10 Hidden Gems of Mandalay, Myanmar: Secret Spots and Local Hangouts

1. Shwe In Bin Kyaung Monastery

Address: 62nd St, Mandalay, Myanmar
Website: N/A

Named after the golden teak wood monastery that stands within its grounds, Shwe In Bin Kyaung Monastery is a hidden gem in Mandalay. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city center, this serene place offers a peaceful retreat for locals and tourists alike. Dating back to the 19th century, the architecture of the monastery is simply exquisite. Intricate carvings and beautiful teak woodwork adorn the walls and pillars, showcasing the craftsmanship of the past.

Visiting Shwe In Bin Kyaung Monastery provides a glimpse into the spiritual side of Mandalay and offers an opportunity for quiet contemplation. Admire the tranquil surroundings of the monastery’s garden and take a moment to meditate in one of the prayer halls. The absence of crowds makes this hidden gem even more special, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the atmosphere of tranquility and spirituality.

2. Sagaing Hill

Address: Sagaing, Mandalay, Myanmar
Website: N/A

Located on the outskirts of Mandalay, Sagaing Hill is a must-visit spot for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. This hidden gem is home to numerous monasteries, pagodas, and meditation centers making it a significant religious center in Myanmar. The hill is particularly popular for its sunset views, as the golden hour casts a magical glow across the landscape.

One of the highlights of Sagaing Hill is the Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda. This grand pagoda stands tall at the top of the hill and offers breathtaking views of the Irrawaddy River and the hills beyond. The peaceful atmosphere and the opportunity to witness monks going about their daily routines add to the charm of this hidden gem.

3. Jade Market

Address: 84th St, Mandalay, Myanmar
Website: N/A

Hidden within the vibrant streets of Mandalay, the Jade Market is a treasure trove for gemstone enthusiasts and curious travelers. Locals flock to this bustling marketplace to buy and sell jade, which holds great cultural and economic significance in Myanmar. Packed with stalls and shops, the market offers a fascinating insight into the jade industry.

Exploring the Jade Market is an experience like no other. Watch as traders skillfully cut, polish, and transform raw jade into exquisite pieces of jewelry. Whether you’re in search of a unique souvenir or simply want to soak up the energetic atmosphere, the Jade Market is a hidden gem worth venturing into.

4. Innwa (Ava)

Address: Amarapura, Mandalay, Myanmar
Website: N/A

Step back in time as you visit the ancient city of Innwa, also known as Ava. Located on an island between the Irrawaddy River and the Myitnge River, Innwa served as the capital of Myanmar for several centuries. Today, it is a hidden gem that offers a glimpse into the country’s rich history and architectural marvels.

Explore the ruins of ancient royal palaces, monasteries, and forts as you wander through Innwa. One of the highlights is the striking Bagaya Monastery, known for its impressive teak wood construction. Enjoy a leisurely horse cart ride through the narrow lanes, passing by quaint villages and picturesque landscapes.

5. Mingun

Address: Across the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay, Myanmar
Website: N/A

Situated on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, Mingun is a hidden gem that is easily accessible from Mandalay by boat. The main attraction of Mingun is the unfinished Mingun Pahtodawgyi, an enormous brick pagoda that was intended to be the largest in the world. Although incomplete, this colossal structure still impresses visitors with its sheer size and architectural grandeur.

Another notable sight in Mingun is the Mingun Bell, said to be the largest intact bell in the world. This bronze bell weighs a staggering 90 tons and is adorned with intricate carvings. Take a leisurely stroll along the riverfront, interact with friendly locals, and marvel at the rural beauty surrounding this hidden gem.

6. U Bein Bridge

Address: Amarapura, Mandalay, Myanmar
Website: N/A

Spanning the Taungthaman Lake in Amarapura, the U Bein Bridge is a true hidden gem in Mandalay. Constructed from teak wood over two centuries ago, this bridge is the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world. As the sun begins to set, the bridge and its surroundings become bathed in golden hues, creating a mesmerizing scene.

Walk along the length of the bridge and witness the daily activities of the locals, from fishermen casting their nets to monks crossing over to visit nearby monasteries. This hidden gem provides a unique vantage point to soak up the local culture, capture stunning photographs, and enjoy a tranquil moment away from the city.

7. Mahamuni Buddha Temple

Address: 82nd St, Mandalay, Myanmar
Website: N/A

The Mahamuni Buddha Temple is one of the most revered and iconic religious sites in Mandalay. Housing a 13-foot-tall sitting Buddha statue covered in thick layers of gold leaf, this temple attracts pilgrims from across Myanmar. Witness the devotion of locals as they come to pay respect and participate in daily rituals.

Visiting the Mahamuni Buddha Temple offers a unique cultural experience that shouldn’t be missed. Admire the intricate details of the Buddha statue and explore the temple complex, which includes beautifully adorned prayer halls, shrines, and places of meditation. The tranquil atmosphere and the spiritual significance of this hidden gem make it one of the must-visit spots in Mandalay.

8. Shwenandaw Monastery

Address: Shwenandaw Monastery Road, Mandalay, Myanmar
Website: N/A

Shwenandaw Monastery, also known as the Golden Palace Monastery, is a hidden gem that stands as a testament to Mandalay’s royal past. Originally part of the royal palace complex, this monastery is entirely built of teak wood and adorned with intricate carvings depicting Buddhist mythologies.

Walking through the peaceful halls of Shwenandaw Monastery transports you to a bygone era. The delicate carvings and ornate craftsmanship make this hidden gem a true architectural marvel. Take your time to wander through the various chambers and gaze upon the detailed wooden reliefs that adorn the walls. This hidden gem serves as a remarkable example of traditional Burmese architecture.

9. Kyauktawgyi Pagoda

Address: Mandalay, Myanmar
Website: N/A

Nestled at the base of Mandalay Hill, the Kyauktawgyi Pagoda is a lesser-known gem that is worth a visit. This pagoda is home to a magnificent statue of the Buddha, carved out of a massive single block of white marble. The intricate details on the statue and the serene aura of the pagoda create a captivating atmosphere.

Marvel at the impressive craftsmanship that went into creating the Kyauktawgyi Pagoda and learn about its historical and cultural significance. Escape the crowds and enjoy a moment of tranquility as you explore this hidden gem. The proximity to Mandalay Hill also makes it a great starting point for hiking to the summit for panoramic views of the city.

10. Amarapura Silk Weaving Workshop

Address: Amarapura, Mandalay, Myanmar
Website: N/A

Amarapura is famous for its silk weaving industry, and visiting a workshop allows you to witness the intricate process of creating beautiful silk products. Experience the rich colors, traditional looms, and skilled artisans weaving intricate patterns by hand.

Support the local artisans by purchasing handmade silk products, such as scarves or traditional longyi (sarongs), as souvenirs. Interacting with the weavers and learning about their craft is a memorable experience that showcases the cultural heritage of Mandalay.

Exploring these hidden gems in Mandalay will provide you with a unique and authentic experience of Myanmar’s rich history, culture, and spirituality. Be sure to venture beyond the typical tourist spots and immerse yourself in the lesser-known treasures that this enchanting city has to offer.