application of gold leaf by male devotees (women may only watch) has left a figure with a 6 inch layer of pure gold.
I visited the Shweinbin Monastery, another beautiful teak wood monastery in Mandalay.
Then I visited the Golden palace monastery. I was impressed by this temple, with its amazing wood carvings that make it stand out.
Another temple I visited was the Maha Atulaveyan Temple.
Located next to the Golden Palace monastery, it’s easy to access it and some extra pictures.
I visited the Kuthodaw Pagoda, with the world’s largest book.
Another pagoda I went to, was the Sandamuni Pagoda. Located next to the Kathodaw Pagoda, it has the largest iron Buddha image and 1774 slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings.
And my last visit was at the Royal Palace.
An amazing and impressive Palace.
Where to eat in Mandalay:
At the Mingalabar Myanmar Restaurant, which is great for local food.
The Soi Thai Kitchen, for really good thai food.
And finally there is the Indian Tadka Mandalay, which is a very good Indian restaurant.