Things to Do
With the sunny days and pleasant temperatures, you are advised to do outdoor activities rather than indoor visits. A nice short trek to explore Mandalay or a flight on a hot air balloon would be good options.
Located northeast of Mandalay city, Mandalay Hill is a 240-meter high hill with 1,729 stairs. The city is named after the hill.
Mandalay Hill is known for its abundance of pagodas and monasteries, and for being at the highest altitude in the city. You can catch a wonderful view of the city and of the Irrawaddy River from the top.
If you wish, you can avoid climbing the stairs by taking a motor bike or taxi to a lift, which takes you directly to the pagoda at the summit. But in this pleasant season, on a cool and sunny day, walking up barefoot provides a good workout in the fresh air. Watching the stunning sunrise or sunset from the hill is highly recommended.
It’s quite an experience to survey the foggy city dotted with pagodas in the early morning sunlight; or to see the beautiful pagodas and stunning colors as the sun is setting. A special atmosphere is generated as you watch the sunset to the sound of monks chanting nearby.
NB: You should take off your shoes and socks all the way up! Take them with you in a bag.
Sagaing Hill, located 20km south-west of Mandalay, is one of a lush series of hills adjacent to the Irrawaddy River. The hill has numerous pagodas, monasteries and meditation centers, and is renowned as a peaceful place for studies on Buddhism. In this cool and pleasant season, we recommend you visit this hill.
Sagaing Hill is a wonderful place, full of life. Gorgeous temples dot the hillsides, making for a delightful view of hilly jungle, with stupas dotting the scene. The pagoda on top of the hill is also nice, with a spectacular line of 45 Buddhas. Buddhist culture is really vibrant here.
The hill also offers great views of the surrounding area, including the Irrawaddy River, and great photo opportunities.
1. Wear decent clothes when visiting religious sites. Please cover your shoulders and knees, and take off your shoes and socks, when entering pagoda areas.
2. Don’t disturb people when they are praying or meditating. Visitors should avoid loud talk and should take care not to touch anyone who is meditating.
Rent a bike or motor bike to visit the area around Mandalay
Taking a bicycle or motor bike is the best way to explore the different sites of the city, the landscape and the people here. Also, January is the best month to bike, with its cool and sunny weather.
If you would like to learn more about the culture of Myanmar, it’s advisable to have a guide when biking. Local guides will be helpful and informative. They share from their personal experience and insight to give you a better understanding of Mandalay. In the company of a guide, you can enjoy a day full of surprises and discoveries.
Guides will take you along roads less traveled and even to areas that would not be accessible by car or tour bus. This gives you the opportunity to see lesser known villages and Buddhist monasteries.
You can climb hills, jump off your bike to take pictures when you please, talk to villagers, Buddhist monks or nuns, drink tea and eat dinner in local houses, and observe everything along the way.