Mandalay was our second stop on our way through Myanmar. Again, we had to take a night bus. 10 hours on a bus may sound like a nightmare but really isn’t so bad if you are able to sleep as much as possible. Mandalay is big by Burmese standards and feels slightly more modern than Yangon. I think it is considered the cultural and economic capital. Whilst there we saw the few things every tourist comes to see. First up was the Royal Palace – home to the last king of Burma before the British came along and did their thing. The palace grounds cover quite a large area and are protected by a huge wall and moat. Getting in wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be. Serious-looking soldiers guarded the entrance and all foreigners had to sign form and leave passports and hotel keys before entering. The palace was in excellent condition and would have looked great back when the king and queen lived there but with the exception of a few rooms, the majority of the rooms were completely empty, leaving it up to our imagination to picture how it might have looked.
Next up was Mandalay hill. A hill with lots of steps and pagodas built into it.
Myanmar is the country for sunsets so when in Mandalay everybody heads over to U bein bridge to watch the sun going down whilst waking along the world’s oldest and longest teakwood bridge. This was probably the most enjoyable thing we did whilst in Mandalay.
One last thing we did before we left was visit Dee Doke. A collection of around 12 waterfalls and bright blue and green pools about 60km away from Mandalay. We rented a bike and made the uncomfortable 90min ride to the waterfalls, which is always an experience in itself driving on Southeast Asian roads. Some pools were cleaner than others so we had to climb up and down a few levels of the waterfall until we found one suitable for a dip.