Mandalay was the last royal capital of the Burmese kingdom, before the British colonial era. Mandalay is considered the country's cultural heartland and acts as an important trade centre of Upper Myanmar. This young, vibrant and lively city houses some of Myanmar's most revered pagodas as well as its finest handicraft workshops like woodcarvings, silverware, tapestries, silk, and other products.
Royal Palace: This imposing palace was built by King Mindon in 1857, when he decided for Mandalay to be the Royal City. It was essentially a walled city within Mandalay which was destroyed by a fire on 20th March 1945 during a fierce fighting between advancing British troops and the occupying Japanese forces. It was recently reconstructed, but with concrete instead of flammable wood. You can visit the miniature palace and then stroll through the reconstruction, housing a lot of original artefacts. Afterwards, climb the 33-meter-high watchtower with views over the whole palace compound and the city. The fort also contains the tomb of King Mindon and the Sabbath Hall.
Mahamuni Pagoda: The Mahamuni Pagoda was built by King Bodawpaya in 1784. However, the original shrine was destroyed in 1884 by a fire, so that the current one is of comparatively recent origin. It features the Mahamuni Buddha image that was transported to Mandalay from Mrauk Oo in 1784, possibly cast as long ago as the 1st century. The four-meter-high image is cast in bronze, but over the years it has been covered with a thick layer of gold leafs. In the courtyard there are six bronze Khmer figures that were brought back from Mrauk Oo and have their actual origins in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Shwe Inbin Monastery: This monastery, dating 1895, features exquisite wooden carvings along the balustrades and roof cornices.
Shwe Nandaw Monastery: This “Golden Palace Monastery” is a fragile reminder of the old Mandalay Fort. Once part of the palace complex and used as an apartment by King Mindon, who died in this building, King Thibaw had dismantled and reassembled it at its present site in 1880.
Kuthodaw Pagoda: The 729 marble slabs surrounding this pagoda are inscribed with the entire Tripitaka, earning this pagoda the moniker of "the world's biggest book".
Kyauktaw-Gyi Pagoda: The pagoda is famous for its huge seated Buddha image, carved from one single block of marble. Until a couple of years ago it was the biggest single carved image in the world.
Mandalay Hill: After a pleasant climb, this hill, topped with a temple style pagoda of mirrored hallways, offers a fantastic view all over the city and the central plain. The Mandalay Hill is a must and can be visited all day long, but enjoying the sunset from the pagoda on top of the hill is always a nice ending of a hot day. (driving up halfway, missing no important sights, cuts the walk to only 20 minutes)
- Marble carving and wood carving, as well as some embracement tapestry on Sagaing Mandalay Road
- Bronze foundries
- Gold-leaf making in the south east of the city
- Silk Weaving