Mandalay city sightseeing
Visit Mahamuni Temple – the most revered pagoda in Mandalay, the Royal Palace (read the Glass Palace) which houses a huge bronze Buddha image covered in thick layers of gold, one of the three holiest places in Myanmar. It is always crowded with pious devotees from all over the country.
In the afternoon, visit the Golden Palace Monastery, known for its intricate teak carvings, the most famous wooden monastery in the country. It is the only original building from Mandalay Palace having miraculously survived the bombings of WWII. Kuthodaw Pagoda is known as the biggest book in the world with hundreds of marble slabs inscribed with the entire Buddhist Canon. Enjoy the sunset from Mandalay Hill and the panoramic view of the plain.
Mandalay villages and outlying Old Capitals sightseeing
Drive to Amarapura (the capital during the Konbaung Dynasty) The visit includes Mahagandayon, a famous Buddhist monastery where more than a thousand monks live and study. Continue to the 150-year-old U Bein teak bridge, built in 1851 when Amarapura was the royal capital. Next explore Bagaya Monastery with its superb collection of Buddha statues, cotton and silk weaving cottage industry. In the afternoon, the tour continues with a short boat trip to Inwa (Ava) – a small town south of Amarapura, another ancient former capital. Here you will ride a horse cart and visit the Nanmyint Watchtower, the remains of a palace building nicknamed the “Leaning Tower of Ava”, the brick and stucco Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery and Bagayar Ava Monastery famed for its impressive and ornate woodcarvings and teak posts. Continue to Sagaing Hills, dotted with pagodas and over 500 monasteries, a retreat for Buddhist devotees, for a scenic sunset.
Balloon flight over Mandalay
Mandalay is the second largest city in Myanmar and is the center of the Burmese culture. See the Royal City from up high, gliding in the basket of a hot air balloon. Starting in 2016, Balloon flights will allow visitors to see the Royal Palace complex and it’s moat, Mandalay Hill, the ancient capitals of Amarapura and the famous U-Bein bridge in the distance, long lines of saffron robed monks canvassing neighborhoods for the morning Alm-giving, the busy life of the city as well as river activity on the Ayearwaddy. Discover hidden treasures that can only be seen from above with an exhilarating and exclusive flight : the best way to start a day of visit in Mandalay. A glass of French sparkling wine after landing completes the surreal experience.
Mahamuni Face Washing Ceremony
Wake up early this morning (around 04:00) and catch a car to Mahamuni Pagoda. Every morning before dawn, the monks wash the face of the ‘lumpy’ Buddha image with special fragrant water and brush its teeth. The ritual lasts around one hour and is a unique insight into Buddhism. (without guide) Return to your hotel around 07:30 for breakfast.
Cooking Class with Alice
Enjoy a relaxing cooking class between your visits in Mandalay city. Join Alice and Su who will explain you about the Burmese cuisine and the ingredients found in today’s market. Within a quiet and peaceful environment, it’s the perfect way to exchange with your host, who has for sure many interesting and fascinating stories to tell you!
Sunset mini-cruise with cocktails at U Bein Bridge
At sunset, visit the most picturesque U Bein Bridge on Taungthaman Lake, a half-mile long teak span also known as the longest teak bridge in the world. Enjoy an exclusive boat ride with cocktails and snacks on board. Then return back to Mandalay.
Cultural Show at the Mintha Theater – Art Mandalay Foundation
As Mandalay is the last Royal Capital of the Burmese Kingdom, it is also the home of many traditional arts. For an evening of entertaining traditional music and dances, attend the daily performance at Arts Mandalay School. Student, mostly teenagers, coached by older recognized artists, perform approximately 10 traditional dances during a 1 hour show in a splendid outdoors setting for a maximum of 100 attendees. As Facebook and the digital media put a growing stress on traditional forms of art, it is your chance to support and perpetuate centuries old art forms by attending the show.
Night bites! Best street food sampling
Get a taste of Mandalay on this fun, food-centered adventure. We will travel by light truck to various street stalls around the city to sample the diverse cuisine of Mandalay. On board we will listen to Myanmar music, sip rum sours and chit-chat about our experience. We will stop for photos at some of Mandalay’s famous sites, illuminated at night. And of course, there is food! We have selected some of the best nighttime snacks to sample- rubbing shoulders with the locals as we tuck-in Mandalay favorites like BBQ pork, spicy malar noodles, fried pancakes and much more. The menu changes night-to-night but there will be plenty to chose from! At the end, we head to a local ‘beer station’ to enjoy a dinner of BBQ dishes.
Visit to the railway market
In Mandalay, once every day around 10 AM, a train runs through a busy street market. Luckily, vendors know about it and hear it coming. Precipitously, they lift the overhanging sunshades and clear the track of their baskets full of fruits and vegetables. The train rolls through and one minute later, everything is back to normal. Besides the superb photo ops that the market provides, the routine of the market sellers is truly an act of perfect coordination and timing not to be missed.