Avoiding the Military Government's Entry Fees in Mandalay

Mandalay Travel Blog

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Mandalay the second largest city in Myanmar is home to many ancient cities that are only a day trip away.

Arriving at Mandalay's large international airport, I was a bit nervous as I caught a taxi into town. The taxi was old, the roads were bad, the roads were dark, I had another 3 locals in the back seat with me and the journey took a whole hour. I was very paranoid about every aspect of the taxi ride, whether I'm going to get robbed, get dropped off in the middle of no where, an accident that is very likely with road conditions as listed above. However I managed to survive the 1 hour trip and was warmly thanked as I arrived at the Nylon Hotel in downtown.

Nylon Hotel had a room for $5 a night, which wasn't too bad at all considering the price and the location.


The following morning I woke up bright and early and figured I'd do a day tour around Mandalay city. Of course I wanted to avoid ALL entry fees as the entry fee goes directly towards the government and I don't want to support the military government that is suppressing its locals.

I decided not to visit the Palace in the centre of the city, as many locals informed me that the whole structure is a modern reconstruction and there really isn't anything special to look at. From outside the palace sure looked grand as it is a huge enclosure complete with a very wide moat.

I caught a cyclo up to Mandalay Hill, and was greeted with a very long staircase. Fortunately the whole length had a roof so it wasn't as hot. At the very top of the hill were semi spectacular views of the city, due to the fact that there was so much mist or possibly smog.
Mandalay Hill
The temple itself was very flashy with many coloured mirrored mosaics. I tried to avoid the camera fee, and for the whole length of my stay I managed to, until I was about to start my decent to the base of the mountain and girl came up to me and asked me for the camera fee... DAMN! hehehe

After Mandalay Hill I stopped at;
- Kyauktawgyi Paya
- Sandamani Paya (a must temple to visit with many many white stupas scattered along the edge of the Paya enclosure, trully a spectacular site)
- Kuthodia Paya
- Atumashi Paya
- Shwenandaw Paya
- Gold Leaf Making (gold leaf making takes a very long time, the whole process including the gold leaf and the paper used to pound the gold leaf takes at least 4 years OMG)
- Umbrella Making
- Mahamuni Paya (contains 5 large bronze statues that were taken from Angkor by the Siamese in 1431 and subsequently taken by the Burmese when they attacked Ayudthaya in the 17-18th Century I think)
- Setkyathine Paya (a very old wooden pagoda that deserves a visit, as it is very unique and seldomly found in Myanmar)

For dinner I popped into Min Min, a Chinese Restaurant down the road from Nylon Hotel.
Mandalay Hill
I had Chicken stir fried in a tomato sauce, it was an interesting mix hehe.

After dinner I popped by to the night market, but it wasn't as special or spectacular as the one in Luang Prabang in Laos.

I called it a night as I planned to visit 3 ancient cities the following day!
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Mandalay Hill
Mandalay Hill
Mandalay Hill
Mandalay Hill
Mandalay Hill
Mandalay Hill
Kyawktaugyi Paya
Kyawktaugyi Paya
Kyawktaugyi Paya
Kyawktaugyi Paya
Sandamani Paya
Sandamani Paya
Sandamani Paya
Sandamani Paya
Sandamani Paya
Sandamani Paya
Mahamuni Paya
Mahamuni Paya
Mahamuni Paya
Mahamuni Paya
Mahamuni Paya
Mahamuni Paya
Mahamuni Paya
Mahamuni Paya
Shwe In Bin Kyaung
Shwe In Bin Kyaung
Mandalay
photo by: Mezmerized