The place to watch the sunrise over Mandalay was recommended to me by a fellow backpacker, who I met on the bus from Inle Lake. I am always looking for experiences and places not many people know about, and watching the sunset from the Mandalay Hill seemed just like the kind of thing I like.
Mandalay Hill is located to the northeast of the city centre. It is about 15 minute drive by taxi.
The 240 meter climb to the top is belived to bring luck to your life (I bloody do hope so! It wasn't easy, I'll tell you that).
It is one of the most popular spots in the city, but no one bothers to visit it at 5 in the morning, except a crazy Polish blond girl.
|One of the four entrances; Mandalay Hill|
The sun rises at 7 am, so it is a good idea to leave a little bit of time for the climb and finding a place to sit down after.
So early in the morning there are almost no one on the Hill. There are a lot of stalls on the stairs, leading to the top, and most of the owners simply sleep there.
There are also a lot of smaller and bigger altars, which you can visit on your way down.
When I got to the top I was a bit dissappointed. The view over Mandalay was almost completely overtaken by trees. I sat there watching the sun rising over the city, and I still felt that it wasn't anything special. However, with the day the life started as well. Lots of locals come to Mandalay before the crowds to exercise. I even saw some monks doing jogging. Instead watching the sun I was really pleased that I could watch the people, doing their morning routines, without being interrupted by other tourists. I felt special!
What's so extraordinary about the sunrise then? - you might ask. Well, after a little while, I decided to take a little walk around the Hill. It was then when I found this little spot, which would have been perfect for a sunrise. I was, of course, dissappointed, but then thought that if I had gone there, I wouldn't have been able to see how Burmese people start their day.
But here are some tips for you: on the level with 'pointing Buddha' go right, and follow the paved road towards Su Tuang Pya Pagoda. On your way, on the right you will see a very small stupa. You can go down the stairs. The view is amazing from the balcony, surrounding the stupa.
I didn't actually look for a place to see the sunset, but a taxi driver who took us on a sighseeing trip around the city insisted I saw the sunset from the U Bein Bridge.
The bridge was on my list of places to see, so I didn't really argue with the suggestion.
We arrived an hour or so before, so I had a chance to walk from one end of the longest teak bridge in the world to another. I must say that walking on it doesn't feel very safe. It seems unstable, and doesn't have rails to hold on to. Nevertheless, I'm glad that I took the walk. There are a lot of locals hanging around and it has a unique feel to it.
The bridge is surrounded by water and you can hire a boat and go for a little cruise.
The sunset itself happens very quickly, so prepare your camera. The light changes suddenly, but it makes the spectacle very special.
The U Bein Bridge is located in Amarapura, which is the old capital of Myanmar, and is around 1km long. The easiest way to get there is, of course, by taxi.
You can hire a taxi driver for the whole day. Visit Sagaing, Ava and Aramapura first, and leave the bridge for last.