The second largest city in Myanmar, Mandalay is the subject of a famous Rudyard Kipling poem.
Mandalay, was the last Royal capital of Myanmar, and suffered heavy bombing during the second world war by Japanese troops.
During the bombing the impressive Mandalay Palace, in fact the entire city was flattened, and it wasn´t until the 1990s, after the isolationist rule of Ne Win that Mandalay began to move forward, rebuilding the impressive Palace and embarking on a construction plan of modernising itself to become one of the most visited cities in Myanmar.
The city is not one of the most picturesque in the world, but the vibrancy of it and the multi-cultural locals seem to make up for that.
Weather & Climate
The climate in Mandalay is semi-arid, due to its location in the central dry zone of Myanmar.
Temperatures are generally hot with the months of April and May seeing the hottest temperatures, which can exceed 35º centigrade. The year is split into two distinctive seasons, wet which runs from May to October and the dry which spans the remaining 6 months.
What to do
Apart from visiting the many monuments, temples and monasteries Mandalay has some wonderful street markets that are full of local street food vendors, which is a great way to sample the delights the Myanmar cuisine.
It is a relatively young city, having been built in 1857 under the orders of King Mindon.
Mandalay Palace is an impressive sight and provides an insight into the desire of the King to create a prestigious and modern city.
Mandalay is robust in its design with streets running north to south and east to west, creating a grid-like pattern.
If you stay within the downtown region of the city getting around is best done on foot, with many temples, markers and the Mandalay Palace all easily accessible.
Travelling further afield would require the hiring of either a moped or a taxi which are inexpensive and functional ways of getting around this busy city.
If you are going to be visiting the attractions, then get yourself an entry ticket which allows entry to many of the sights and that are valid for 7 days.