The first Myanmar must see is the U-Bein Bridge – the longest teak footbridge in the world. It is 1300 yards long across Taungthaman Lake. It’s a wonderful place to walk along where many locals were playing, relaxing and going about their business. If you’re curious about Mandalay’s daily life this is a chance for you. Sunset is the best time to go when many villagers are commuting across the bridge. However, one thing you should acknowledge that is the experiences are different depending on which season you visit. There’s almost no water under the bridge in dry season. After the summer rains, apparently the water comes up to just under the bridge planks.
Located in the center of citadel area, Mandalay Palace is the other big Mandalay attraction. There is a watchtower to climb and a minor museum and information displays. It’s enjoyable to walk around
Mandalay is flat so in order to get good views of the whole area, walking up Mandalay hill is a must do attraction. Aside the views, this walk itself is fantastic. It takes about 40 minutes to finish the covered stairway on the southern slope of the hill. It must be walked with your barefoot but no need to worry because there are plenty bench seats lining most of the walkway where you can stop to take a rest. However, walking is not the only way to the top, you can also drive up. At the top of Mandalay Hill is a great temple area. This is also a popular place to watch the sunset.
The other highlight in Mandalay is Mingun – a village up the river from Mandalay. The main attractions here are some beautiful temples especially the Mingun Pahtodawgyi. This stupa is incomplete and it was never completed. If it had of been, it would be the largest in the world at 150 metres, absolutely huge. It’s a steep, but relatively quick climb to the top with great views over the surrounding temples.
There is also the Mingun Bell which is the heaviest functioning bell, and many other temples that are worth a visit. The streets are lined with stalls so this is also a good shopping opportunity – although be careful as the quality is not great if my purchases are anything to go by. I visited here on a boat, but it is also possible to visit via taxi which will have to travel via Sagaing to get here from Mandalay. The boat ride is part of the appeal. It takes about 50 minutes and is a nice introduction to Myanmar. I was able to see Mingun and its temples from quite a distance away.