Mandalay Hill is a 240 metres hill that is located to the northeast of the city centre of Mandalay. The city took its name from the hill. Mandalay Hill is known for its abundance of pagodas and monasteries, and has been a major pilgrimage site for Burmese Buddhists for nearly two centuries. In the old days you had to climb Mandalay Hill on foot, a 30 minutes journey to the top. Nowadays visitors can take a shared pick-up for a handful of kyats.
Mahamuni Buddha Temple
Mahamuni Buddha Temple is Myanmar's second holiest pilgrimage site. It is a 4-metre high Buddha statue, made of gold and decorated with precious jewels. Only men are allowed to approach the Mahamuni. For 1600kyat, you can get a small pack of gold leaves to partake in the ceremonial tradition of decorating the buddha statue. Over the past century a layer of gold over 6" deep has been pressed into the body of Mahamuni.
Shwenandaw Monastery is a monastery made entire out of teak wood with beautiful intricate carvings. It was originally part of the royal palace built by King Mindon and moved to its current location by his son, King Thibaw in the late 19th century. It is the only major building from the original wooden royal palace to have survived the bombing during World War II, and thus is the only authentic part of the royal palace which can still be seen today.
Royal Palace is a walled city within Mandalay. It was built in 1861 by King Mindon, to fulfil a prophecy. The palace, although destroyed in World War II, was rebuilt, and was renovated recently. The palace contains several pavilions and chambers. Tourists are permitted to enter only from the East Gate. Replicas of throne rooms and chairs and Madame Tussaud style images of Kings Mindon and Thibaw with their chief consorts are on display.
Mingun is a town located 11 km up the Ayeyarwady River on the west bank from Mandalay. Its main attraction is the ruined Mingun Paya. You can climb the Mingun Paya, but no shoes or socks are allowed and the stairs and the stones on top can be incredibly hot with no shaded parts to cool your feet, so be careful and sit down with your feet off the stones to avoid burning them. Other sites include the world's largest uncracked bell and Hsinbyume Paya, a white pagoda.
The Moustache Brothers are a comedic trio from Mandalay, Burma known for live performances that combine screwball comedy and classic Burmese dance. Par Par Lay, one of the brothers passed away in late 2013, but his brother Lu Maw and the cousin continue to perform the show every night.
Ayeyawaddy Dolphin Protected Area
The endangered Irrawaddy dolphin can be found in the Ayeyawaddy Dolphin Protected Area, a 74-km stretch of river located north of Mandalay, which is accessible by boat. The area is noted for communities who practice "cooperative fishing", the unique phenomenon of fishing and communicating with dolphins.