Ahh Mandalay, surely one of the most evocative destination names in the world (up there with Zanzibar and Timbuktu). Rudyard Kipling may have had something to do with that with his poem (On the road to) Mandalay. For our generation, being in the middle of a land that had been under an economic embargo, Mandalay still sounds like it’s from a far away and exotic land, in an era when lands are aren’t as far away any more.
Those who have been will soon tell you that the romance of the name doesn’t match the reality on the ground. Much of the city was destroyed in World War II, and todays Mandalay is built in the cheap Chinese concrete style. There is a palace in the centre of the city, and before I arrived the map kind of reminded me of Chiang Mai, giving me the impression it might be a lovely place to stroll around. The Mandalay Palace you see today is a post war facsimile and houses military personnel, so I just admired the view of these trees along the long stretch of moat the surrounds the palace instead.
Mandalay hotels – Search for discount hotels in Mandalay with lowest rates guaranteed.
Mandalay Travel Guide – wikitravel.org.
Heading North – 10 things to do in Mandalay – escapology.eu.
Mandalay Tours – Tours and things to do selected by Viator.
Mandalay and Other Cities of the Past in Burma – By V. C. Scott Oconner.
Mandalay Map: Gateway to Myanmar (Burma) Map – By Caroline Courtauld.
At 1.2 km long U Bein Bridge is the longest teak bridge in the world. The bridge crosses over a shallow lake at Amarapura (now a suburb of Mandalay), which was the former capital of Burma.
Most guides recommend coming out in the evening to catch the bridge at sunset. I was leaving that day so I made do with a morning visit. The bridge was streaming with school kids making their daily crossing, and whenever you have a big camera hanging around your neck there are always requests for photos.
Mandalay Photo Gallery – Photo gallery of my trip to Mandalay.