The Last Royal Capital

Written by kszil

And I am back again to follow up with the rest of my trip to Myanmar in February. After Yangon, I flew to the last royal city and the second largest city in Myanmar, Mandalay. When my tour guide informed me that Mandalay is the motorcycle city of Myanmar.

The city imports motorcycles from China and it is not uncommon to have to wait for motorcycles to cross the road before a car can cross. For two nights, I stayed at the Eastern Palace Hotel. (Warning: This hotel had the best Wi-Fi out of all the hotels I stayed at in Myanmar.)

One of the most memorable parts of my trip was the visit to Mahagandhayon Monastery in Amarapura where you can watch hundreds of monks line up for lunch. I learned that monks have breakfast very early and lunch is served at 10:30AM. Monks are not allowed to eat after noon. At this monastery, there are little boys from the age of five and above. The little boys are training to be monks. The meals are provided for the monks here and they don’t have go outside of their monastery to find food for the day.

U-Bein Bridge is a 0.6 miles long wooden bridge which connects to towns. You can see locals going from one town to another, many people taking pictures at sunset, and locals selling handmade goods. (Warning: The Bridge is very unstable and I was afraid that the nails from the wooden planks would pierce through my flip flops.)

Inwa is a small island you can visit to check out Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery, Bagaya Kyang Monastery, and Nanmyin Watchtower. (Warning: As you are waiting for the boat to cross to this small island, you will get swarmed with people trying to sell you stuff. Just say NO and move away from them.)

Royal Palace is another must see in Mandalay which has been rebuilt since it was almost burned down to the ground by the Allies. The palace ground is located inside the compound since the rest of the area is a military base where Burmese military officials live. Outside of the palace grounds, Shwenandaw Monastery is the only teak wooden building which survived the bombings. Kuthodaw Pagoda is surrounded by 729 upright stone slabs on which are inscribed teachings about Buddhism.

Finally, Mandalay Hill is a holy mountain which provides visitors with a magnificent view of the city and surrounding countryside. It is said that Buddha has prophesied that a great city would be built on the bottom of this mountain.

Be on the lookout for the next city!