Things to Do
May is the off-season for tourism and the transition time between hot and rainy seasons, with high rainfall and severe heat. In this hot and humid weather, it’s better to do indoor rather than outdoor activities. Temple tours are a good possibility.
Attend the Mahamuni Pagoda Festival
The Mahamuni Pagoda, one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Myanmar, houses the most highly revered Buddha image in the country, the Mahamuni Buddha. Because of its popularity, the temple grounds can get busy, especially on Buddhist holidays.
An annual pagoda-festival is convened at the end of the Buddhist Lent, usually in early February. Mandalay locals celebrate the full-moon eve of Thabodwe by converging on the Mahamuni Pagoda.
During the festival, the most devoted believers stay several days to listen to a Buddhist philosophical text being read aloud by monks.
Alternatively, you can enjoy various forms of entertainment such as traditional dance, musical performances and local theater. There is also a major social gathering of families and friends.
Thousands of people from all over the country make the pilgrimage to Mahamuni Pagoda for the festival. The temple is the center of activities, bursting with energy.
When is the Mahamuni Pagoda Festival?
On the western calendar, the festival takes place on the following dates:
2018: January 31
Attend the Htamane Festival
The full-moon eve of Thabodwe is also known as the Htamane Festival, and celebrates Myanmar's extensive rice-growing culture. In the early morning of the Full Moon day, men compete to donate glutinous rice to the Buddha and to other people.
On this occasion, villagers everywhere cook up large batches of the glutinous-rice dish known as htamane. This popular sweet snack is made of glutinous rice, coconut flakes, roast peanuts, fritters, and fried ginger. When it’s ready, it’s offered to the Buddha and given away for free to any visitors to the pagodas.
Just don’t forget to experience these interesting activities and taste this delicious snack!
Visit Mandalay Palace
Mandalay Palace, built by King Mindon, the last king of the country in the 1850s, destroyed during the Second World War and rebuilt in 1990s, is a good place for catching a glimpse of Myanmar’s history and culture.
After reading about the palace history in the museum, it’s very interesting to walk around and see the wall, gates, moats and timber buildings.
Even though it’s a duplicate, Mandalay Palace is a beautiful reconstruction of former glory. The palace consists of 109 buildings, mostly made of wood and decorated with wood carvings.
Presently the most imposing building is the soaring multilayered pyramid of gilt filigree above the throne room. On visiting, you’ll marvel at its splendor.
After wandering round the chamber, you can visit the Watch Tower. A climb onto the tower’s viewing platform will give you a 360-degree picture of the entire complex.