Where: MANDALAY‘Made famous for many by the writings of Rudyard Kipling (who actually only spent 2 days in Myanmar and never even visited Mandalay!) this is perhaps the most evocative destination in Myanmar. The second largest city in Myanmar after Yangon this is the economic and religious hub of upper Myanmar and is centered around the Royal Palace. With hidden charms and much to explore including temples, monasteries and markets, as well as great street food and panoramic views from Mandalay Hill this is a city well worth spending time in.’
The Tour: Discover MandalayYour guide and driver will meet you in your hotel lobby at 8am to begin this journey of discovery through Mandalay. You will first visit Mandalay palace, the last royal palace of the last Burmese monarchy. The palace was constructed, between 1857 and 1859 as part of King Mindon's founding of the new royal capital city of Mandalay and largely follows the traditional Burmese palace design, inside a walled fort surrounded by a moat. A lot of the Palace was destroyed during WW2 but the 1990s reconstruction features more than 40 timber buildings built to resemble the 1850s originals. A climb up the curious spiral, timber-walled watchtower is rewarded with a good overview of the palace layout. Onward then to Shwenandaw monastery, a historic Buddhist monastery and one of the finest examples of traditional 19th century wooden buildings in the country. Both the exterior and interior of the monastery are decorated with intricate wood carvings. Then it is Kuthodaw Pagoda, a Buddhist stupa home to 729 marble stone slabs inscribed on both sides with pages from Tipitaka, a Buddhist scripture. First opened to the public on 4 May 1868 these scriptures are known as ‘The World's Largest Book’. A short respite now for a traditional lunch at Unique Myanmar. After lunch we will discover Mahamuni Paya, where you will see a 13ft-tall seated Buddha, a nationally celebrated image that is believed to be some 2000 years old. Centuries of gold leaf applied by male devotees has left the figure with a 6in layer of pure gold…except on his gleaming face, which is ceremonially polished daily at 4am. Next you will visit some of the artisan workshop’s pthat Mandalay is well known for. You can observe skilled craftsmen at work producing wood carvings, gold-leaf and tapestries, where techniques have remained unchanged from centuries ago. This day concludes with an evening on Mandalay Hill, where you can see an impressive overview of the city and reflect on your day of discovery before returning to your hotel.