Myanmar's second largest city and its last royal capital, Mandalay is home to the rebuilt Mandalay Palace; the original, destroyed during WWII, was home to then-Burma's last monarchy. Downtown Mandalay is heavy on the concrete and urban sprawl; unlike Yangon, it looks nothing like it did when it was part British Burma. Mandalay is laid out on a grid, and from 35th St. north to the citadel walls can be easily traversed on foot or by bicycle. Bikes can be hired from your hotel for around $3 per hour. Mandalay offers a sharp contrast to Yangon and is interesting taken from both a historical and an urban planning point of view. A further juxtaposition to the big, dusty city is its nearby hill station Pyin U Lwin (née Maymo). Here is where Upper Burma's strongest colonial legacy lies, in the form of manicured gardens, horse-drawn carriages, and homes straight out of the English countryside.
A region with a cultural history like nowhere else in the country has its own ways of celebrating the holidays.More