The Road to MandalayMandalay, the last capital of the Myanmar Kingdom, rests next to the Irrawaddy river in Central Myanmar. It is locus of the country's culture, rich with monasteries and pagodas.
Mandalay Hill, rising 750 feet above the city, is regarded as a holy place because of the legend that Buddha visited it and proclaimed that a great city would be founded at its foot. It is a good place to view sunset on the Irrawaddy and the temples below.
Mandalay Palace was almost destroyed by fire during WWII. Its surviving walls are inset by gates crowned with wooden pavilions and surrounded by a moat. Inside is a cultural museum.
There are many Buddhist sites in Mandalay including the Kuthodaw Pagoda, popularly known as "the world's largest book" for the Buddhist scriptures carved on 729 stone slabs surrounding it.
Mandalay is an excellent place to watch craftspeople at work carving wood, marble and stone, or fashioning silver and brassware.
Jewels of the Mekong
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