Destination of Mandalay
The second largest city of Myanmar, with a population of 700,000, here lies the cultural heart of Myanmar where the most refined arts, traditions of dance, music and drama live on. Mandalay is also the main economic center of upper of Myanmar, something of a boom city after opening border trade with China today. Mandalay is known for its fine gold and silver crafts, wood and marble stone carving, silk thread weaving and ancient tapestry. Besides handicrafts workshops, most famous places of tourist attractions are Yadanarpon Diamond Plaza, Shwenandaw Golden Palace Monastery, Kuthodaw Pagoda and Mandalay Hill. Mandalay is surrounded by several ancient capitals and places of interest such as Amarapura, Sagaing, Inwa (Ava), Mingun where Kongboung dynasty kings established their capitals respectively and Pyin Oo Lwin (May Myo) which are worth visiting.
Located across majestic Ayeyarwaddy River approximately 11 km north of Mandalay. Mingun today hosts the world second largest ringing Bell of 90 tons in weigh and unfinished pagoda to go with it. Mingun Pagoda was dedicated to be the world largest monument however which today stood to be the world largest brick pile. It is reached by ferry boats across the river and takes 1 hour for up-river and 40 minutes for down-river. A boat trip to Mingun is pleasant with plenty of life on the river to see.
Inwa was formerly known as Ava and it is located across Myitnge River about 20 km southwest of Mandalay, is the capital of Myanmar Kingdom for nearly 400 years. All the major buildings, which are not destroyed during the earthquake of 1838, had been transferred first to Amarapura and then to Mandalay however the 27 meters high watchtower known as the “leaning tower of Ava” and Bargaya teak monastery which is famous for it’s teak pillars amounting to 267 in total, are still can be seen today. Visitors cross the river on a ferry boat and ride around the sites of Ava in a horse-drawn cart.
Sagaing is situated on the west bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River, 21 km south-west of Mandalay. Today, Sagaing is the capital of Sagaing Division and known as a meditation centre. The Sagaing Hills offer famous religious retreats and a centre for Buddhist studies and meditation in over 400 monasteries. Kaungmudaw, an enormous dome-shaped Pagoda, Soon Oo Ponnya Shin Pagoda, Umin Thonzeh (thirty caves) Pagoda and nearby is Ywataung village known for its silver craftsmen.
A picturesque town on the Chindwin River, Monywa is located 140 km north-west from Mandalay. It was known as Thalawadi before. On the way to Monywa and before you reach the town there is unusual Buddhist temple complex called Mohnyin Thanboddhay. Excursion to Po-Win-Taung Cave and Shwe Ba Taung is the highlights of Monywa. Kyaukkar lacquerware industry and Po-Win-Taung which is located across the Chindwin River , you can be see near Monywa.
PYIN OO LWIN (MAYMYO)
Pyin Oo Lwin is situated about 69 km up hill from Mandalay, over1000 metres above sea level and has a delightfully cool and pleasant weather all year round. It is best known as Maymyo, a former British colonial summer retreat and famous as a summer resort or a hill station. The National Kandawgyi Garden and the Pyin Oo Lwin Market are popular sites. The other places of interest in the vicinity of the town are Pwe Kauk Falls, Peik Chin Myaung Cave and a ride on a horse-drawn stage-coach through the town can be enjoyed. Pyin Oo Lwin is an easy day trip from Mandalay. Hikking trips to the nearby Anisakan and Dattawgyike Water Falls can be arranged.
Hsipaw also known as Thibaw is a town in Northern Shan State located on the riverbank of Dokhtawady River. It is about 200 km (124 miles) northeast of Mandalay and 73 km (45 miles) from Lashio. It’s about a 5 hours scenic drive via Pyin Oo Lwin(Maymyo), Naungcho-Naungpain (railway stations for Goktheik Viaduct) andKyauk Me. It takes only 1.5 hours drive from the airport in Lashio with a possibilityof stopping at a Hindu temple, fruit plantations, Palaung (hill-tribe villages),Hydroelectric powered ice-mill, and a small lake.
It is a trading town in Northern Shan State accessible by road and train from Mandalay. From Lashio, the famous Burma Road built by the British before the War, intersects with Ledo Road leading into the Yunnan Province. Each morning Chinese, Wa, Shan, Myanmar, Lisu and Palaung nationalities gather for their daily shopping. It is a mountain town at 855 meter. Quan Yin San Chinese Temple, hot springs and New Pyi Lon Chan Tha Paya are among some of the places to visit.
Mogok, known as the Gems City, is some 115 km north-east of Mandalay. Myanmar rubies, sapphires and emeralds and other precious stones are mined in Mogok area. Only packaged tours with special permission are allowed to visit Mogok.
HKHAMTI (THE NAGA LAND)
Although most people have heard about Naga tribes there are some who have seen them and only a few who have been to their area. Numerous Naga tribes spread throughout the north-western hills of Myanmar. Among the indigenous tribes are Kachin, Hkhamti Shan and Naga (The Naga were famous for their prominent head hunting custom which no longer exist today but the various tribes can be seen in the market or at their work). Their settlement are up in the Lahe and Lashi Naga hills by the Saramari Mt. of some 3827 m, which still is some how in accessible. Subject to travel, one could trek to the Naga Hills and may be scale the Mt. Saramari: the un-inhabitant nature splendour. Every January, Naga Traditional New Year Festival will be held in Lahe township, Sagaing Division, next to the Chin State.