Immortalised by Rudyard Kipling, Mandalay was established in 1857 in accordance with an ancient Buddhist prophecy. It was the final capital of Myanmar’s Konbaung Dynasty before the country was annexed by the British. The city takes its name from Mandalay Hill and is centred around the walls and moat of the old palace, which was destroyed in the fighting of World War II but was rebuikt in the 1990s. Mandalay is consider a centre of Buddism in Myanmar and also home of many of the country’s craft industries.
SEE AND DO:
Walk up Mandalay Hill, where more than 2000 years ago the Buddha reputedly prophesied the establishment of the modern city. Cross the Ayeyarwady River to Mingun, home to a giant unfinished Visit U Bein Bridge, a beautiful 1.2 kilometre long structure built from teak planks. The local mayor, U Bein, salvaged the wood from pieces of the dismantled teak palace at Amarapura when the capital moved to Mandalay.The bridge’s beauty is not simply in its structure, but that it remains a central part of the community, with hundreds of locals and saffron-robed monks walking their bicycles home along it, and fishermen going about their daily work in its shadow. The best time to see the bridge is at sunset, and the best photo opportunities are afforded by hiring a boat to get a close up view of the bridge from the water.