• Photo: Petr Popov / Shutterstock

Mandalay

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 Street north to the citadel walls can be easily traversed on foot or by bicycle. 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.

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