The great city of Mandalay is one of the main gateways into the country — especially for tourists arriving by plane wanting to stay close to Bagan. 

Visiting Mandalay was wonderful, and despite Nuno’s fears about safety, we never felt insecure. We actually experienced the opposite as we were constantly greeted with kindness, politeness and a smile.

 

Burmese boys

Photo by Thomas Schoch

To visit the city properly, we suggest at least a 4 days stay.

If you are looking for practical information on how to get into Myanmar, go to:
Entering Myanmar (Land borders, airplanes and limitations).

 

Transportation

From the airport to Mandalay city

Shared taxi

Nuno and I shared a taxi with other two travelers we met on our flight to Mandalay. As we were 4 on a 6 person vehicle, we had to wait for other passengers to fill the taxi. No one came, so we left after 30 minutes.

The ride to the city took 50 minutes and cost € 3.04 each.

Private taxi

You can accept a tout in the post-customs arrival area, or by signaling one of the taxis parked outside the airport. Prices are the same.

A private taxi with AC will cost €9.00 and without AC for €8.00.

 

Moving Around in Mandalay

Bicycle

Our favorite way to move around is by renting bicycles. Renting one can cost you €1 or €2  a day, and most hotels provide this service.   

But be careful, traffic in the city can be chaotic.

 

Traffic in Myanmar

Photo by Jakub Halun

 

Motorbike

You can also rent a Motorbike directly though your hotel for € 7 to € 9 a day.
Have in mind that there are no gas stations outside the city, but you’ll be able to find improvised stalls selling gasoline in glass bottles for €0.60 (1000 MMK).

 

 

Taxi

Considering that buses in Mandalay are not very reliable, taxis are a good way to get around town. It’s usually easier to ask your hotel reception to call one (as the vehicles are hard to identify), then just negotiate the fair with the driver.

 

Taxi in Mandalay

Photo by Jakub Halun

 

Motorbike Taxi

If you prefer feeling the wind in your face signal a motorbike taxi.

For reference: a day of sightseeing costs around € 6. You can book it for a “3 day tour” and visit Sagaing, Amapura and Inwa. It will cost from € 9 up to to € 12 (15,000 to 20,000 MMK).

 

Bridges over Irawadi

 

Mandalay City

Mandalay has an interesting cultural blend due to the large Chinese and Indian communities living there and contributing to the development of the city. Walking around you’ll find something under construction in every street.

 

Street in Mandalay

 

Motorcycles and bicycles run through the wide dusty roads and street markets still manage to attract more people than malls — fortunately.  

 

Mandalay street market

 

Climate

Mandalay has a subtropical climate, and the best time to visit is from November to February (winter), which coincides with the peak of tourism.

Summer lasts from March to May which is hot and heavy in rainfall.





Hotel in Mandalay
Photo by Clay Gilliland

Accommodation and Amenities

Hotels

Accommodations do not abound, so expect prices to be higher than other southeast asian countries. Always book a room in advance.

In the center of Mandalay, hotel prices range from € 5 to € 40 a night. Most budget-friendly accommodations may not include AC or wi-fi, but luckily they all tend to include breakfast.

We stayed at the Fortune Hotel, and the breakfast included bread, coffee, tea, jam, butter and eggs.

Homestays

Homestays are considered illegal in Myanmar, meaning that foreigners should only stay at licensed hotels and houses. 

Monasteries

In exchange for donations (starting at 5000 MMk/ €3.07), many monasteries in Mandalay receive men and women providing a humble bed on the floor and food.

But here’s our 2 cents on this subject:
Even if these temples accept a donation from tourists, let’s not forget that these rooms are meant for pilgrims. Therefore, they should not be seen as a cheaper accomodation alternative for travelers.

 

Food

We can’t say we found a great variety of restaurants. However, buffet-style family restaurants are common all over the city. You’ll be able to find them on the ground level of many houses.

 

IMG_1405

 

The price of a simple meal starts at € 0.90 up to € 3.00.

A western food meal is around € 4.50 to € 9.00. And as you may expect by now, meals around tourist spots will be pricier — the more western the meal, the more international the price will be. Also, have in mind that restaurants close early at night we learned this the hard way.

 

Nightlife

Mandalay is not a city for those who enjoy nights out. All businesses close early. 

Internet Connection

Around here the internet connection is a bit more limited than in other southeast asian countries. There aren’t many businesses with Wi-Fi available to customers, and when there are, the connection is weak and slow.

Bakeries and cafes will be your best options to find free Wi-Fi.

 

Daily average expenses in Mandalay

Accommodation: €7,21 each
Water (1,5L): €0,13
Launch: €1,08
Dinner: €1,56
Afternoon snacks: €1,14
Bicycle: 1,52

Nuno and Mario

Hi there! We’re Nuno and Mário and we share helpful tips to make travel planning easy for you.

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