DAY 1 – ARRIVE IN MANDALAY
Mandalay International Airport is connected to many places across the world. In case you don’t find a direct connection to Mandalay, you can fly to Yangon and then take a train or bus to Mandalay. Buses from Aung Mingalar Bus Station in Yangon take about 9 hours to reach Chan Mya Shwe Pyi Highway Station in Mandalay.
Once you’ve arrived, spend the first day in Mandalay walking around and relaxing. Being the cultural capital of Myanmar, the city will give you a good feel of the culture of the country. You can sit at local food shops and enjoy the delicious local food on offer. Do try the fried food, which is Myanmar’s specialty.
DAY 2 – SIGHTSEEING AROUND MANDALAY
Have a nice local breakfast before heading to Mandalay Palace, the last royal palace of the country. This exotic palace is built almost entirely out of wood. There are many structures to see in Mandalay Palace. Take your time to walk around and get to know the royal history of Myanmar. After this, head to Atumashi Monastery, which is about a 20-minute walk away. This monastery has an archaeological significance and looks stunning. Enjoy your lunch at a local food joint and then head to Mahamuni Pagoda, located towards the southwest of the city. Here, you’ll see a 4-metre high bronze statue of Buddha donning a crown decorated with diamonds, rubies, sapphires and other jewels.
In the evening, proceed to Mandalay Hill. Ensure to head there just before the golden hour so you can enjoy the sunset from the top of the hill. Before climbing up Mandalay Hill, visit Kuthodaw Pagoda at the foothill. Enjoy the mesmerising sunset and head back to town. You can spend the rest of the evening exploring the night market in the city.
DAY 3 – MINGUN & AMARAPURA
After breakfast, head to Mingun, which is located only 10 kilometres away from Mandalay. You can take a boat from Mandalay to Mingun. The most important thing to see here is the historical Mingun Bell. You should also visit the Mingun Pahtodawgyi and the Hsinbyume Pagoda. The pagoda is an awesome place to take some Instagram pictures, so don’t forget to bring your camera.
After lunch, head to Amarapura. Located only a half hour away from Mandalay, you can hire a trishaw to get there. Amarapura has the world’s longest teak bridge – U Bein Bridge. Have fun walking on it and stick around to enjoy a stunning view of the sunset from the bridge. It will be a perfect way to end your backpacking trip in Mandalay.