Exploring Mandalay Region

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Mandalay is the only practicable base from which to explore the sights in the city and its sandy environs. Foremost among these are the rebuilt royal palace and the finely carved teak Shwenandaw Monastery. Mandalay Hill and the bustling Mahamuni Temple warrant a detour, as does U Bein’s teak bridge at Amarapura. Other essential stops in the area include the vestiges of the giant unfinished stupa at Mingun, reached by a memorable boat trip upriver; the elegant brick and stucco ruins of medieval Inwa (Ava); and the pagoda-covered hill at Sagaing. With two or three more days to spare, excursions can be made to a trio of lesser-visited sights around Monywa to the west, and to the colonial hill station of Pyin U Lwin to the east, which offers a leafy escape from the heat of the central plain.

Getting Around

Mandalay’s palace and hill can be covered on foot, but a taxi will be needed to get to the Mahamuni Temple and Amarapura on the city’s southern edge, and for day trips to Inwa (Ava) and Sagaing. Mingun can be accessed by boat. Monywa is reachable by bus, and the sights around it are accessible using the Chindwin ferry and motorcycle taxis. There is a train service from Mandalay city to Pyin U Lwin and the Gokteik Bridge. Meiktila is on the Mandalay– Yangon bus route, and Thazi train station, east of the town, is on the Yangon, Mandalay, and Taunggyi lines.

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