28 April 2015

Meandering in Myanmar: Mandalay Palace

My last city in Myanmar was Mandalay. Funny, this city's name evokes exotic places and sights and flavors, but in reality, it was somewhat anti-climactic. It's not the most attractive city in Myanmar, and it also is a little tough and rather unwelcoming. Perhaps the fact that I was already templed out by then didn't help. Plenty of Myanmar's sights are temples and stupas, and so it is a little hard to find something that is not related to Buddhism. Anyway, after spending 5 hours in a minibus from Bagan to Mandalay, I ended up here, and the first thing I checked out was the Mandalay Palace.

Mandalay happens to be the last capital of independent Myanmar, until the British came and occupied them. Hence, this was the latest capital. The city is designed like a grid, and you give addresses to scooter taxis by means of their intersections (e.g. 22nd and 81st). In the middle of this chaotic and dusty city, there is the large square piece of land owned by the Myanmar Armed Forces, surrounded by a moat. And in the middle of that, there is the palace. The place is so big that there are scooter taxis willing to take you from the edge of the moat to the inside, which is about 2 minutes away by scooter, but a considerable walk, especially if it is hot.

The pictures you see above are from the reconstruction of the palace. There is gold, of course, and plenty of pointy objects. However, as with plenty of Myanmar reconstruction attempts, this is also haphazardly done, and therefore is nice to look at from afar, but not close up.

There are several sections of the palace, and some are better reconstructed than others. I guess, the farther into the palace you go, the less beautiful they are. Anyway, it was still a thing to see, and therefore I checked it out. Honestly, I would suggest not visiting Mandalay, as there are plenty of other interesting cities in Myanmar. However, there is an international airport, and it makes a good itinerary avoiding backtracking to Yangon. Oh well.


  1. I'm glad you showed so much because I had no idea what Malaysia looked like... none of the places sounded even remotely familiar! Weird.

    1. Zhu,

      Yes, Myanmar was definitely not on everyone's radar. It's perhaps the most undiscovered country in Southeast Asia, and visiting it was definitely an adventure for me!