Mandalay was the royal capital of the last reigning monarch and the attractions in Mandalay are reminders of the time when Burmese kingdoms were still in existence. As Myanmar’s 2nd largest city, it is now a commercial center with rail, road, river and air links to all parts of the country.. The main tourist spots in Mandalay are Mandalay Palace. Built in the early 19th century, and famous for its teak carvings of Buddhist myths and Kuthodaw pagoda, which was built in 1857 and is home to the world’s largest book. Mandalay Hill is a must see, providing a view of the city from its summit, which is reached by a romantic stairway and is a necessary stop on any city visit.
The historically important former royal capital Inwa (Ava) is also nearby where you can ride a pony cart down tree-lined paths to see the remains of this ancient city. The awe-inspiring U Bein Bridge, is also a must-see, particularly at sunrise or sunset for the best photo opportunities. At 1.2 km long it is the longest teakwood bridge in the world, it is also said to be the oldest, having been built more than two centuries ago! The bridge’s beauty not only lies in its structure and history, but also in its traditional use by the local community. Hundreds of locals and saffron-robed monks walk or ride their bicycles along it, and fishermen go about their daily work in its shadow.