High rise buildings, wide roads and very busy streets. Those are just some things I noticed once we set foot in Mandalay.
You can really see the resemblance with our very own Makati or Cebu. Whichever it is, it only means one thing: Mandalay is one progressive city.
Made me miss Pinas quite a bit at that moment.
There are no direct flights to Myanmar so we decided to take advantage of Air Asia X‘s seat sale months’ prior our trip. Catch is, there will be hours of layover in Kuala Lumpur to get to Yangon.
From Bagan, we took an OK Express Minibus to Mandalay. Bus ride will take 4.5 hours.
WHAT WE DID
Mandalay Sightseeing Part I
After settling down in our hotel the night before, we continued with our Mandalay tour the next morning. Hired a tour driver so we can conveniently go around the city.
That is better than to commute or navigate ourselves to a place we have never been to. Way too stressful! Well, that’s just me.
Mandalay Day 1 Spots to Visit:
Just like the rest of Bagan’s pagodas, Maharmuni Pagoda’s grounds is massive! But I won’t forget this one because we got lost finding our way to the exit.
See, there are four entrance and exit points. We were dropped off at the southern entrance but we didn’t know that since it is our first day in Mandalay and well, we didn’t get lost in Yangon and Bagan so we thought we were good.
Ning, ang sakit sa paa! And since it is a pagoda, you cannot wear footwear inside the vicinity, so there we were, walking and running barefoot finding our way back to our car. First stop and we were both tired agad. Haaay.
Myanmar’s bronze carving is a traditional art used for centuries. Items made are religious images, bells, musical instruments and various household items.
We bought small Buddhist figurines as souvenirs. I let my bf pick since he had an eye for these things and in fairness, mabigat siya ha.
Carving shops in Mandalay are said to produce different wood products. It can vary from Buddha images, marionettes and many other decorative pieces.
We were eyeing a wooden marionette but later second-guessed ourselves for fear that it might be haunted. Come on, I doubt we were the only ones who thought of this. It looks real. Natakot kameng ma-Annabel.
This monastery was built by Chinese merchants and has stood many calamities. It is also made of wood to which really freaked me out since some of the wood panels are squeaking when you step on them.
Got me a bit paranoid since the upper level of the monastery is elevated. I can literally see how high I am going to fall if I misstep.
Yung magaling ko pang jowa, pinagtatawanan lang ako. Irita.
Mandalay Royal Palace
Dubbed as the last palace built by the Burmese royals, such comprises with dozens of buildings as audience halls, monastery and even a Buddhist library all made from teak wood.
It also has a cylinder-shaped watch tower and once you climbed to the top, it provides a better view of the whole palace.
I loved snapping photos of the vicinity because of the dominant reddish brown colors of the roofs adding to the sophistication of the place.
Likewise known as the Golden Palace Monastery and was originally part of the Royal Palace compound. Hence, such was also made of ornate teak wood.
What I observed with this monastery is that the whole building is decorated with intricate wood carvings. Sobrang rustic pati ng kulay, ganda!
‘Atumashi Kyaung’ means ‘incomparable monastery’ and was said to be the one of the King’s last religious project.
Located behind the Shwenandaw Monastery, this caught my eye whilst taking pictures of the latter. The white and gold colors of the pagoda stood out from the background as though it seemed like inviting you to come check it out.
A pagoda that is known for its huge golden zedi, shrines with 1,774 marble slabs and the largest iron Buddha to which the temple was named after, Sandamani.
Legends say that such was built in memory of the crown Prince Kanaung, who was murdered by two of King Mindon Min’s sons who weren’t happy not to be the first in line to be the next King. Tragic, I know.
This pagoda is also known as the world’s largest book named after the surrounding 729 shrines each containing a marble slab with inscribed Buddhist teachings.
You can either climbing the 1,729 steps on the southern stairway or use your own transportation to get to the hill. Of course, we chose the latter. Ang taas kaya! Plus, we are in a hurry so we can secure a good spot for the sunset viewing.
At the top, we were granted with one of the most spectacular panoramic views I have seen! I can see the Royal Palace, Ayeyarwady River and the whole lot of Mandalay. Very stunning indeed.