Walls of citadel which contains Mandalay Royal Palace, Mandalay, Myanmar

Getty Images/DeAgostini

Moat & Fortress Walls


Viewable only from the outside, a 230ft-wide moat and well over 4 miles of crenellated 26ft-high walls form a vast square around the site of the former Mandalay fortress/citadel. Reconstructed in the original 1857 style, the walls are punctuated at regular intervals with gate towers topped by pyramidal creations of fancifully carved woodwork. While artful photography can make much of these scenes, the effect isn’t as impressive as you might expect, due to the length and regularity of the walls.

The walkway around the moat has been significantly improved in recent years (work on the northern stretch was still ongoing during our visit). It's now a popular place for a nighttime stroll, especially for families, young couples and people – men mostly – working out on the exercise equipment.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Mandalay attractions

1. Mandalay Palace

0.71 MILES

The 1990s reconstruction of Mandalay's royal palace features more than 40 timber buildings constructed to resemble the 1850s originals. Climb the curious…

2. Culture Museum

0.75 MILES

Within the palace complex, this small, neglected museum holds poorly displayed relics gleaned from the old Burmese royal family. The most intriguing…

3. Skinny Buddha


Built in 2011, this remarkable 75ft-tall seated Buddha, with either most of his ribs or a 14-pack showing, is a 'meditation image' that falls…

4. Central Mosque

1.06 MILES

This mosque is not a tourist attraction per se, but it has been the site of tense confrontation when anti-Muslim anger has been stoked in the past. The…

5. Cultural Museum & Library

1.06 MILES

This dusty, dowdy and poorly lit collection displays archaeological finds, buddhas and a bullock cart. As is the case in many local archaeology museums,…

6. Sri Ganesh Temple

1.14 MILES

This temple's colourful, sculpture-crusted gopuram (monumental tower) will excite you if you’ve never been to southern India or Singapore.

7. Sacred Heart Cathedral

1.19 MILES

Founded in the 19th century, this is Mandalay's main Catholic church. It has some historical charm from the colonial period, and is a good place to meet…

8. Fire Lookout Tower

1.22 MILES

This former fire-lookout tower sits next to the main Mandalay fire station. Unfortunately, it can't be climbed.