Mandalay is the quiet cultural hub of the country. Though the city prospers at a much slower rate than Yangon, it is still worth visiting the less touristy pagodas and the spiritual hub of Myanmar. Backpackers need at least 20-25 USD per day to see this majestic city. The city is cheaper to travel than Yangon, although luxury options can also be had at 30-50 USD daily budget.
Central Mandalay has reasonably-priced guesthouses and hotels costing as little as 10-15 USD per night. Some suggested places to check out include Hotel Rama, Ace Star BnB Backpacker Hostel, and Golden City Light Hotel. Mid-priced to luxury rooms start at 60 USD per night and above. Try Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel, Sedona Hotel Mandalay, and Hotel by the Red Canal.
The culinary side of Mandalay offers a wide variety of dishes. Due to its location sandwiched between China, India, and Thailand, expect a cultural mishmash of these three cultures in the local cuisine. Street food is not as available to tourists, though. Instead, there are plenty restaurants that serve inexpensive meals to take advantage of.
One goes to Mandalay to have a better understanding of the local culture while visiting many antique payas and relic sites that pepper the city. Don’t expect much from the nightlife scene here. While there are tea shops that open at dinner time, most bars close by 11 pm.
The available modes of transport include buses, motorbikes, pickup trucks, taxis, and trishaws. Unfortunately, several key destinations are located far and away from each other. Renting a taxi for a whole day costs 25-30 USD but are worth the time and effort saved.
Bring enough cash as credit cards aren’t accepted yet. While the black market used to be the go-to spot for exchanging currency, tourists are now advised to change money with banks and legit money changers. As with Yangon, internet connectivity is also limited.
Country : Myanmar
Unfortunately, not everyone is gainfully employed by the tourism industry in Myanmar. Only a handful of taxi and trishaw drivers make a good living by being in partnerships with hotels and guesthouses. Remedy this in your own little way by employing the services of another local driver.
It is important to note that tourism hasn’t reached its full potential yet in Mandalay or even Yangon. The locals are friendlier and more open. The most pressing issue in the city is poverty. By engaging different drivers, patronizing small restaurants, and using local tour guides, you are actively helping others make decent money from diligent work.