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Mandalay

Captured by the British from the last of Burma's kings, Mandalay conjures images of Southeast Asia at its most elegant and genteel. Though today it is Myanmar's second largest city, home to 1 million people, it is still possible to glimpse the enchanting land that beckoned Rudyard Kipling: "For the temple-bells are callin', an' it's there that I would be - by the old Moulmein Pagoda, looking lazy at the sea." One of the cultural and spiritual centers of the nation, Mandalay can also be enjoyed as the start or end point of a cruise on board The Road to Mandalay.

Perhaps the best sights of Mandalay are the Shwei-in-bin Monastery, a regal teak structure that is a rare example of traditional Burmese design; the iconic Mandalay Palace, a reconstructed, restored complex that was once home to a line of Burmese kings; and the surreally elaborate Kuthodaw Pagoda, a white marble structure dating from the 1800s.

Captured by the British from the last of Burma's kings, Mandalay conjures images of Southeast Asia at its most elegant and genteel. Though today it is Myanmar's second largest city, home to 1 million people, it is still possible to glimpse the enchanting land that beckoned Rudyard Kipling: "For the temple-bells are callin', an' it's there that I would be - by the old Moulmein Pagoda, looking lazy at the sea." One of the cultural and spiritual centers of the nation, Mandalay can also be enjoyed as the start or end point of a cruise on board The Road to Mandalay.

Perhaps the best sights of Mandalay are the Shwei-in-bin Monastery, a regal teak structure that is a rare example of traditional Burmese design; the iconic Mandalay Palace, a reconstructed, restored complex that was once home to a line of Burmese kings; and the surreally elaborate Kuthodaw Pagoda, a white marble structure dating from the 1800s.

EXPERIENCES

EXPERIENCES

Contemporary Art Tour

Along with Yangon, Mandalay is one of Myanmar’s burgeoning centers of contemporary art, with new galleries opening and buzz beginning to build here. Get a firsthand look at awakening artistic and political expression in a country where it has long been discouraged.

Cruise on The Road to Mandalay

Take a cruse on The Road To Mandalay, a luxury cruise ship named after the Rudyard Kipling poem. Board the ship in Mandalay and sail down the Irrawaddy to Bagan (or vice versa), stopping along the way to experience the sights and sounds of sleepy, rural Myanmar. Your time on the ship will be spent enjoying talks by experts, cultural dance and song, even acrobatics, all with the luxuries and amenities of a luxury hotel.

Kuthodaw Pagoda

Built by King Mindon in the 19th-century, Kuthodaw pagoda is home to the world’s largest book – a series of 729 white marble tablets on which the Buddhist scriptures are carved. The tablets are arranged in groups as four sides of a square, with each square crowned by a white stupa, making for a remarkable sight en masse.

Mahamuni Paya

Visit the Mahamuni Paya and see the famed Buddha, covered in gold leaf daily by pilgrims. Join in and add a small amount of gold leaf to the Buddha.

Mandalay Hill

Do as Burmese Buddhist pilgrims have done for hundreds of years and hike to the top of Mandalay Hill (790 feet in altitude), a merit-making endeavor in the mind of the faithful. There are four pathways up to the top of the hill, the most commonly used of which is marked by two famous "chinthes," or giant lion statues (rendered with artistic flair) guarding the path entrance.

Mandalay Palace

Home to the last kings of Burma, Mandalay Palace fell to British forces in 1885; subsequently, the Palace became a symbol of Burmese identity and independence. While the palace was destroyed in World War II, it was rebuilt in the 1990s. Today, the reconstructed palace features traditional Burmese architecture, with a wide moat, defensive walls, carefully manicured gardens, and low structures under elaborate, tiled roofs.

Po Win Daung Caves

Embark on a full-day trip to the seldom visited Po Win Daung caves. Although little known to the outside world, the hundreds of caves here, carved out of sandstone rock, are considered by academics to contain one of the richest repositories of Buddhist statues and fresco paintings in all of Southeast Asia.

Shwei-in-bin Monastery

Visit the Shwei-in-bin Monastery, a fine example of traditional Burmese wooden architecture, and one of the few which survived the test of time. Built from teak, a hard wood native to southeast Asia, Shwei-in-bin Monastery is full of elaborate woodcarvings and detailed Buddhist artwork.

Shwenandaw Kyaung Monastery

Visit the beautiful Shwenandaw Kyaung teak monastery, which was once part of Mandalay Palace before being disassembled and relocated to its present location in 1880. Built entirely out of teak wood and abounding in intricately carved depictions of the life of the Buddha, Shwenandaw was one of few buildings spared during World War II bombing.

U Bein Bridge

Stroll across U Bein bridge, the world’s longest teak bridge, which is three-quarters of a mile long and one of Mandalay’s landmarks.

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TRAVELOGUES

TRAVELOGUES

Four Luxe Riverboat Cruises in Myanmar

Four Luxe Riverboat Cruises in Myanmar

Author : Jim Algie
Myanmar riverboats have been traveling the Irawaddy since Burma's colonial days, and these four are the premier luxury options for discerning travelers.
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Pyin Oo Lwin: An English Town in Burma

Pyin Oo Lwin: An English Town in Burma

Author : Thomas Bird
Thomas Bird travels to Pyin Oo Lwin for horse-drawn carriages, colonial architecture, and a little England outside of Mandalay.
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Somerset Maugham: The Eastern Gentleman

Somerset Maugham: The Eastern Gentleman

Author : James Newman
Somerset Maugham set sail for British Burma in 1923 expecting tigers, pythons, headhunters, and strange exotic fruits; instead, he found a power hierarchy tottering under the weight of self-importance.
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George Orwell’s Indian Days and Burmese Nights

George Orwell’s Indian Days and Burmese Nights

Author : James Newman
George Orwell's extraordinary talent for understanding the human race was born from the streets and back alleys of British India and Myanmar; these Eastern lands informed one of the greatest literary minds of the Western world.
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Trekking the Shan Hills with the Palaung People of Northern Myanmar

Trekking the Shan Hills with the Palaung People of Northern Myanmar

Author : Elisha Donkin
A trek through the Shan Hills of Myanmar leads to incredible scenery, historical perspective, and a deep, abiding understanding of the Palaung of Northern Myanmar.
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Rubies, Dolphins, and the Rarer Road to Mandalay

Rubies, Dolphins, and the Rarer Road to Mandalay

Author : Travelogues
East to the highlands, north to the Rubies, west to the Irrawaddy, and cruise down south for a circumlocutory Road to Mandalay.
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