The city's name is derived from this hill, which, at nearly 800 feet, can seem a lot more like a mountain when you're schlepping up it on a 100-degree day. For those unable to make the climb, there's an elevator as well as a road to an escalator that leads up to the gilded Sutaungpyei Pagoda at the top of the hill. Burmese Buddhists have been coming here for nearly two centuries, paying their respects, and you'll still see monks here, mostly sweet teenage boys who are eager to chat with visitors and practice their (already quite good) English. On the way up, you'll see a giant standing Buddha, his right hand pointing to the city. Legend has it that when Buddha visited Mandalay Hill, he prophesied that in the year 2400 (Buddhist calendar), a "great city" would be founded at the bottom of the hill. In the Gregorian calendar, that year is 1857, exactly when King Mindon decreed that Mandalay would be Burma's new capital. Sunset over Mandalay is best viewed from the top of the hill, and the climb can take 40 minutes, so give yourself plenty of time. Bring wet wipes to clean off your feet.
Mandalay Hill, Mandalay, Myanmar