Duration : One/Half Day
Route Map : Mandalay - Shwenandaw Monastery - Kuthodaw Pagoda - Ubein Bridge - Mandalay
Mandalay is a city and former royal capital in northern Myanmar (formerly Burma) on the Irrawaddy River. In its center is the restored Mandalay Palace from the Konbaung Dynasty, surrounded by a moat. Mandalay Hill provides views of the city from its summit, which is reached by covered stairway. At its foot, the Kuthodaw Pagoda houses hundreds of Buddhist-scripture-inscribed marble slabs.
Today sightseeing in Mandalay by motorbikes starts with a visit to Shwenandaw Monastery. This monastery is of great importance not only as a fine example of traditional Burmese carpentry but as a fragile reminder of the old Mandalay fort. The building is covered inside and out with carved panels.
mandalay motorbike tours
Unfortunately though, many exterior panels have weathered badly. Then move on to Kuthodaw Pagoda, also known as the Maha Lawka Marazein Paya, which has also been dubbed ‘the world’s biggest book’, for standing around the central stupa are 729 marble slabs on which are inscribed the entire Buddhist cannon, or Tripitaka. Each slab is housed in its own individual small stupa. King Mindon convened the Fifth Buddhist Synod and used a team of 2,400 monks to read the whole book in a nonstop relay lasting nearly six months. In 1900, a paper edition of the stone original was printed in 38 volumes each with about 400 pages.
Continue to U Bein Bridge, a long and rickety teak bridge crossing Taungthaman Lake curved to withstand the wind and waves. The teak logs and planks used were from the ruined Ava Palace. You will also observe 1000 or so monks having their main meal for the day at Mahagandayon Monastery, they are prohibited to take any food after midday. A visit to Gold Leaf Beating workshop afterward and view artisans making thin leaves of gold leaf used for offerings, and visits to stone carving, woodworking and bronze casting workshops as time permits.
Later on, we’ll ride our motorbikes back to hotel to finish the trip here.