Mandalay: An Introduction
Right in the heart of Burma, only 150 years old, Mandalay is a leafy but surprisingly modern metropolis. Studded with glinting glass structures built by its large Chinese immigrant population, & sprinkled with lavish Buddhist stupas, Mandalay is a case study in Burman cultural contradiction.
The city is ethnically & ethically diverse, as famous for its millionaires as for its large population of monks. The Chinese make up nearly 40% of Mandalay’s population, with the rest a blend of Burmese, Karin, a few Nepalese & the Shan, whose heritage reaches back into Thailand & Laos.
Mandalay, or 'City of Jems' was Burma’s royal capital, from its founding in 1857 to 1885, when the British took control. Its most imposing attraction is the Royal Palace citadel, which occupies a perfect square & sits, surrounded by broad standoffish moat, at the foot of Mandalay Hill.
The Hill, with its glittering abundance of monasteries & pagodas, has received Buddhist pilgrims for centuries. It’s definitely worth a visit, whether you feel up to puffing your way up the slope on foot, or prefer a bouncy pick-up ride up the narrow hillside track.
Mandalay is not all religion & power, however. There’s a relatively lively nightlife, with a sprinling of bars & restaurants serving a broad variety of cuisine. For an authentic taste of Mandalay, get your lips around some gorgeous Muslim Chinese Noodles (pronounced pan-thei-kao-sweh). Served with a generous blend of spices, chilli and chicken, they’re delicious, & add a certain kick to your visit!
There is also a vibrant central market and a small evening market. Throughout the city you'll find a wide array of tea and coffee shops; find your perfect spot and sit yourself down to enjoy this charismatic city and its people as they go about their business.
Welcome to 'Kipling's Mandalay', the last royal capital.