Mandalay was the last royal capital of the Burmese kingdom, before the British colonial era. Mandalay is considered the country as cultural heartland and acts as an important trade centre of Upper Myanmar. This young, vibrant and lively city houses some of Myanmar are most revered pagodas as well as its finest handicraft workshops.
Former ancient capital cities Ava, Sagaing and Amarapura are all within easy reach of Mandalay and are well worth a visit, should time permit. Iconic attractions include the 200 years old U Bein Bridge in Amarapura, hundreds of white, silver and golden pagodas, meditation centres and monasteries which forms the hilly landscape of Sagaing and horse-cart rides around rural ruins of Ava.
Approximately one hour from Mandalay, across the Irrawaddy River, Mingun can be discovered with a fascinating boat ride. The main attractions in this small town are one of the largest remaining bells, as well as the earthquake-ravaged base of an unfinished pagoda which would have been the tallest in the world if it had not have fallen.