Inside Asia Tours

Ancient capitals of Mandalay

Explore the three former royal capitals surrounding Mandalay: Sagaing, Ava, and Amarapura.

Located across the Irrawaddy River is Sagaing. Covered with 600 white-painted pagodas and monasteries, Sagaing Hill is widely regarded as the religious center of Myanmar. It is home to 3,000 monks and 100 meditation centres and has many pagodas to visit. The local market, which is relatively rarely visited by tourists, sells a range of locally made pottery, silver and other handicrafts.

A horse-and-cart ride is the best way to experience Ava, which served as Myanmar's royal capital from the 14th to 18th centuries. Though it's hard to imagine somewhere as bucolic as Ava ever being the capital of a country, you'll find some vestiges of its illustrious past in the old wooden Bagaya Monastery and the remains of the Royal Palace and Fort. This former capital is a great introduction to local life in the Burmese countryside as you ride pass many small villages amid Ava's ruins.

The name Amarapura means 'City of Immortality', and was the capital of Myanmar twice: once from 1783-1821, then again from 1842-1859. Today, the city is famed for its silk weaving, and you can visit workshops to see the fine handmade products first-hand.

You'll also pay a visit to the Mahagandayon Monastery, home to over one thousand monks, and visit U Bein Bridge. This 200-year-old teak bridge, constructed with 984 posts that were once part of Inwa Palace, is 1.2 kilometres in length - making it the world's longest teak bridge. Enjoy a stroll along the bridge and take in the fabulous views of the surrounding farms and waterways.

Ancient capitals of Mandalay

located in Mandalay

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