After the long bus trip from Yangon to Mandalay (that didn’t go quite as planned), we woke up to our first full day in Mandalay Myanmar. This first full day in Mandalay also happened to be our 5th Wedding Anniversary. I woke up at 5am and wrote in my journal which I am sharing with you now. Jives woke up at 7:30am, and we headed down for (included) breakfast at around 8am. Breakfast was similar to the last hotel, fried rice, noodles, toast etc. I tried something green called “fried green mallow”, it was delicious! I have since realized that I grow mallow in my garden at home, I will have to try cooking it like this.
We decided to try and climb Mandalay Hill on our first full day in Mandalay. We walked all the way to the hill from our hotel, about 45 minutes. We then started the climb, 1700+ steps! You enter between two giant lion statues. I have heard that it is difficult to find the entrance, but the lion statues are GIANT!
The climb took a total of about an hour. All along the way you will discover little shrines, golden stupas, giant Buddhas and puppies napping in the shade, guarding their favourite shrines. You do have to make the climb in your bare feet, so be prepared and maybe bring some wipes. There is a fair amount of bird droppings…
About half way up the hill you will come across a peculiar Buddha, who is pointing at the city down below. This Buddha was created to memorialize a prophecy that Buddha made about Myanmar. Buddha said that 2400 years after his death, a great site for education would be built where he pointed. 2400 years later, the king of Myanmar moved the capital city to Mandalay. The Palace is built where this Buddha statue is pointing.
The one level we climbed too had arches covered in writing. Each column had dates written on them, and I wondered what the inscriptions said.
Another layer we visited was covered in colourful mirrored tiles. Endless pillars of colourful glass, reflecting the hot Mandalay sun.
To enter the very top level, tourists need to pay 1000 kyat, but it is totally worth it! The top level is covered in beautiful mosaic mirrors, and monks wander around talking to tourists and practicing their English skills. The view from the top is incredible, I can only imagine that sunset or sunrise is extra special from this vantage point. There is also a lift that will take you directly to the top level, but if you are able I would recommend the hike up. The highlight for us was exploring all the shrines along the way.
We climbed back down the hill in search of something delicious for lunch.