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Home to several unique sites – as well as the foundations for what would have been the largest temple in the world – Mingun is a compact riverside village that makes a popular half-day excursion from Mandalay. The journey is part of the attraction, whether puttering up the wide Ayeyarwady or roller-coastering along a rural lane from Sagaing.

Best time to visit

You can visit Mingun at any time depending on the kind of weather you enjoy. The dry season runs from January to May and it can be very hot and dusty at this time. The rainy season however is from June to October and although it is cooler, it can also rain every single day which may put a damper on any plans to go sightseeing. As such, one of the nicest times to visit is from November to December when the rains have finished but the weather is still relatively cool.

Check the below table for the general idea of Mingun weather throughout the year.

Month Avg. High (°C) Avg. Mean (°C) Avg. Low (°C)
Jan 30.1 22.9 15.3
Feb 33.3 25.5 16.7
Mar 37.2 29.9 21.6
Apr 38.7 32.1 25
May 37.2 31.9 26.4
Jun 35.8 31.4 26.7
Jul 35.4 31.1 26.6
Aug 34.3 30.2 26
Sep 34.3 30.1 25.8
Oct 33.2 28.8 24.4
Nov 31.9 26.8 21.2
Dec 29.4 23.2 16.5

Mingun's current weather and 7-day forecast


Have you ever visited a new place and felt ‘wow’ about it? For many visitors, it happens at Mingun.

Mingun may not be as popular as other cities in Myanmar, but don’t let that fool you. Mingun is a smaller but beautiful upcoming tourist destination that is worth a visit. You will be surprised by some of the unique things to do and places you can explore at this hidden destination.

Mingun Paya

Begun in 1790, Mingun Paya would have been the world’s biggest stupa if it had been completed. Work stopped in 1819 when King Bodawpaya died, and at that point only the bottom third of the structure was finished. What's there is still huge: a roughly 240ft cube on a 460ft lower terrace. It's often described as the world’s largest pile of bricks. There's a steep staircase to the top, though since the 2012 earthquake, you can only climb midway for amazing views of the countryside.

For added drama, there are several deep cracks, caused by the massive 1838 earthquake.

Mingun Nat Festival

Pays homage to the brother and sister of the Teak Tree, who drowned in the river while clinging to a trunk. This fascinating festival takes place from the fifth to 10th days of the waxing moon of Tabaung – the Burmese version of Carnival, complete with all of the associated public drunken behaviour.

Hsinbyume Paya

Built in 1816 by King Bagyidaw, possibly using materials pilfered from Mingun Paya, this unusually striking pagoda rises in seven wavy, whitewashed terraces representing the seven mountain ranges around Mt Meru (the very topmost stupa), the mountain at the centre of the Buddhist universe. Like the Taj Mahal, this paya was meant as a monument to the tragic death of the king's wife, Queen Hsinbyume, who died in childbirth. The climb to the top is worth it for the views.

Mingun Bell

In 1808 Bodawpaya continued his biggest-is-best obsession by commissioning a bronze bell weighing 55,555 viss (90 tonnes). It’s 13ft high and more than 16ft across at the lip, and was the world's biggest ringable bell for many decades, albeit now surpassed by the giant bell of Pingdingshan, China. You can duck beneath and stand within the bell while some helpful bystander gives it a good thump with a wooden post.

Chinthe Ruins

Across the road from Mingun Paya lie two house-sized brick-and-stucco ruins, damaged in the 1838 earthquake. These are just the haunches of what would have been truly gigantic chinthe (the pagoda's half-lion, half-dragon guardian deities).

Pondaw Paya

To see what Mingun Paya would have looked like had it ever been completed, have a quick look at diminutive Pondaw Paya, 200yd south at the end of the tourist strip.

Most people choose to visit Mingun for the day from Mandalay as there is a much larger and more comprehensive selection of places to stay in Mandalay. Accommodation can be hard to come by in Mingun, particularly for foreigners as guesthouses need to be licensed to accept non-Burmese nationals. With this in mind, it is best not to plan to stay over in Mingun.

There are half a dozen snack shacks around the Mingun Paya entrance. 

Point, near the ferry jetty, has a river view and serves draught Spirulina beer (K800). This is the best of the very few sit-down eateries in Mingun, with a nice river view.

How to get to Mingun

The best way to get to Mingun is to take a boat from the central jetty in Mandalay which is on Strand Road. The boat leaves every day at 9 am and makes the return journey at 12.30 pm which will give you time to see some of the main sites in town.

The boat costs MMK 5,000 for a single ticket, or you can hire your own boat for USD 25 which is a good choice if you are traveling as part of a group.

Another way to get to Mingun is from neighbouring Sagaing although the road is basic and even though the journey only takes around 30 minutes, some drivers may be reluctant to take you depending on the season. As such, it is best to just get the boat from Mandalay if possible.

How to get around Mingun

There are not a huge number of choices for getting around Mingun although to visit most of the attractions in town there is no need to take public transport. You can easily walk along the riverfront or you can take a motorbike taxi if you want to go further afield.

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