Destination Detail

Destination Description

Mandalay Royal Palace is located in the North end of Mandalay. The huge grounds are found between 12th street in the North and 26th street (National Highway 3) in the South.

The 1990s reconstruction of Mandalay’s royal palace features over 40 timber buildings built to resemble the 1850s originals. Climb the curious spiral, timber-walled watchtower for a good general view. The palace’s most striking structure is a soaring multi-layered pyramid of gilt filigree above the main throne room. The westernmost building within the palace oval contains a minor culture museum where the most intriguing exhibit is King Thibaw’s dainty, glass-pillared four-poster bed. Palace access for foreigners is only via the East Gate. If cycling or motorcycling you must dismount as you pass through the gate and, due to army sensibilities, you are required to stay on the direct access way and palace loop road. From this road you can see (but technically should not approach) the tomb of King Mindon , a large drum-tower , sheds containing over 600 stone inscription slabs and a small airplane on some rocks in the trees.
You’ll see the big ramparts and surrounding moat and think this must be a big deal. Well, it was. When the monarchy came to an end, this was its last home when the British took it in 1885 and ousted King Thibaw. During World War II most of it was destroyed by fire and what you see today within the walls is a reconstruction from the 1990s. The space is shared by military grounds now, but you can still see what the Glass Palace quarters, the Great Audience Hall, and Lion Throne Room looked like. There is also a climbable watchtower. The Royal Mint and a clock tower survived the WWII fire.

Do NOT take photos of the soldiers or military installations!!!

The Palace opens daily from 7:30 am until 5 pm. The entrance is the East gate of the citadel. Entrance fee is US$ 5 per person.

The Mandalay Zaycho Market

Located at the heart of Mandalay and built during the reign of King Mindon, Zegyo Market is the oldest and largest shopping market in Mandalay. In Burmese, Zegyo means ‘cheap cost’. Most of the necessary products are sold in here with the quality corresponding with price, from seasoning, food, fruits, fabrics and personal utensils to more senior items such as handicrafts, gems and jewelry. Myanmar is well-known as ‘The golden land’, so it is easy to buy the gold leaf or gilded souvenirs in jewelry stores along the market. The merchants from China, India and Thailand also regularly send goods to here. In this market, the forms of the retail or wholesale are accepted. Although Mandalay has no large commercial centers and shopping centers, visitors can still find the abundant and diverse items in Zegyo Market.

Shwenandaw Kyaung (Teak Temple)

The Shwenandaw Monastery is located a few hundred meters from the North East section of the Royal Palace grounds, next to the Atumashi pagoda. From downtown Mandalay you can get there by rickshaw which should cost around US$2 or by private taxi at around US$4.

Once part of the king’s residence, this beautifully carved teak pagoda is a must see. It is one of the few original buildings surviving in Mandalay but it is not in its original location. Some parts of the original palace was removed for family reasons by a king, which saved it from being destroyed by allied bombing in WW-II. It was carried piece by piece from the palace grounds and set up here as a Buddhist monastery in 1880.

This monastery built completely by teak and inside the temple got Buddha 10 lives. Architects will love this monastery and got a lot of pictures to take.
At the Golden Palace Monastery you can buy a Mandalay archeological zone ticket at US$ 10 that is valid for a week. This ticket is also valid for the Atumashi Pagoda located right next to it and for a number of sites around Mandalay in the towns of Sagaing, Innwa and Amarapura.

Kuthodaw Paya

The Kuthodaw pagoda in Mandalay comprises of a gilded pagoda, hundreds of shrines housing inscribed marble slabs and several pavilions. The pagoda is also called “the world’s largest book”, named after the 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings. It has 730 leaves and 1460 pages; each page is 107 centimeters (3.51 ft) wide, 153 centimeters (5.02 ft) tall and 13 centimeters (5.1 in) thick. Each stone tablet has its own roof and precious gem on top in a small cave-like structure of Sinhalese relic casket type called kyauksa gu (stone inscription cave in Burmese), and they are arranged around a central golden pagoda.

In Burmese known as the Maha Lawka Marazein Paya, the Kuthodaw is located at the foot of Mandalay Hill. The large grounds offer good views upwards of Mandalay Hill with its many temples and pagodas.

The Kuthodaw Paya or “Royal merit pagoda” was built by King Mindon Min at the same time the nearby Royal Palace was built. Construction started shortly after the founding of Mandalay in 1857. The King built the Kuthodaw to leave a great work of merit for future generations. The Kuthodaw pagoda resembles the nearby Sandamuni pagoda that also features a large zedi and hundreds of inscribed marble slabs, which are contained in a smaller, more compact area.
The pagoda is located just East of the Mandalay Royal Palace in the North part of Mandalay, very near the Sandamuni pagoda, Atumashi monastery and Shwenandaw Monastery. The pagoda opens daily from 8 am until 8 pm. Entrance fee is US$ 5 per person.

Mahamuni Pagoda

The Mahamuni Pagoda or Mahamuni Buddha temple is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Burma.

The temple houses the Mahamuni Buddha image, the most highly revered Buddha image in the country. The pagoda was built in 1785 by King Bodawpaya of the Konbaung dynasty after the Mahamuni image was captured during the invasion of the Arakan Kingdom.

Several shops around the temple sell offerings for the Mahamuni Buddha image such as incense sticks, candles and flowers.

The Mahamuni museum on the temple grounds tells about the history of Buddhism. The museum displays information about the various places in the life of the Buddha, from His birth place in Nepal, the site where He reached enlightenment and the site of His passing into final Nirvana. There are also maps that explain about the spread of Buddhism across Asia during the last 25 centuries.

The Mahamuni Pagoda is located between 82nd street and 84th street. Best way to get there is by private taxi or rickshaw, which will cost around US$ 2 for a rickshaw and US$ 4 for a taxi from downtown Mandalay. The temple grounds are open daily from 6 am until 8 pm. Entrance fee is US$ 4 per person. Since this is the most highly revered Buddha image in the country, the temple grounds can get busy, especially on Buddhist holidays. During the Mahamuni Pagoda festival held annually in February thousands of Buddhist devotees come to pay their respect to the Mahamuni Buddha. Within is a Buddha image that is believed to be one of only five that were made during the earthly lifetime of Siddhartha Gautama. (Two are in paradise, so you might count them as three on earth.) The 6.5-ton bronze Buddha sits at the center of the complex and the faithful parade past applying squares of gold leaf as they go. For something special for early birds, get there at 4 am when monks wash the Buddha’s face and brush his teeth.