We arrived in Mandalay at another god awful hour of 3:30am after our bus from Inle Lake.
Luckily though, the hotel we had booked at- Nylon Hotel (which i would recommend!) let us check into our room on arrival at 4:00am for no extra change which was very helpful so we got some sleep until the middle of the morning.
We had a walk around Mandalay but we weren’t particularly impressed, its a very local city with not much going for it in terms of tourist hotspots so we spent the afternoon on the wifi as it was the best we had had in Myanmar so far!
That evening we did force ourselves to get up and head to Mandalay hill, we caught a tuk tuk there which involved Steph and I standing on the back hanging off but it was great fun and i think the locals thought we were crazy because we loved it so much!
You can walk from the bottom of the hill to the top but we were having a lazy day and still very tried from our bus journey so got a taxi up for a cheap price between 4 of us.
Once at the top it was a very nice place, i thought it would be more of a park/ actual hill but instead it was a temple (although should i have been surprised.. i am in Myanmar afterall!) so we had a walk around, had a chat with some monks who were practising English which was cute.. although awkward now and again when we just couldn’t understand what they were saying, and we finished by seeing the sun go down which is one of the most popular things to do from the top of the hill.
The following day we booked a day trip to the ancient city, we had been advised to go by one of the girls who we did our trek with and she said she really enjoyed it.
I don’t know if it was because of our guide (who was pretty useless) or the fact that we were totally over seeing temples and pagoda’s as they were all merging into one and of course we started the trip by seeing the best Pagoda in the Country in Yangon and then saw some amazing ones in Bagan but we didn’t enjoy the day!
We started by visiting a Monastery and saw the monks line up to get their morning meal, it was an experience to see but i also felt very awkward as this is now a tourist attraction and some people were being quite disrespectful and pointing camera’s in their face when really they just wanted to get some food.
One highlight of the day however was going to a School, our guide told us they were all orphans however after reading a leaflet we were given afterwards i don’t believe they were.. But it was lovely to see children just all having fun. All the boys were monks and were dressed in their red robes and the girls were all nuns and dressed in lovely light pink robes.
We ended the day by going to the Ubein Bridge, i had seen pictures of this bridge and its quite iconic as far as tourist spots in Myanmar go so i thought it had some big history behind it but actually its just the longest teak wood bridge in the world.. slightly impressive i guess but we weren’t overly impressed. I think it is better to get a boat and go at sunset so you can see the iconic sunset view with the bridge in the background but as i said we were tired and just ready to go home after this.
We had to spend all of the next day in Mandalay before getting an overnight bus back to Yangon to catch our flight to Bangkok which we literally just spent in the hotel lobby on the internet lol.
I think if we had visited Mandalay first we would of been more impressed but after nearly 2 weeks in Myanmar dodging traffic in the big cities and visiting pagoda after pagoda we were just a bit over it and ready to start the next adventure.
If you are visiting Myanmar and are on a tight timescale i would say to avoid Mandalay but of course thats just my opinion!