Updated: July2013
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Why do so many travellers write off the big cities? But then Mandalay isn't for everyone. The town is BIG and sites are far apart. But give it time and a little effort and you WILL be richly rewarded. Check-out our city map for food and accommodation. We will be adding tourist sites to it soon. 

Mandalay City Map

There’s a big choice in Mandalay and with the Mandalay Palace and Fort in the middle, it can be an effort to walk around. That said the pathway at the side of the moat is oddly uncluttered and clear. We’ve listed accommodation on the west of the palace area. Bus services from Nyaungshwe (Inle Lake) will drop you off along 27th and now AirAsia are running a free shuttle for their cusomers to the airport make this a much more desirable area to stay for the budget traveller.

Nothing is close to anything in Mandalay, so make sure you have an idea of where you plan to stay before travelling. Booking in advance helps as well.

AD1 Hotel
Address: 87th & 27th Street
Prices from: Single $15, Double $24
Includes: breakfast, Wi-Fi, en-suite
Tel: 02 34505 Email: Web:
A relaxing breakfast on the roof is an excellent way to start the day and a great place to relax (or write in my case) in the daytime. The reception area has lots of white-boards with useful information and when you can’t find what you are looking for the staff will know the answer. The bathrooms, as with most of the long-standing hotels, could do with some TLC but not a bad location and plenty of rooms. Look out for the signs on the lamp posts.

ET Hotel
Address: 82/3 25th St
Prices from: Dorm $, Single $25, Double $30
Includes: breakfast, Wi-Fi, AC, TV
Tel: 02 66 547 /02 65 006 Email: Web:
Another hotel that is milking the tourist trade with a 50% increase in prices in the last 3 months. Though they have attentive staff and reasonable rooms, you get more for your money in Yangon, which really doesn’t make sense. They do have a lot of tourist information in the lobby area which is quite useful. Breakfast is served in a nice room with international news feed.

Garden Hotel
Address: 82nd & 25th St
Prices from: Single $25-30, Double $28-35
Includes: En-suite, breakfast, TV, Wi-Fi
Tel: 02 31884 Email:
A large block of varying sized rooms. The bigger the room the more you’ll pay. Very friendly reception staff that aim to please.

Lucky Hotel   NEW
Address: 152, 84th street, (between 31st & 32st)
Prices from: Double $40
Includes: En-suite, AC, breakfast, TV
Tel: +95 65183, 21735, 24857, 24867 Email:
Situated between 31st and 32st (I know, it's supposed to be 32nd but that's not what the sidn says!) Lucky Hotel gets mixed reviews but is that because it's new? Rooms cost $40 double with all the mod-cons but there are better out there. Benefit - not yet listed in the other travel guides.

Nylon Hotel
Address: 82nd & 25th St
Prices from: Single $30, Double $40
Includes: breakfast
Tel: 02 33 460 Email:
We found these to be one of the hardest hotels to get information out of. Very unfriendly and unhelpful even though we told him that we were planning on returning in a few weeks in a bid to get to see the rooms and hear his prices. Much better options in the area for the price.

Peacock Lodge
Address: 5, 61st Street
Prices from: Single $27, Double $30
Includes: En-suite, AC, breakfast, fridge
Tel: 02 61429 Email: Web:
A good breakfast and comfortable enough rooms in comparison to the standard set by the rest of Myanmar!

Rich Queen NEW
Address: 87th Street
Prices from: Single $20, Double $25, Triple $35
Includes: breakfast, Wi-Fi, en-suite
Tel: 02 60172 Email: Web:
Only opened back in August 2012 this modern and clean looking guest house has started learning lessons quickly. One of the friendliest staff that we’ve met when inquiring about rooms.

Royal Guest house
Address: 82/3 25th St
Prices from: Dorm $, Single $15, Double $36, Triple $
Includes: breakfast
Tel: 02 314 00/ 02 656 978 Email: Web:
Although the rooms are nice, our traveller said that this was the most unfriendly place that she’d stayed in Myanmar. Overall, fine, but not phenomenal, but a hot shower and a clean bed do make it an option.

Unity Hotel
Address: 27th & 82nd Street
Prices from: Double $30
Includes: breakfast, Wi-Fi, TV, en-suite, kettle
Tel: 02 66583 Email: Web:
Well, it’s called a hotel, it looks like a hotel (reception staff, security guard, bell hop) and the rooms are of a much higher standard than local guest houses. And yes, they do charge $30 for a double. Much closer to the standard that one would expect but still a long way off in comparison to $30 in another SE Asian country. 

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Eating and Drinking
Eating and drinking is quite spread out in this town, though there are a few options around. The closest gaggle of places is around the junction of 84th and 23rd Street.

Golden Shan
Address: 84th and 23rd Street
Prices from: Buffett 3,000Ks
All you can eat and sometimes that’s a lots! A good selection of Burmese Shan styled food with a touch of “softening” for the tourist.

Karawek Cafe 
Address: corner of 26th and 83th 
We got a mutton curry, chicken curry, and 2 rice for 3000K. Not the best in town, but good nonetheless!

Address: 84th and 23rd Street
Prices from: Selections 500Ks
If you’ve been to Asia before, then you’ll be used to this self-serve style place. Sometimes if you’ve been struggling with the stomach then it helps to see what you’re having first! Nice selection of food.

Address: 83rd Street
Prices from: Starters/ Sides 1,200Ks, Mains 2,000Ks, Water 400Ks, Myanmar Beer 1,500Ks
Packed with tourist on group tours, you’ll see more foreigners in this place than any other. The food is little to write about; rather bland Chinese food. And another example of the Lonely Planet not visiting somewhere; the beer is 1,500Ks, though stated at 1,600ks in the good book – unless they’ve dropped their prices?

Nay Cafe 
Address: 82th and 27th 
We saw more westerners, but there's a reason for that, because it's soooo goooood. We got mutton curry, veggie curry, and chicken curry, omelet (written hamlet), daal, another kind of dipping sauce, 4 chapati and 2 chai tea all for 4000K. Holy moly it was amaaaaaazing, first good meal since breakfast at the hotel, yesterday. Definitely recommend. 

Pan Cherry
Address: 81st & 27th Street
Prices from: Sides 500Ks, Mains 2000Ks
Nice Indian food. In fact, nice-nice Indian food! You’ll spot the street sign as you head up 81st.

Address: 84th and 23rd Street
Prices from: Sides 500Ks, Mains 1,500Ks, Beer 600Ks
Three floors offering fast service of draught beer and reasonable food. If you like sweet-corn, then try the corn salad for 500Ks. You’ll love it! Worth walking to and walking back to again and again.

Smile All
Address: 81st Street
Prices from: BBQ food from 400Ks, Water 300Ks, Draught Beer 600Ks
A mixture of locals and tourists, the food is good as is the service. You get to pick your own items and hand them over for the BBQ. And good cold beer!
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Arriving into Mandalay will most likely bring you to one of the three outer bus stations. Depending on which you arrive in and at what time, will ultimately decide the cost of your shared taxi into town. Expect to pay from 1,500Ks p/p to 2,500Ks p/p

    Shared Taxi Options
Mandalay to Pyin Oo Lwin
If you organise a shared taxi from Mandalay, then you can expect to pay around 5-6,000Ks per person to get to Pyin Oo Lwin (2 hours).  They depart from 27th and 83rd St. If arrive at one of the Mandalay bus stations and are heading straight to Pyin Oo Lwin then the price jumps up to around 10,000Ks per person, though this does save travelling into town at 4am in the morning.

To buy train tickets you need to go to 1st floor of the railway station. Alternatively there is a ticketing centre on the corner of 30th street and 78th street. You will need your passport to purchase tickets.

Mandalay -> Yangon







Special Express


































Mandalay -> Bagan



























Mandalay -> Myit Kyi Nar


































Mandalay -> Hsipaw













Slow boat 
The boat leaves every Sunday and Wednesday. Leaving at 0530 the fare is $15 and it takes around 15 hours, depending on the water level.

Fast Boat
The schedule and price varies monthly. Ask at your hotel for this months’ fare. One of the Lemur Pack travelled from to Bagan in December on the speed boat and was charged $43. The boat departed at 0700 and arrived sometime around 1830. Food and drinks were available on the boat. Booking on-line at

The boat leaves every Monday, Thursday and Saturday at 0600 from 35th Street/ Mandalay Gaw Wein Jetty. The trip is two nights on board with a deck fare of $12 and cabin of $54.

Mingun Ferry
Departs at 0900 (local boat) from 26th Street/ Mayanchuan Jetty. Return ferry at 1300. Duration is 45-50 minutes and a return fare is 5,000Ks per person.

The airport is quite a distance out of town and takes about 1 hour to reach by taxi. If you are flying AirAsia, then there is a free shuttle service (79th St. nr Mandalay Palace (between 26th and 27th)) see map for more details

Currency exchange
For those of you with excess Kyats - don't worry. When you arrive at the airport, head downstairs to arrivals and there is an exchange there. The buy/ sell rates are generally very close so you'll get a good rate for sure.

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Although there is a $10 ticket for tourists, some of the sites that require the ticket just have nobody there to check on them.

You can get to the old town via local bus (pickup truck)for 500Ks. Most hotels will do an organised tour of the told town as well, but considerably more. Trucks leave from near the clock tower. There’s a mixture of temples and monasteries that are worth a visit and a museum as well.

    Kuthodaw Paya
Better known to travellers as “The Worlds Biggest Book” with two sections containing 729 and 1774 text inscribed marble slabs each housed in its own small stupa. This represents the entire 15 books of the Tripitakha. This is part of the $10 ticket, though we’ve not heard of anyone being charged or asked for the ticket. The market in this area is worth the visit in the afternoon.

    Mahamuni Paya
With reportedly 6 inches of thick knobbly gold leaf the Buddha statue is probably one of the ugliest we’ve seen, looking more like “The Thing” from the “Fantastic Four”. Photography is $1 and again we weren’t charged for entrance. There are also a few artifacts stolen from Thailand (which in turn were originally stolen from Angkor Wat in Cambodia). 

    Mandalay Hill 
Free Entry
There’s a little desk at the foot telling you that you’re not allowed to carry your shoes into the temple; quite right, but the temple is right at the top and if you’re not intending on going that far you can carry them. That said, 200Ks to look after your shoes whilst you climb for 45 minutes is hardly going to break the bank.

The views are nice but you really don’t have to go right to the top for a good view of Mandalay. If you take your first rest-stop at San Dha Mukhi Statue then you’ll get a good view from the west and will have already seen most of what the site has to offer. It’s about another 20 minutes to the top from here, so if you are pushed for time….. 

Tourist fee: $3
If you’re limited to time in Mandalay, then there are more interesting places to visit. The baot journey takes roughly one-hour each way, giving you 3 hours there. You can no longer climb the Mingun Paya and though they do have the largest bell in Myanmar (we didn’t have the nerve to climb inside it) and there are a few temples to see, is it really worth the cost? To avoid the tourist fee, simply avoid the tourist office which is located just north of the Mingun Paya.

    Paya’s North-East of Palace
There’s a real mix here at the foot of the Mandalay hill. Some require the $10 ticket, but as already mentioned, there’s not normally anyone there to check. Walking in and around these temples is amazing and great to do after 3pm when the market stalls are in full swing. Sandamuni Paya is particularly interesting.

    Sandamumi Paya
The paya contains the commentary to help you understand the Kuthodaw Paya, though is over twice the size of the original text. Another great place for photography.

    Shwe In Bin Kyaung
This teak monastery is covered in small engravings and carvings. A place of relaxation and meditation, it really is surprisingly calm considering that it is close to central Mandalay.

Everyone is out to earn some money and there are lots on the ground there. Here's one that was sent through to us by Elizabeth with her report. Thanks!

Aung Kyaw Hein 
Tel:(0095) 09-43015053 Email:
Called the taxi guy and tailored the tour to fit our interests, which were Mandalay Hill and U-Biens bridge. Although along the way he stopped and showed us other sites AND took us to a good Burmese restaurant and helped us order/explained the food. In the end it was still a good 6 hours and only cost 15000K for the both of us. He has great English and was cool with going with the flow, and I'm more than happy to pass on Aung's name and recommend him. 

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    Posted 3 Jul 2013, 03:14 by Elli Murr
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    Free Shuttle Bus at Mandalay Airport
    A free shuttle bus has been introduced for AirAsia customers in Mandalay. This service provides a free bus transfer between Mandalay Airport to Mandalay Downtown and vice versa. 

    1. How much is the fare for the transfer bus? 
    It’s free for all AirAsia guest. 
    2. How do I get the free transfer? Who are entitled to the free service? 
    AirAsia guest can present their inbound boarding pass, flight itinerary and their passport. 
    Service is only available on actual date of the flight as specified on boarding pass 
    3. Where do I find the service? 
    At Mandalay Airport: Exit gate of Arrival hall 
    In Mandalay City: Street 79 near Mandalay Palace (between 26&27) 
    4. How long is the shuttle bus ride between Mandalay airport to downtown Mandalay? 
    Approximately 1 hour depending on traffic conditions.

    Posted 16 Jul 2013, 19:24 by Elli Murr
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    Over 1,000 downloads of "A travellers Guide to Myanmar"

    We've had over 27,000 hits in just 7 months! For some, that's nothing, for the charities we support, approx. 2% of our visitors visit on.Which means all of our hard work is worth it. 

    Looks like we'll be publishing an update to "A Travellers Guide to Myanmar" in September ready for the new season. And already we have Peter and Anne from Balmain, Sydney Australia on board to give us updates for their pending trip in October.

    So we have "
    Fish out of Water" and "Powered by Noodles" and now "Cool for Cats" set to update us in Myanmar. Can you get any more up-to-date?

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    Posted 24 Jul 2013, 21:12 by Elli Murr
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Definition of Charity: 
"Generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy and suffering"

This is all about giving something back to the people of the countries that we've visited, to thank them for the wonderful experiences that we've had. There are no charges for receiving information on this site, because this is about sharing the latest information and not making money. You'll also note, there are no pop-ups or sponsored links to businesses. So, please take the time to look at some of the charities that we've highlighted on our charities page, and if you want to "pay" for the information you've received, then look into some of these worthy causes. Otherwise we'd gladly accept any support to help keep this site alive.

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  • Myanmar: The true land of smiles?

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    Posted 23 Jul 2013, 18:21 by Elli Murr
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  • Myanmar Charities: The Leaping Lemur Group
    There are no charges for receiving information on this site, because this is about sharing the latest information and not making money. That said, please take the time to look at some of the charities that we've highlighted beneath, and if you want to "pay" for the information you've downloaded, then look into some of these worthy causes.
    Elli xx

    The Burma Children’s Fund supports orphanages and pre-schools in various parts of Burma in order to provide shelter, health care and education for orphans and children. We will only support orphanages, clinics and pre-schools for infants and younger children where we know that the staff are dedicated and that the money they receive is spent on the children and for the direct benefit of the children. Children in Burma cannot control their own destiny and this is why our goal is “To Support their Future". [more] 

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     works for human rights, democracy and development in Burma.Burma Campaign UK is one of the leading Burma campaign organisations in the world. We play a leading role in raising awareness about the situation in Burma, and pressuring the international community to take action in support of the people of Burma. Founded in 1991, Burma Campaign UK is one of the leading Burma campaign organisations in the world. We play a leading role in raising awareness about the situation in Burma,  and pressuring the international community to take action in support of the people of Burma. [more]

     works with marginalised urban children and youth, their families and communities to become productive, independent citizens of their country. We do this by listening to and being guided by those who matter the most to us - the children and youth we work with everyday. Friends-International has been assisting marginalized urban children and youth across the world since 1994. We now run and support projects for these children and their families in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Honduras, Mexico, Egypt and Myanmar. Friends-International and its partners reach out to over 50,000 marginalised young people -particularly street children and youth – each year. We offer a range of comprehensive services as part of our holistic approach to assisting children and their families to improve their lives. [more]
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    Posted 27 Jun 2013, 20:17 by Elli Murr
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    Toilet humour, bar humour and a great quiz.
    Posted 26 Jun 2013, 21:11 by Elli Murr
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