Take the family on a special local experience of Mandalay. Be greeted with the guide who have prepared a traditional longyi, a sarong-like skirt worn by men and women, for everyone to wear during today’s sightseeing tour. Choose to also try and put on thanaka, a local yellow paste used as sunscreen to be truly one with the locals.
Start this insightful guided tour on Thone Bane (a three-wheeled motor transport option) to gain a better understanding of Mandalay’s rich cultural heritage. Thone Bane vehicles have become popular transportation in Mandalay in recent years and are an exciting and fun way to explore especially for families with children.
Stop by Mahamuni Pagoda for a visit. Home to one of Myanmar’s most revered Buddha images, get a good look at this gold-leafed Buddha image and walk around the temple grounds for a feel of its unique spiritual vibes. Children can choose to feed the fish in a temple which is a way local Buddhists make merit and a fun encounter for kids!
Next, visit a local craft shop in Mandalay where Myanmar string puppets are made. Here choose a marionette’s design (clothes, face, body) and take part in a 1-hour workshop led by one of the trainers to produce a lovely piece of a unique personalized marionette which can be taken back home as a souvenir for a personal touch. This hands-on activity is suitable for both adults and children and will surely be a memorable one.
After that, hop on a private air-conditioned car and continue to the Mandalay jade market where locally mined white, yellow and green jades are traded. See the stones in various stages of production, from blocks of uncut stones to beautifully crafted jade jewellery. Watch as skilled craftsmen cut and polish the stones on wet saws and merchants haggle over prices. It is also a great opportunity for kids to learn about gemstones and how these precious jewelleries are made.
Having built up an appetite from haggling with jade merchants, transfer to a local restaurant for lunch.
After lunch, head to the city center and cross a large moat before arriving at the iconic former Royal Palace in the centre of Mandalay. The palace was constructed between 1857 and 1859 when King Mindon founded the new royal capital city of Mandalay. It was the primary residence of the last two kings of Myanmar and is steeped in history. Although the palace compound was destroyed during WWII, a replica was built in the 1990s and the history and majesty lives on. Walk in the footsteps of the country’s former kings exploring the large compound and listening to the expert guide recount fascinating stories while the children are busy looking for the visual and spoken clues to a fun and educational quiz about the former Royal Palace. An enjoyable and proactive experience, this is definitely a great way to educate children on the history of Myanmar. Upon completing the tour, a small prize will be given in recognition of their newly acquired knowledge about the history of Mandalay!
Following this in-depth look at Mandalay’s cultural heritage, cool off with an ice cream break at a popular sweet shop which sells an array of homemade treats. The sweets are delicious and it is a great place to meet friendly local families.
After the treat, head toward Amarapura and visit a silk weaving workshop, before continuing to U Bein Bridge, 200-year-old teak bridge. The bridge was constructed of 984 teak posts that were once part of the deserted Inwa Palace. At 1.2 kilometers in length, it is the world’s longest teak bridge.
Cap off a day of sightseeing with a boat trip along the bridge and enjoy the fabulous views of the surrounding farms and streams. Board a private wooden boat and watch the colours change as the sun dips lower into the sky, with the last rays of light illuminating the old bridge. It is not only the best way to be a bit apart from the crowd but also a perfect spot for the amazing photos.
In the evening, be transferred back to the hotel.