Mandalay is located 145 km northeast of Bagan. It is the country’s second largest city and its last royal capital. Mandalay was founded by King Mindon Min in 1857. The 240 m high Mandalay hill rises above the city. It is located northeast of the city center. On the hill there is a complex of buildings, which is surrounded by a wall and consists of pagodas and other places of worship. There are almost 2,000 steps leading up to the hill, but you can also take an escalator or drive up by bus or car. The entrance to the territory of the royal residence is guarded by two sculptures of lions.
Another attraction of Mandalay is Mahamuni Pagoda .(Mahar Myat Muni). She is known for her four-meter statue of the Buddha, covered with gold. It is one of the most revered Buddha statues in Mandalay. At the entrance to the pagoda, small gold plates are sold that can be rubbed into the statue. Every day, many believers come here to touch the Buddha and leave a golden plate on it. From such love for God, the statue gradually begins to lose shape, but the monks constantly monitor it and periodically clean it.
The Mandalay tour program includes a visit to Kuthodo Pagoda (Kuthodaw), because it contains the largest book in the world, with a total weight of more than 1200 tons. The book includes 729 marble pavilions containing pages of the Tripitaka carved in marble. The carving of the Tripitaka began in 1860 and was completed only in 1869.
Not far from Kuthodo stands the Sandamuni Pagoda, which also contains stone slabs with Buddhist texts. Also of interest is the Shwenandaw Monastery, the only building that has survived from the once huge palace of King Mindon Ming. It is an example of 19th century architecture and is made of teak wood.
In addition to the numerous city pagodas, stupas and temples, be sure to go to the suburbs of Mandalay where the ancient capitals of the country are located. The wooden bridge in Amarapura across the lake is very popular. The bridge was built in 1850. This is the longest teak bridge in the world, its length is 1.2 km. The city of Amarapura in the 18th century was the capital of the state. Now here are the tombs of two famous kings – Bigyado and Bodapaya. 21 km from Mandalay is the city of Inwa, once Ava. It was founded as the capital of the state in 1364. The monastery of Borgaya (The Grand Bargaya) is interesting here, which is decorated with floor arabesques, carvings, figures of birds and animals. Another ancient capital of Myanmar – Sagain. Today – this city has become one of the most popular centers for meditation.
11 km from Mandalay up the Irrawaddy River, the city of Mingun is interesting. Here is the world-famous Mingun Stupa. Its construction began in 1791, but was never completed. The Mingun Stupa was supposed to be the highest in the world, in the project its height reached 150 m. But astrologers predicted the death of King Bodopaya, under whom the pagoda was being built, soon after the completion of construction and in 1813 the construction stopped. Now the height of the pagoda reaches 50 m, as a result of earthquakes, cracks appeared on its walls. In Mingun there is also a smaller copy of the Mingun stupa – Pondawaya Pagoda (Pondawya). Under King Bodopaya, a giant bronze bell weighing 90 tons was built in Mingun. This is the largest “ringing” bell on Earth. Hsinbyume Pagoda (1816) is very beautiful. It is surrounded by seven wavy terraces, which symbolize the seven mountain ranges surrounding the sacred Mount Meru.
Also be sure to visit the Pyin-O-Lwin National Botanical Gardens near Mandalay, where about 42 two species of rare orchids are collected.
According to itypeusa, Mergui is a port city located on the coast of the Andaman Sea in southern Myanmar. It is the starting point for a trip to the Mergui archipelago. Basically, these are multi-day cruises with stops on some islands. Each island in the archipelago has sandy beaches where you can sunbathe, swim and dive.
The Mergui archipelago consists of over 800 islands. Their only inhabitants are the Salon people, who are engaged in fishing. They spend the entire dry season on boats, and during the rains they move to the land. The most popular island of the archipelago and its only protected area is the island of Lampi. There is a Marine Park where you can go diving, and a protected area on land, which includes mangroves and forests with deer, tigers, elephants, monkeys and a variety of birds living here. The Mergui archipelago is considered the best place in the country for diving. It is surrounded by coral reefs, and colorful tropical fish, crabs, shrimps, wrasses, moray eels, sharks and rays live in coastal waters. Burma Bank is considered the most popular dive site of these places.. There are underwater plateaus that rise almost to the surface of the water, and in some places drop steeply down to a depth of 300 m. Burma Bank’s undercurrents allow divers to drift. Very often whitetip reef sharks appear here. Also in the vicinity of the Mergui archipelago, dive sites such as Black Rock are interesting, which is a small rocky island only 8 m wide, around which devil rays and manta rays swim, Western cliffs with red octopuses, North Twin Islandand Shark Cave. Shark Cave is located off the coast of a small island. Its depth reaches 16 m, and its length is 20 m. The cave got its name because of the gray reef sharks, nurse sharks and whale sharks that live here.