Mandalay – a town of some historic fame thanks to the poem ‘The Road to Mandalay’ by Mr Rudyard Kipling. In fact, although he did visit Burma in the last 19th Century, he never actually went to Mandalay. As a destination, Mandalay is worthwhile, especially if you like your temples when you travel.
Mandalay is at the centre of a rural area, and gateway to hill country as well. It’s one of the drier places you can visit, and yet has a citadel in the middle with a very impressive, wide moat. This area is mostly off limits to visitors as it is actually a military sector, however the Mandalay Palace is in the middle of it and you can visit that. It’s more of a complex with many buildings, mostly wooden, and a couple of large towers. You’ll see this strange circular tower, visitors can climb it for views across the palace.
There are some other temples as well, some painted white, some painted gold, but the most impressive is the Shwenandaw Monastery made from teak. It looks aged for sure, but has also held up really well over time, it was opened in 1880.
Mandalay Hill stands over the town, and there is a covered walkway connecting all the temples on the hill until you get to the one at the top. As you walk up you meet friendly monks and past vendors selling many different items such as things for prayer to souvenir t-shirts. And once you get the top, well, you are treated to a fair ol’ view.
Meanwhile below, parts of the rural area mingle with what is, technically at least, a city.
Has Kipling ever made it to Mandalay, would he have liked what he saw? Well, I did! May the Journey Never End!