Transfer to the Mandalay jetty and board a private local boat for a 1-hr cruise on the Irrawaddy River to Mingun.
Visit the main sites of Mingun beginning with the famous Mingun Pahtodawgyi. This huge brick structure was left unfinished after an astrologer predicted the King would die should the temple be completed. In the 1800s, an earthquake left several large cracks in the structure. Continue on to the beautiful Hsinbyume Pagoda, whose distinctive style is meant to resemble the mythical Mount Meru. Then, see the Mingun Bell which, weighing in at more than 90 tons, is considered the world’s largest uncracked ringing bell.
Return to Mandalay by boat and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
Next, visit Mahamuni Pagoda. This pagoda is home to one of the country’s most revered Buddha image which, over the years, has been covered with meters of gold leaf, giving it a distinct ‘lumpy’ texture. This is the perfect place to witness Burmese culture in action, as a great number of locals come to pay their respects and earn merit.
Mandalay is well-known for its skilled craftsmen. After Mahamuni Pagoda, tour some of the city’s traditional workshops, and learn about the city’s unique cottage industry. Observe the production of wood carvings, kalaga tapestries, and gold-leaf using techniques that have remained unchanged for centuries.
OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Make a marionette- Join local craftsmen at their workshop and create a unique traditional puppet. A hands-on way to learn about the local culture and create a memorable, personalized souvenir!
Continue the tour of Mandalay with a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda, whose 729 marble stone slabs of Buddhist scriptures have earned it the title being home to the ‘World’s Biggest Book’. Continue to Shwenandaw Monastery, the only remaining building from the 19th century Royal Palace. This grand teakwood building is known for its exquisite woodcarving.
Afterwards, there’s an option head to the top of Mandalay Hill -the highest point in the city. From this vantage point, get amazing views of the city below as the sun sets.