This trip was my first time in Myanmar, a wonderful and amazing country worth a detour. After many trips in South East Asia, I think Myanmar is a really special place, out of time with a unique atmosphere created among other things by its countless temples.
From Hong Kong, you can reach Mandalay, Myanmar flying via Yangon (Rangoon) or Bangkok.
Mandalay is the ideal base to discover the 3 former royal capitals of Myanmar: Amapura, Inwa and Sagaing. Here is my itinerary for a 2-day stay in the unforgettable Mandalay.
A beautiful temple decorated with jade tiles.
Only men are allowed to apply Gold leaves on the Buddha statue.
Kyaung Maha Ganayon monastery for the monk’s lunch. You can also observe the daily life of the monks in this monastery.
Umin Thounzeh – This Buddhist terrace is made of a colonnade built in a croissant shaped decorated by 45 statues of Buddha.
You can also visit the Paya Pon Nya Shin temple to enjoy the beautiful sceneries of the many stupas and the river.
Take the boat to cross the river. A horsecart promenade is a great and romantic way to discover the temples of this area.
Make a stop at the watch tower to observe the surroundings from above.
Come back to Amapura for the sunset at the U-Bein bridge.
It is an amazing and beautiful 1.2km teck wood bridge (the longest teck bridge in the world) used by the locals to cross the lake Taungthaman.
Take the boat to reach Mingun (1h to go, 40 minutes to come back) for a half day trip and discover its 3 atypic pagodas.
Mingun Paya Pagoda – would have been one of the largest stupas in the world but is unfinished because of the king Bodawpaya’s death. We can only see one third of the building which has suffered also from the earthquakes in 1838 and 2012.
This temple built in 1807 is very special by its shape and colour: it is circular and white. The 7 terraces represent the mountains surrounding the mount Meru (the mountain at the Center of the universe).
Have a look at the huge Mingun Bell of 90t built in 1808.
The Paya Pondaw is a smaller version of what would have been the Mingun Paya once finished.
Mandalay Palace is located in the heart of the city. Climb up the watch tower to have an overview of the palace, its buildings and the surrounding walls.
Kyaung Shwenandaw also known as golden palace monastery is worth a visit for its magnificent teck carved panels.
Climb up to Paya Kyauktawgyi for a great view of the city at the sunset.
The external walls and columns are decorated by many colourful mirrors arranged in pretty mosaics.
You can then finish your day with a visit to the night market.
Myanmar was a real delight to discover. The country is slowly welcoming more tourists but is still really authentic and beautiful. I found there a lot of inspiration in the temples’ carving decor and the many crafts they are perpetuating.
I hope you enjoyed this itinerary. You can find my other South-East Asia getaways from Hong Kong here or in the getaways category.
Coming soon: the second part of this trip in Myanmar in the beautiful plain of Bagan.