Myanmar (Burma): Things to See and Do in Mandalay (Tourist Attractions)

Mandalay, Myanmar is the second-largest city and the last Royal capital of Burma. The city is the economic and religious hub of upper Myanmar and is centered around the Royal Palace. Mandalay is ethnically diverse with Burmans forming a slight majority. The city is neatly planned with its lettered roads and numbered streets, and was created in British fashion. Mandalay enjoys a semi tropical climate. Because it is in the central dry zone, it receives far less rain than the more tropical south.

Mandalay, Myanmar is great for tourism, travel and backpacking. Here is a list of recommendations for things to see and do around Mandalay.

Mandalay Hill:

Mandalay Hill is a 790ft hill located northeast of the city. Climbing the hill has been a major pilgrimage site for Buddhists for almost two centuries. At its top are famous pagodas and temples. The entrance to the stairway is protected by two Chinthes, huge leogryphs that often guard temples or pagodas in Southeast Asia.

Mandalay Palace:

Once the home of the last king of Myanmar, this massive fortress acts as the center of gravity for the city of Mandalay.  Despite its size and significance, most travelers report it to be a little underwhelming.  However even if you decide not to venture in, it’s surely worth a look from the outside.


Just an hours boat ride away from Mandalay alongside the Ayeyarwady River is the Mingun Temple. It is an uncompleted structure began by King Bodawpaya in 1790. An astrologer was said to have predicted its finish would lead to the kings death.

Shwenandaw Monastery:

Shwenandaw Monastery was built by King Mindow in the mid 1800’s. The monastery is famous for is beautiful wood carvings. The wooden monastery is carved all over with mythical creatures and motifs. This is located at the foot of Mandalay Hill. The Shwenandaw is a wonderfully fragile yet grand example of 19th century Myanmar teak architecture and also a significant masterpiece of the wood carver’s art.

Maha Myat Muni Paya:

Maha Myat Muni Paya is Myanmar’s second holiest pilgrimage site. It is a 4-metre high statue, made of gold and decorated with precious jewels. You can also take part in a ceremony painting a Buddha statue with gold leaf.

Zach Savage Written by:

Zach was raised in Indiana. He spent some time during his 20's in the U.S. Navy. The rest of the time he has been backpacking around the United States, visiting various state and national parks while attending music festivals in the mid-west as much as possible.