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About Mandalay

Rudyard Kipling's "The Road to Mandalay" made the name of the last capital of Myanmar kings familiar even to those who had never heard of Myanmar or Burma. Mandalay is well known for its rich traditional, cultural and spiritual splendor, but also offers exquisite handicraft such as hand-woven embroidery in silk and cotton, the incredible process of making gold leaves, wood and stone carving, and bronze casting etc. The river jetty at Mandalay is a beehive of activity with small boats going up and down the river, bamboo rafts and cargo boats with huge logs from the teak forests upriver. 

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Most of the attractions in Mandalay offer tourists a spiritual, if not enlightening, experience. Mandalay is home to many pagodas; an early morning visit to the Myat Muni Pagoda, Myanmar’s second holiest pilgrimage site is highly recommended. There are many monasteries to visit too, some of which are impressive in their architectural style and construction. Aside from its religious architecture, Mandalay is also a city of royalty and there are attractions here which reflect a time when Burmese kingdoms were still in existence. This is the city of the Royal Palace, as well as other structures built by the kings. Finally, do climb up Mandalay Hill, a necessary stop for any tourist who arrives in this part of Myanmar. Beautiful at sunset, many monks also make the trip up the hill to practice their English with foreigners.

Top Attractions

1. Maha Myat Muni Buddha Image

2. Kuthodaw Pagoda

3. Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda

4. Mandalay Palace

5. Atumashi Monastery

6. Sanda Muni Pagoda

7. Mandalay Hill

8. Sutaungpyi Pagoda

9. Yankin Hill

10. Amarapura

11. U Bein Bridge

12. Kyaut Taw Gyi Pagoda

13. Pahtotawgyi Pagoda

14. Shwe Gu Gyi Pagoda

15. Mahar Wai Yan Bon Thar Bargayar Monastery

16. Sagaing

17. Sagaing Hill

18. Kaungmudaw Pagoda

19. Thabyedan Fort

20. Pyin Oo Lwin

21. National Kantawgyi Gardens

22. National Landmarks Garden

23. Pwe Kauk Waterfalls

24. Peik Chin Myaung Cave

25. Dattawgyaik Waterfall

26. Maha Ant Htoo Kan Thar Pagoda

27. Tour to Pyin Oo Lwin

28. Gold Leaf Making Industry

Individual link descriptions

1. Maha Myat Muni Buddha Image

The Maha Myat Muni Pagoda is located at the Southwest of Mandalay, where inside lies the Maha Myat Muni Buddha Image. The Maha Myat Muni Buddha Image is the most revered Buddha image in Mandalay. It is also known as the Phaya Gyi. It is the most ancient Buddha image in Myanmar. It was cast in the life-span of Lord Buddha in the seated posture of relaxed deportment, namely Bumi Phasa Mudras, symbolic of His Conquest of Mara. The 4m high-seated image is cast in bronze and weighs 6.5 tons, which crown is decorated with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. Maha Myat Muni Buddha Image was being cast in front of the Buddha himself. Therefore, it can say that Maha Myat Muni Buddha Image is the portrait of Buddha and the face is most revered. Every morning at 4:30AM, a team of monks washes the face and brushes the teeth. Since Myanmar Buddhists are so devout countless thousands of devotees apply gold leaf to gain merit, the image has completely covered with 15 cm thick gold and original shape is distorted.


In B.C 123, in the reign of King Sanda Thuriya, Monarch of Rakhine-Dharyawaddy, the Image was carried reverently so as to enshrine it at the present site. It took four months to carry the image reverently across the Rakhine Yoma Ranges, by inland route and by waterway a tough and rough journey indeed. The Height of the Maha Muni Buddha Image is 8 Cubits and 1 Maik (3.83m). The altar is 2.13m high. 2 bronze Siamese images, 3 bronze lion images and 1 bronze three headed Ayeyawun elephants are housed and displayed in the precinct on the left side of the northern exit passage.

Whoever visits Mandalay from local areas or from abroad unfailingly come and pay homage to the Maha Muni Buddha Image.King Bodawpaya built this Pagoda in 1784 to house the Maha Myat Muni Buddha Image brought from Rakhine State. Being the most revered Pagoda in Mandalay, the early morning ritual of washing the face of the Buddha's image, draws a daily crowd of devotees.


To be able to catch up the early morning ritual, one has to be at the pagoda by about 5 am.

Opening Hours -6am-8pmeveryday

Entrance Fees - US$ 4

2. Kuthodaw Pagoda

The Kuthodaw Pagoda or Maha Lawka Marazein Paya is often called the world’s largest book. It is a large walled complex situated at the base of the southeast stairways to Mandalay Hill and was built by King Mindon at the same time he was constructing the Royal Palace. Its central stupa is modeled on the Shwezigon at Nyaung U near Bagan.

An on-site carved tablet indicates that the pagoda’s height is 187 ft 9 in, high, while some guide books list it at 100 ft (30 m). The former includes the platform in the measurement.


The stupa itself, connected to the outside entry by means of a long corridor, is set in the middle of a thirteen acre field of 729 pitaka pagodas or shrines (Dama Cetis). Each shrine contains a marble slab, inscribed on both sides with the Pali script text of a portion the Tipitaka (Pali spelling, or Tripitaka, in Sanskrit), Theravada Buddhism’s sacred texts. Taken together, they contain the entire text of the Tipitaka and thus form “the world’s largest book.” The slabs were carved from white Sagyin Hill marble found just a few miles north of Mandalay. The work of carving began in October 1860 and was carried out in a special hall within King Mindon’s Royal Palace. Each slab is 5 ft ((1.5 m) by 3.5 ft (1.1 m) wide and 5-6 in. (12.7 – 15 cm) thick. The Buddhist scholar/carvers completed their task in May 1869. If spread out horizontally, the slabs would cover a third of an acre (.1 ha); stacked vertically, the ‘pages’ would rise 340 ft (103 m). Originally the lettering also had a gold leaf veneer. The statistics given here are those given by U Tun Aung Chain, retired Professor of History, Yangon University.

Several sources suggest the important role of the Fifth Buddhist Synod, which King Mindon called in 1872, in the development of the Kuthodaw. It perhaps was at this meeting of 2,400 monks from throughout the country that both authenticated the texts and began the construction of the encasing shrines.


Entrance Fee - US$5 per person.

3. Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda

Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, the pagoda of the “Great Marble Image,” is sited near the southern entry to Mandalay Hill. Although its construction was started in 1853 by King Mindon, it was not completed until 1878, in part due to a palace rebellion and domestic disturbances in the mid-1860s. The chief feature of the Kyauktawgyi Paya is huge seated Buddha figure sculpted from a single block of pale green marble from the Sagyin quarry twelve miles north of Mandalay.

4. Mandalay Palace

The Royal Mandalay Palace is located between 12th street and 26th street, in the heart of Mandalay city.

Mandalay Palace was the first palace to be built in Mandalay, by King Mindon when he shifted his capital from Amarapura in 1861, to fulfill an old prophecy.

The site was chosen with the auspicious omen and astronomical calculations.

Structure of the Palace

The magnificent palace was built of teak wood on raised brick plinth gilded with gold and vermilion. The queens' chambers in order of priority is 1 Southern, 2 Northern and 3 lesser queens in the West. All ancillary buildings for the court, the fortified high walls with ramparts, the moat, water systems, roads, gardens with shady tamarind trees, recreational playgrounds, swimming pools, mint, security ports with infantry, cavalry, archers, artillery, sheds for royal elephants, stables, audience halls, throne halls, religious edifices and monastery and devotional halls were superbly planned and executed to minute details. The implementation and completion of construction took five years (from 1857 to 61). The artistic workmanship and handicrafts depicting the glory of the golden age of the days gone by is still amazing, awe inspiring and the beholder will be spell bound with wonder.

The entity of the palace cannot be separated from the Mandalay Hill, from where the prophecy and name is dewed. It is located right in the center of the palace grounds, which is meticulously a true square, enclosed within fortified high walls with ramparts and the beautiful deep moat all the layout in perfect squares. So much so the city

Surrounding the place too had been laid-out in blocks of squares enclosed by sheets.

A muddy canal feeds the supply of water to the moat. It is surprisingly strange that the red muddy water turns crystal clear. This moat water is potable and the source of home consumption and is free from lime content. It also serves a double purpose as a good protection from enemy assault of those days.


The reflection of the Mandalay on the eastern moat is a beautiful scene to behold from the southeastern corner. The panoramic view of the Palace and the surrounding areas as far as the Sagaing Bridge, the Ayeyarwady River and the hill ranges seen from the Mandalay Hill during sunset will be an enchanting experience.

The beautiful palace with many other buildings were destroyed by fire due to the ravages of been reconstructed in brick masonry from photographic records, plans and drawings.


Some of the dresses of the ancient kings, queens, princes, princesses and other ministers are displayed. You can also wear them and take some pictures. 

Entrance Fee: US$ 5.

5. Atumashi Monastery


Atumashi Monastery is located at the North Eastern part of the Mandalay Palace. Its only about 10 minutes drive from the royal palace.

The Atumashi Kyaung meaning Incomparable Monastery (Maha Atulawaiyan Kyaungdawgyi) was originally built in 1857 by King Mindon (1853-1879) who had founded his new capital of Upper Burma at Mandalay just a few years earlier in 1855. It was one of the King’s last great religious construction projects. The original Atumashi was a magnificent wooden structure with considerable exterior stucco and set on a high platform reached by a formal ceremonial staircase. Instead of the traditional “pyatthat” (graduated wooden spires of decreasing size) and multi-roof design of traditional monastic buildings, the Atumashi was a huge grandiose structure surrounded by five graduated rectangular terraces. It was considered one of Southeast Asia’s most magnificent buildings.

It originally contained a very large, almost 30 ft (9 m), image of the Buddha made from the king’s lacquered silk clothing. There were numerous treasures within the structure, including a large diamond set in the forehead of the Buddha, four complete sets of the Tripikata (the ‘three baskets’ of the Buddhist sacred texts) and much more. When the British annexed the city and Upper Burma in 1885, the large diamond vanished, perhaps taken by the British or other marauders. The building and its entire contents burned down in 1890.

For many years the ruins of the building lay open to the elements. Stumps of the charred teak pillars, a grand staircase and some colonnaded walls remained. The area was cleared in the 1990s and was rebuilt according to the original plans in 1996 by the Burmese archaeological department with the use of convict labor. While somewhat impressive, it does not come close to recreating the magnificence of the original building. The Atumashi Kyaung is near the Kuthodaw Pagoda, built at the same time, and next door to the Shwenandaw.

7. Sanda Muni Pagoda

The Sandamuni Pagoda is located to the southeast of Mandalay Hill and bears a resemblance to the nearby Kuthodaw pagoda because of the large number of slender whitewashed ancillary stupas on the grounds. The Sandamuni Pagoda, or Paya, is located to the southeast of Mandalay Hill and bears a resemblance to the nearby Kuthodaw pagoda because of the large number of slender whitewashed ancillary stupas on the grounds.

The Paya is also famous for the Iron Buddha Sandamani cast by King Bodawpaya (1782-1819) of the Konbaung dynasty in 1802, and which King Mindon and brought from Amarapura to his new pagoda and shrine in 1874.

The pagoda complex was erected on the location of King Mindon's provisional palace, the "Nan Myey Bon Tha." which he used until his permanent Royal Palace was completed in the center of the Royal City. It was built as a memorial to King Mindon's younger half-brother, statesman, reformer, stimulating personality and confidante, the Crown Prince Kanaung, who had helped him seize power from Pagan Min in 1853. Two of Mindon's sons, Princes Myingun, and Myin Kon Taing disappointed in being excluded from the succession, launched a palace revolution against their father on June 8, 1866, and assassinated Crown Prince Kanaung and three other princes: Malun, Saku and Pyinsi. The princes were buried on the grounds where they died. The royal residence was demolished the next year as the court was moved to the new Royal Palace. In 1874, King Mindon had the pagoda built near the graves of the Crown Prince and the other members of the royal family who lost their lives in the 1866 coup.

8. Mandalay Hill

Just outside the North of downtown, Mandalay Hill which summit is 230 m above the surrounding plain is the natural watch-tower for the visitors to watch sunrise or sunset over the city plains. Everyone who arrived in Mandalay, the ancient capital of Myanmar, usually goes to Mandalay Hill, the landmark of Mandalay which overlooks the city. At the bottom in front of the southwest entrance are the two immense statue of Lions guard the holy hill.

If you drive by car from the archway of Mandalay hill, you will reach the entrance of escalator of the hill. From there, you can proceed to the top of the Mandalay hill by escalator and pay homage to Su Taung Pyi Pagoda, means wish-granting Pagoda, built by King Anawratha in 414 Myanmar Era. It was patronized and renovated by successive KonBaung Kings. You can study documentary photos of Mandalay hill on the platform of Pagoda.

Moreover, the stairways are being constructed from the bottom to top of the hill which you can climb at ease and rest as you go up the stairway. There is a saying that if you want to live long, you take refuge in the environs of Mandalay hill. It means that as climbing to the Mandalay hill on foot is good for health.

And to pay homage to the pagoda along the way makes one live long.

You can pay homage to prominent pagodas along the stairways of Mandalay Hill. Besides, you can visit the shops of Myanma traditional handmade toys, gifts such as beads. If you reach the top of the hill, you can pay homage to Su Taung Pyi Pagoda. Moreover, you can view the elegant craftsmanship with two Snakes raising the hoods up.


The dominant natural feature of Mandalay is its 790 ft (240 m) Mandalay Hill, which towers above the city and the flat plain below.

Virtually all visitors and pilgrims to Mandalay either climb the 1,729 steps of the covered southern stairway with its magnificent guardian chinthe (half-lion, half-dragon) at the entry, use stairways on the other side or use easier means and take the escalator, cars or buses to the top.

From its top, and from several way stations along the ascent, one has a magnificent panorama of the city, the old Royal Palace and Fortress as well as the Ayeyarwady River and the distant Shan Hills.

As Mandalay hill looks like a natural tower, you can enjoy the panoramic views of Mandalay and its environs from there. Sagaing Hill, Ayeyarwady River and Mingun in the west and Yankin hill, YaeTa Khun Hill in the east can be enjoyed with pleasure. In the evening, the platform of Mandalay Hill’s Su Taung Pyi Pagoda is crowded with tourists and devotees who record the beauty of sunset. If you visit Mandalay, the ancient capital of Myanmar, we invite you to enjoy the natural beauty of Mandalay hill not very far from the capital and to pay homage the prominent pagodas there.

9. Sutaungpyi Pagoda

The pagoda and its ancillary pavilion are located near the top of Mandalay Hill, the holy hill from which the Buddha reportedly predicted that a great religious city would emerge at its base. It is suggested that the pagoda was originally built by the great builder of Bagan, King Anawratha, in 1052. This "wish-granting" pagoda was often renovated by its patrons, the Konbaung kings, in later years. Perhaps the most famous of the renovators of the religious structures on Mandalay Hill was U Khan Dee, the famous and legendary "Hermit on the Hill", who spent 41 years of his life on the hill raising funds for many structures, including Sutaungpyai, where he spent many years.

10. Yankin Hill

The Yankin Hill is located in the East of Mandalay. Yankin Hill means "away from danger", shows harmony and peacefulness of Mandalay.

There are many carved figures of fishes on the hill. It was placed by Min Shin Saw, son of King Alaung Sithu during the Bagan Era. It is believed that first the figures of the fishes were kept in the Royal Palace during the Yadanarbon period. But later on for the sake of the people and on their belief, Min Shin Saw placed the figures on Yankin Hill. Whenever there was a draught, the people of Mandalay carried the figures around the city and then went to Yankin Hill. It was believed that by doing this, it could bring rainfall to the city. There is a bus route winding up the hill from both the South and North side. The hill is about 215 meters high and ranging from North to South about 2013 meters wide.

The Mya Kyauk tube well is situated near the Yankin Hill and visitors can also pay homage to the Atula Maha Mya Kyauk Pagoda.

11. Amarapura

Amarapura meaning "City of Immortality" is a city in the Mandalay Division of Myanmar, situated 11 km to the south of Mandalay. The locals sometimes refer to it as Taungmyo (Southern City) to distinguish it from Mandalay (Northern City).

The main feature of the charming little town of Amarapura is its many workshops such as silk and cotton weaving, and bronze casting. The other highlights in Amarpura are the long teak pedestrian bridge over Lake Taungthaman which is a hub of fishing activity. Catch some glorious senses of waterfront temple life here and enjoy a fantastic sunset view of U Bein Bridge and Taung Thaman Inn. There are actually monasteries on both sides of the bridge and you will frequently see young monks walking across. The valuable Burmese archeological designs can also be observed by visiting to the historical pagodas such as Kyaut Taw Gyi Pagoda, Pahtotawgyi Pagoda and Shwe Gu Gyi Pagoda.

12. U Bein Bridge

U Bein Bridge is about three quarter of a mile crossing the Taung-tha-man Inn (lake). It is one of the most attractive spot for tourists. It is the longest teak bridge in the world and is about two centuries old.

This bridge became to be known as U Bein Bridge after the name of the donor, U Bein who was a clerk to the Mayor of Amarapura. It was constructed in 1849 from old planks and timber posts of dismantled houses in Sagaing and Inwa. It took nearly two years to finish. It was opened in 1851. From that time, it has constantly been in use by the people and in recent years by foreign visitors also. There are now 1086 posts and 482 spans. 9 points were served as drawbridges which were built to allow the royal barges and war boats to go under the bridge and out to the Ayeyarwadi River in the old days.

13. Kyaut Taw Gyi Pagoda

The Kyauktawgyi Pagoda was built by King Bagan in 1847 on the model of the Ananda Temple at Bagan.

It closely resembles the Ananda in exterior form but it falls short of the latter in construction and interior decoration. Unlike the Ananda which has perfect vaulted roofs. The Kyauktawgyi has wooden rafters and beams which account for the weakness of the structure. There is one principal image carved out of a single block of Sagyin marble. The walls in the east and south porches are adorned with paintings depicting many religious buildings erected by the donor and other kings in different parts of the country and scenes from contemporary Burmese life.

14. Pahtotawgyi Pagoda

In the southern part of Amarapura, the Pahtodawgyi Pagoda modeled on the Mahazedi of Sri Lanka. The foundation of this pagoda was laid by King Bagyidaw and his Queen on 2nd March 1820. The pagoda was completed on 19th February 1824. The base measures 180 feet in circumference and the height also measures 180 feet. The official title of the pagoda is Maha Vijayaramsi. This well preserved pagoda stood outside the old city walls. The lower terraces have marble slabs illustrating scenes from the Jataka. You'll have a fine view over the surrounding countryside from the upper terrace. An inscription stone within the temple precincts details the history of the pagoda's construction.

15. Shwe Gu Gyi Pagoda

There is a temple called Shwe Gu Gyi (Golden Big Cave) which is located on the west of the railways compound and between wards Zay Cho and Hman Dan. One contemporary inscritpiton found at the cave temple mentioned that the ruin left by King Narapati Sithu (AD 1174) was repaired by the Crown Prince (Sirimahadhammabhidhaja Sihasura) who held Shwe Daung and Dapayin in fief and his consort (Siri Tilakamaha Subbadda ratanadevi) in the time of King Badon (1782-1819). The repairs were completed in Sakkaraj 1145 (AD 1783). For the maintenance of the pagoda, the religious land is given. In area it measures 820 feet. For keeping the pagoda precincts clean and for doing necessary repairs from time to time, 63 workers (male and female) are also given. The height of the whole edifice is 90 feet. For stucco carvings of Amarapura as an exterior decoration, one has to study them. On the south of the Shwe Gu Gyi, there is Shwe Gu Tha which is also a cave temple but it has the best for paintings for interior decoration. Both temples are under the care of the Archaeological Department.

16. Mahar Wai Yan Bon Thar Bargayar Monastery

Palace Ruins

Little remains of the old Amarapura palace but you can still find two masonry buildings -- the treasury building and the old watchtower. King Bagyidaw and King Bodawpaya were both buried here and their tombs also remain. The corner pagodas still stand at the four corners of the once square city.

17. Sagaing

Sagaing, located on the Ayeyarwady River_20 km to the southwest of Mandalay on the opposite bank of the river, is home to many historical stupas and today is known as a religious centre, with dozens of Buddhists nunneries and monasteries as well as an important monastic hospital.

The most interesting place to visit is Sagaing hill on which there are numerous pagodas, monasteries and meditation centers known as a peaceful place for Buddhist studies. It is also a place one can enjoy the magnificent views over Sagaing. And it is famous for its silversmith works at Ywa Htaung quarters and also pottery at New Nyein village.

18. Sagaing Hill

Once you cross the Inwa Bridge, you see the hilltops, each crested with a pagoda. The Buddha's teaching the refuge from all ills and tribulations where over 600 monasteries for monks and nuns are located for Buddhist studies and meditation. The Padamyazedi dates from 1300 while the U min Thonze or thirty caves pagoda has many Buddha images in a crescent shaped colonnade. Mural paintings can be seen in the Tilawkaguru cave temple which was built around 1672. At the nearby village of Ywahtaung you can see silver workers producing bowls and other silver items by traditional methods. The most impressive Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda nearby was constructed in 1312. The view of Sagaing from Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin and its approach is marvelous.

19. Kaungmudaw Pagoda

This huge pagoda is 10 km beyond the town of Sagaing. The enormous dome rises 46 m (151 feet) in the shape of a perfect hemisphere and was modeled after the Mahaceti Pagoda in Ceylon. It is also known as Rajamanisula. The pagoda was built to commemorate Inwa's establishment as the royal capital of Myanmar. Around the base of the pagoda are stone pillars, each of which is 1.5 m high. The details of the pagoda's construction are recorded on them.

Click here for more information about Kaunghmudaw Pagoda.

20. Thabyedan Fort

Just to the left of Inwa bridge on the Mandalay and Inwa side is the fort of Thabyedan which was built as a last ditch defense by the Myanmar before the third Anglo-Myanmar war.

21. Pyin-Oo-Lwin

Pyin Oo Lwin offers visitors cool days and nights, peaceful rural roads and tracks for walkers and cyclists, trekking in the fruit and flower producing countryside, and interesting shopping. Old times can be re-lived with coach rides, and many historical and beautiful places are within easy reach. Just over an hour’s drive from Mandalay, and with spectacular views from the road up the escarpment, Pyin Oo Lwin is an ideal and refreshing destination for visitors to Upper Myanmar.

22. National Kandawgyi Gardens

The National Kandawgyi Gardens (formerly National Botanical Gardens) is located in the Alpine town about 1.5 km south of Pyin Oo Lwin (formerly Maymyo), Myanmar.

23. National Landmarks Garden

Just beside the Kandawgyi National Botanical Gardens is another must-see attraction, the National Landmarks Garden. It consists of scale models of well known landmarks from each State in Myanmar, including its most famous pagodas, spread over 50 acres of parkland. There is a mini theme park and a huge garden. It is established in 2006 with the aims to be able to observe ancient cultural edifices, pagodas and stupas, palaces, caves, hills and mountains can be viewed round collectively in the garden.

24. Pwe Kauk Waterfalls

The Pwe Kauk Falls is a very pleasant picnic spot in Pyin Oo Lwin where many Myanmar families come for a picnic. Pwe Kauk or B.E waterfalls is also known as Hampshire Falls in British times.

25. Peik Chin Myaung Cave

Peik Chin Myaung Cave (also known as Maha Nandamu Cave) is located on the Lashio road near Wetwun village, 12 miles east of Pyin Oo Lwin town.

26. Dattawgyaik Waterfall

Our country is rich in natural scenic spots, so there are many fascinating and interesting places which are worth visiting. Among them, Dattawgyaik Waterfall is one of the recreation sites full of significant and natural beauty.

27. Maha Ant Htoo Kan Thar Pagoda

The building of this Pagoda has a history of its own. The reason was that three marble Buddha Images sculpted in Mandalay were being transported to their planned destination in China.

28. Tour to Pyin Oo Lwin 

Pyin Oo Lwin offers the visitor more than historical and cultural observations.  It is a living town of interest and great beauty, which also has a central place in the history of both colonial and modern Myanmar.  Most places of interest can be reached on foot or by bicycle, though the Dat Daw Chaing waterfall, the fantastic Paik Chinmyaung caves at Wet Wun (spelled Wet Win in some of the colonial books about the area, and the administrative border between Mandalay Division and the Shan States), and the Pagoda of the Reluctant Buddha are best visited by taxi.  An excellent 18 holes golf club welcomes visitors from overseas ($15 inclusive of caddies and gear).  The Practice Range was formerly the Polo Ground.

On foot and by bicycle.

The Kandawgyi National Botanical Gardens are a 30 minutes' walk from most hotels.  Well signposted, this 437 acre (including 70 acres of lakes) beauty spot contains countless specimens of Myanmar's rich natural resources:  forestland (pines, bamboo, teak and other trees), open parkland with free roaming peacocks, swans, ducks, formal gardens full of temperate flowers in season, orchids, roses.  The Gardens were first developed by Mr. Alex Rodger, the Forest Research Officer of the time, and Lady Cuffe, a botanist from Kew Botanical Gardens, London.  They were declared a State-recognized Garden in 1917.  By 1942 it contained 178 species of orchids.  Today it has almost 600 species of local and foreign trees, and the largest orchid collection in Myanmar.  There are also a walk-in aviary and an aerial walkway, as well as a lookout tower (with elevator).  Not to be missed!  Entrance fee for foreigners: 4,000 kyats.  Buggy hire for a 20 minute tour: 8,000 kyats. On your way here you should stop in at the Pyin Oo Lwin Nursery - one of the most thriving flowers, seeds and orchid centres in Myanmar.  A 50 acre site beside the Kandawgyi National Gardens has been developed as a National Landmarks Garden, with replicas of well known landmarks (both buildings and natural views) from each State.  The only accessible swimming pool in Pyin Oo Lwin is adjacent to the Club House of the National Gardens. A walk (or ride) round Circular Road under the flowering jacaranda and flamboyant trees (flowering May-June) allows a glimpse of how present day living is protecting the 100 year old residential area.  Colonial houses (some over a hundred years old) peer out through massive trees and set in colonial-sized gardens of 2 acres or more; more modern houses (some very beautiful, some not so) interleaf with the old schools, all with grand historical ties.  And all along, the grass verges, overshadowing trees and red hibiscus and poinsettia plants give a delicious sense of timelessness.  The impressive reconstruction of the colonial Governor's House can be viewed (at least from the outside) by walking up the lane opposite All Saints' Church main entrance.

A number of Christian churches, mainly built in the first one or two decades of the twentieth century, as well as Muslimmosques and Hindu temples, testify to the cultural and peaceful diversity of the town.  All are open to visitors.

The town centre contains all the retail outlets for this busy and growing town.  Of interest to the visitor there are curio shops, an art gallery, a busy central market, coffee and tea shops in abundance, cinemas showing Myanmar and Hindi films, pharmacies, general grocery shops (try the local sweets, jam, honey, yoghurt - all rich and delicious!), second hand bookshops.  For more details about shopping, click here.  The 1936 Purcell Tower marks the centre of town and is a duplicate of the Penang (Malaysia) Tower.(top)

Further afield, by taxi or motorbike taxi

Anisakahn.  This country town is about 6 miles on the Mandalay side.  The area round about is intensively cultivated with flowers (chiefly chrysanthemum and gladioli), vegetables, strawberries and pineapples.  The new Anisakahn Airportis here, and Myanmar's Silicon Valley is nearby at Yatanarpon.  The spectacular Dat Daw Chaing Waterfall is here (best views from the bottom, but you need to be fit - time to the bottom about 45 minutes, and about 90 minutes up - the falls empty into a very steep and deep ravine).  It's possible to swim in the rock pools during the rainy seasons.  At the very lip of the gorge is the newly renovated Chan Myay Yeiktha Meditation Centre which caters for foreigners.  Next door to this Centre is the Dat Daw Chaing Waterfall Resort (see two top pictures at left).  The view from here toMandalay is spectacular.

Pyin Oo Lwin - Lashio Road.  A succession of small villages leads to the B.E. Falls on the left, and the Pagoda of the Reluctant Buddha on the right.  Both are worth visiting.  About 10 miles further on towards Lashio are the Paik Chin Myaung caves at Wet Wun.  A good tarmac road leads to the cave mouth.  Inside, a gushing stream twists and turns around the countless images and mini-pagodas that devout Buddhists have created.  Paddling in the stream outside is one of the pleasures of life!  A spectacular waterfall cascades down the cliffs near the caves.  Further on is the Gokteik Viaduct.  Built by the Pennsylvania Steel Company between February and December of 1900.   Considered an engineering marvel in it's time, for many years the 700m span was the second highest in the world.  The photo below was taken in the 1920s.

To the north lie the glorious valleys where some of the best oranges grow.  A guide is best (see Trekking).  Hundreds of rural wooden farmhouses lie hidden in the hollows of these valleys, and a warm welcome will be given to visitors who make this idyllic journey.

Making the best use of your time.

Don't try to make Pyin Oo Lwin a one day excursion!  Travel to Pyin Oo Lwin from Mandalay early in the morning, to catch the best views as you climb the 3000 foot escarpment.  Check into your hotel, and browse around the town and market.  If it's hot in the afternoon, take a taxi to the BE Falls, Pagoda and caves.  The Botanical Gardens are at their freshest early in the morning or in the evening.  Visit the churches, mosques and temples, and try walking along Circular Road on your second day, before going on to Lashio or returning to Mandalay.  Better still, stay two nights and just enjoy the cool climate and clean fresh air!  Click here to check out places to eat and places to stay.

29. Gold Leaf Making Industry

Mandalay is the only place to find Gold Leaf making industry. Total of 2000 very thin gold leaves can be obtained from a tickle of 24 karat pure gold after seven hours of pounding in many different steps during the process. This is the industry not being able to replace with modern machine and tourists have very good interest to this industry.