Myanmar’s second largest city was the Royal capital in the pre-colonial era. It is a city of fascinating monasteries and gem covered temples and has the huge fortifications of the former royal palace at its heart. Mandalay is not an ancient city, founded as it was in 1857, but it is deemed to be the cultural hub of Myanmar and is a centre for silk and cotton weaving, marble carving, bronze and silver crafts and Kalaga tapestries. You can get a great feel for the city and its position in the heart of Myanmar as you watch the sunset from Mandalay Hill.
Excursions out of Mandalay include the monastery and pagoda covered hills of Sagaing, the former ancient capitals of Amarapura and Ava, as well as the scenic trip upriver to Mingun, home to the world's largest uncracked bronze bell.