Introducing the city

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Gasoline £0.56

One-way ticket £0.16

Beer £0.50

Main Course £7.68

About Mandalay

The religious education centre of Myanmar, Mandalay is a curious mix of faded Burmese grandeur, bustling food markets and green, pagoda dotted landscapes.

The one time capital of Myanmar, Mandalay today is rather different from when it was first built. Designed by a Burmese King in the 19th century, the city has all the echos of royal splendour as evident with the white capped spires of Sanda Muni Paya and the golden statues of Mahamuni Pagoda. An absolute highlight is the Golden Palace Monastery which features ornately carved wooden walls - it once acted as the king's palace. Beyond these treasures lie a city that's undergone rapid modernization in recent years and you'll also come across ramshackle market areas serving up wonderfully fresh noodle dishes and homemade street food.

For sweeping city views climb up Mandalay Hill. On the way you'll walk through spectacular temples, many with colorful mosaic designs; early in the morning is a good time to set out if you want to avoid the heat. After, shop for local products like jade, spices, silk and handicrafts at the Zegyo (Ze Cho) Market before catching a cultural show at the Marionettes Theatre.

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Weather

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When Should You Visit?

February is great, with warm but not stifling temperatures and minimal rainfall.

Mandalay features a tropical climate - the wet season runs from May to October and the dry season from November to April. The warmest month is April with an average temperature of 31 degrees Celsius and the coolest month is January with an average temperature of around 21 degrees Celsius. The wettest month is May.

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Travioor top tips

COOKING
CYCLE
MUSEUM TIMES

Insider Info

  • A cookery class is a great way to learn abut local food and culture; most offer free drop offs and pick ups.
  • If you don't mind getting a bit sweaty, a bicycle can be a great way to explore the surrounding (flat) countryside.
  • Some museums and sites are closed on Mondays and shut in the afternoons so check before you go.

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Food and drink

Main Course £7.68

3-Course Meal £9.21

Cappuccino £2.69

Beer £0.50

The Scene

Myanmar eateries serve up a range of food and many dishes are influenced by Thai, Indian and Chinese cuisine. Street stalls, tea shops and buffets are all popular and meals are traditionally served on low tables. Rice (t’ămìn) and noodles are the staple of most meals and are eaten with chopsticks. Hìn-jo, a leafy sour soup and ăthouq, a zesty salad serves with peanuts and chickpeas are popular sides, as is nangyi dhouq, a sort of noodle salad. Two of the best mains are mohinga (rice vermicelli, fish broth, lemon grass, banana stem, fried fish and ginger) and ohn-no khao swè (chicken curry and noodles in a coconut milk broth).

Mandalay's large Shan population means that many of the city's restaurants feature Shan-inspired dishes including wet tha hmyit chin (pickled bamboo shoots with pork) and meeshay (chicken or pork rice noodles, rice fritters, soybean, peanut oil, seasoning and mustard greens) are commonly found on menus. Given its religious diversity, some places won't serve certain types of meat (i.e. Muslims don't eat pork and some Buddhists avoid beef).

Drinking is a big part of culture for some Burmese and is usually done at 'Beer Stations' (bars). A local favourite is Mandalay Beer, a roughly blended local brew available in five per cent (blue label) or seven per cent (red label) options.

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History

Mandalay's Story

The city of Mandalay was founded by King Mindon in 1857 who wished to form a new royal capital of Buddhism. As part of the project he commissioned a citadel, a palace and a library among other things. Once built, the new city was to be the final royal capital of the Konbaung Dynasty (of which King Mindon was the head of during construction). In 1885 the British - when they conquered Myanmar - deposed Mandalay as the capital and sent the residing royal family into exile.

During British Colonial rule it was Yangon, rather than Mandalay, that became the epi-centre for political and economic significance; however Mandalay remained an important centre for Buddhist study and worship. Despite facing devastating air raids during World War II, infrastructure degeneration and dozens of fires in the 1980s, the city has managed to remain a crucial centre for learning and education. It's home to some of the best universities in the country and in recent years has slowly begun to dust itself off in an attempt to return to its former glory.

Language

မဂႆလာပၝ (min-ga-la-ba) | Hello
ေက်းဇူးတန္ပါတယ္။ (cè-zù tin-ba-deh) | Thank you

Burmese

Burmese is a Sino-Tibetan language that is spoken throughout Mandalay. As an ex-British colony, many speak English, signs and tourist information boards are usually in multiple languages. If you fancy giving this complex (but fascinating) language a go, the following phrases might be useful:

  • Excuse me: ခင္ဗဵာ? (ka mya?)
  • How are you?: ခင္ဗ်ားေနေကာင္းလ (k'amyà ne-kaùn-là?)
  • Do you speak English? သင် အင်္ဂလိပ်လို ပြောသလား? (shin aaingaliutlo pyaw lar?)

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Need to know

+952 Dialling Code
199 | 192 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • All visitors to Myanmar require a visa before travelling. 
  • Mandalay is in a relatively safe area although travel advice should be read before going as some parts of the country are off-limits to foreigners. 
  • Respect local Buddhist customs by covering arms and shoulders around temples. Any depictions of Buddha can be seen as offensive (including tattoos). 
  • Taxis (including motorbike taxis) are a relatively efficient and inexpensive way to get around the city. 
  • Women should avoid motorbike taxis after dark. It's also safer for you to hire a taxi via your hotel reception rather than from the street. 
  • Tourists (unlike locals) are only allowed to enter the Royal Palace from the East Gate. 

 

VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for Myanmar here

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Travioor Recommends

1. TEACH THE MONKS

When you climb to the top of Mandalay Hill not only will you enjoy city views but you'll also find young Buddhist monks keen to practice their English.

2. LOCAL FOOD

Mandalay is home to a wealth of restaurants - one of the best is Shan Ma Ma which serves regional dishes. Our favourite is the lemon chicken and fried rice.

3. PRIVATE GUIDE

Want a private tour guide on the cheap? The motorbike and trishaw drivers double as city chaperones and can show you all the insider haunts.

4. PALACE VISIT

For a magical experience, visit the Royal Palace in late afternoon as the setting sun illuminates the gold roofs, creating beautiful glowing tones.

5. SECRET SHOWS

For a unique experience head to the home of the Moustache Brothers, a comedy trio who perform nightly shows of Burmese dances which feature jokes - tickets not needed.


See What's On In Mandalay  


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