12 Hours in Mandalay
The second-largest city in Myanmar today, Mandalay has remained throughout its history the capital of culture and religion of the country. The city is also one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites. If you’ve just got a day in Mandalay, we have put together the perfect itinerary just for you. Don’t miss a thing in Mandalay!
1. Attend Cooking Class
Imagine strolling through a wet market, picking up the perfect ingredients for a delicious Burmese meal with the help of a local, and then cooking all of that fresh seasonal produce in a open space roof top. That’s what Ma Ma Guest House Mandalay is doing. Even though it is a guest house, Su is passionate about cooking and she is probably the one and only one in Mandalay to offer cooking classes. Su has been living in Singapore for the past 20 years and it is only recently that she moves back to Mandalay to help her mother with the business.
We begin the class directly at the market where we will tour the stands and pick out produce with Su and learn all about the products available: seasonal vegetables, meats and poultry and more! The chef will help you decide what to cook – all depending on what’s in season and our preferences. Every market trip is a unique experience. All I have to do is be curious and ask questions!
So when we get to the guest house, cooking begins. We will work together to create the menu, then Su will guide you through the recipes. That day, we prepared Burmese Styled Chicken Curry, Traditional Burmese Soup, Burmese Mixed Salads, Browned Dishes (Mandalay style) and Stir fried vegetable (seasonal). Once you have done all the hard work creating the meal, you get to enjoy the fruits of your labour over lunch, conversing with your fellow food enthusiasts. What else do you need for a perfect day in Mandalay? Don’t worry, all classes are taught completely in English!
Ma Ma Guest House Mandalay
Address: 60th Street, between 25th and 26th Streets
Contact: (+95) 2-33411 / Alice (+95) 9444 043284 / Su (+95) 9105 0415
2. Visit a small town – Mingun
Just an hour’s boat ride away from Mandalay, along the Ayeyarwady River, is the little town of Mingun. Even from a distance, one can see from the boat the massive ruins of the Mantara Gyi Pagoda. It was built by King Bodawpaya and aimed to be the biggest padoda in the world. But it was uncompleted and said to bring bad luck if finished. Only a third of of the pagoda was completed. Huge cracks are visible on the structure from the earthquake in 1839. Nonetheless, it is still spectacular.
While at Mingun, also visit the largest ringing bell in the world. King Bodawpaya had a gigantic bell cast to go with his huge stupa, and the Mingun Bell was cast in bronze and weighs 90 tons. On the northern edge of Mingun stands the impressive Hsinbyume Pagoda (Myatheindan Pagoda), built by King Bagyidaw in memory of his favorite wife. Its unusual architecture is quite striking. Seven terraces surrounded the pagoda which represents the seven mountain ranges around Mount Meru.
3. Visit Golden Monastery
The Shwenandaw Monastery is one of the fine examples of traditional 19th century wooden monastery in the country. The monastery is also called the Golden Palace Monastery, because it used to be part of the Mandalay Royal Palace and was completely gilded. If you were to look closely, you can see that the walls and roofs are elaborately decorated with the exquisite sculptures in wood or marble.
4. Visit Kuthodaw Pagoda
The Kuthodaw pagoda in Mandalay comprises of a gilded pagoda, hundreds of shrines housing inscribed marble slabs and several pavilions. The pagoda is also called “the world’s largest book”, named after the 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings, each stone slab representing one of its pages. The works started in 1860 and took 8 years to complete.
5. Climb up the Mandalay Hill
Mandalay Hill is a 240 metres hill that is located to the northeast of the city centre of Mandalay in Burma. Go for the climb if you are fit for it. Or, if you are lazy like me, a one-way motor road today saves time and also makes it accessible for those who are unable to climb up the stairs, leading to an escalator to the pagoda at the summit. The sunset here is STUNNYING! You can see the western hills and river from Mandalay Hill and it is recommended to spend your evenings here.
6. Dinner at Mingalabar
“MinGaLaBar” is not just a word of greeting in Myanmar but also a name of newly opened Myanmar traditional restaurant near Mandalay Palace. It offers variety of Myanmar-style traditional cuisines, including Myanmar’s famous salads, traditional desert, Shan noodle, and fresh fruits.
Address: 71 Street, Between 28th and 29th streets, Mandalay, Mandalay
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 6am to 9pm
View Tripadvisor review here.
SilkAir flies to Mandalay thrice a week, through a circular routing with Yangon, departing Singapore on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. *SPECIAL PROMOTION* SilkAir is currently having a promotion to Mandalay. All-in return fares from SGD379! Promotion is valid till 30 September 2015 and travel has to be completed by 19 November 2015. To view more, please click here. Follow SilkAir Facebook / Instagram / Twitter for updates. Or read more blog for my SilkAir experience.