“For the wind is in the palm trees, and the temple-bells they say: Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay.”
The Road to Mandalay, Rudyard Kipling.
From Kipling’s poem, the very name ‘Mandalay’ conjures up alluring ideas of a serene and peaceful place, being timeless and quintessentially Asian. It colourfully illustrates the nostalgia of Asia’s exoticism and evokes images of a Myanmar from years gone by. However, Mandalay is a relatively young and dynamic city, where glinting glass structures sit alongside lavish Buddhist stupas. It’s the economic centre of Upper Myanmar with wide avenues, traffic and a fast-paced way of life; modern Mandalay represents ‘new Burma’. Despite its growing modernity, evidence of Mandalay’s years as Myanmar’s royal capital is still visible. The city is built along the banks of the Ayeyarwady River at the foot of Mandalay Hill. Its most imposing attraction is the Royal Palace. This symmetrical four-sided walled citadel
is surrounded by a moat and certainly looks impressive from the outside. The city has also held onto its tradition of arts and crafts. Workshops, employing time-honoured methods, can be found throughout the city, producing everything from the gold leaf that worshippers place onto sacred Buddha images to polished jade. The former capital, Amarapura is located just outside the city and is home to the unique U Bein Bridge. Visit at sunset for some unbeatable photo opportunities.