In a land of breathtaking temple structures and spectacular pagodas, Mandalay has one of the best collections of such to offer its apparent discoverers.
Mandalay, as an economic centre of Burma, not only offers high-end amenities but also a number of memorable experiences. Residents of Mandalay are extremely proud of their cultural identity and would go the extra mile in showing tourists what made them culturally unique – these people’s eagerness makes them honest and extremely engaging to interact.
Mandalay was the last royal capital of Burma before the Burmese people shifted to the Republic system. Since most of the temples in Burma were commissioned by the ruling monarch at the time, the popular structures in Burma are relatively new and extremely accessible to the public. After the 11th century, Myanmar adopted Buddhism as its religion, which dictated the purpose of these constructions. Be awestruck by the glittering golden plated pagodas of Eindawya Paya and the Maha Lawka Marazein Kuthodaw. Survey all of Mandalay and enjoy the panoramic views at the Mandalay Hill. Relive the monarch’s glory days as you tour the Mandalay Royal Palace. Experience the comforts of royalty by boarding the Pyi Gyi Mon Royal Barge as it floats in the serene waters of Kandawgyi Lake. Appreciate the Burmese people’s devotion to their religion by spending some time in the Sanda Muni Cast Buddha Image and the extremely sacred and important Buddha Tooth Relic Pagoda. You need not worry about the attractions’ entrance fees since the government regulates it to be affordable and tourist-friendly. You also need not worry about your finances since Mandalay’s costs are very affordable – with a little perseverance, that is. Rest assured, your Mandalay experience will be as smooth as the pagoda’s stupas.
Even though Mandalay has an international airport, it does not cater to flights from the west – it mostly accepts flights from neighbouring Asian countries. Therefore, international flights would almost always arrive at the Yangon International Airport. From there, board a domestic flight to Mandalay and discover the city by buses, taxis, trucks, vans, and rented motorcycles.
The currency used in Myanmar is the Myanmar Kyat with the recent exchange rate at MMK 1,457.53 for USD 1. Good news is that Mandalay is an economic hub of the country, so banks are littered around the city and the accessibility of sources of money are assured to be safe and hassle-free. The lowest accommodation cost you can encounter is USD 8 with no meals included. Meal prices start at about USD 2.
Since Mandalay is situated near the equator, expect it to have a tropical wet and dry climate. The coolest temperatures can be experienced at the beginning of the year, 21 degree Celsius at average, with increasing humidity and heat intensity as summer approaches, sometimes exceeding 35 degree Celsius, and a rainy season throughout the year. The wet and dry season divide the annual climate with the wet season falling on May to October, leaving the remaining months as the dry season.
Motorcycle taxis fill the city and can be availed at almost any location. With prices ranging from MMK 1,000 for a short ride to 10,000 Kyats for a whole day hiring to tour Mandalay – expect these rates to double when planning to avail a taxi cab. Buses and pick-up trucks also offer transportation services, only leaving for their destination when their vehicle is jam-packed – it costs MMK 500 as fare. You can avail of a tour package that will direct your itinerary and would provide you comfort for the rest of your Mandalay escapade at the lowest price of USD 600 for 4 days.
Mandalay’s food choices are extremely varied since traders from all places converge here. Meals at inexpensive restaurants start at a low USD 2, while more luxurious ones charge USD 12 to 20. Fast food restaurants can also be found in the vicinity with meals as low as USD 5. You could also opt to try their street food with prices starting at USD 0.50. Realistically, you can survive Mandalay on any budget!
This combination of comfort, hospitality, and unrivalled cultural wealth puts Mandalay at the forefront of Myanmar’s must-visit cities!