How to get there:
Train from Hsipaw to Pyin U Lwin arrives at around 4 pm. Costs 3 $ in lower class and leaves Hsipaw at 9.00 am. It stops in Pyin U Lwin for 2-3 hours, that’s why many tourist change into the already waiting Pickups Trucks.
Tickets price to Mandalay for not more than 2000 Kyat, cheap but uncomfortable. Arrival time about 6.30 pm, the driver can drop you off close to your hotel in central Mandalay. A good place to start looking (for a convenient drop off) ist the corner 82th / 26th street.
From almost any other city there are direct busses available. A Special VIP night bus from Yangon (only 3 seats per row) you can get for 12.000 Kat, if you book over your hostel, you often get an included transport to the bus station, that is around 45 minutes drive out of town.
The train from Hsipaw all the way to Mandalay only costs 4 $ but arrives late after 10 pm.
For a rough and compact overview check out the Wikitravel Mandalay page!
No real tip available. We stayed in the Nylon Hotel, at least ist was cheap with 20 $ and private bathroom. But the manager is unfriendly, the rooms are dirty and the fact that only male staff is employed is evident everywhere.
Its always useful to read the recommendations for accommodation on Tripadvisor: Tripadvisor Mandalay
Amazing Curry Dishes in the vegetarian Indian Restaurant Marie Min in the 74th street, in between the corner of 26th and 27th street. Great place to eat, great food and very affordable. A must: pumpkin curry – we just ordered it again after the first plate was finished.
Generally check your guidebooks for the standard stuff. But since most Pagodas and Temples in Mandalay are prettier from the outside than the inside, it is in our opinion not worth to pay the 10 $ entrance fee for the main attractions.
Although crowded, the wooden “bridge” in Amarapura is worth a visit at sunset or better sunrise. Picturesque views.
Rent a Motorbike to go to the surrounding villages. Prices are around 8000-12000 Kyat a day. Cross over the bridge to Sagain and visit the temples and pagodas on the hill, north from the bridge. Afterwards you can cross over (instead of driving back over the bridge) with a boat and your motorbike to Inn Wa which has a beautiful old city. Directly before you would drive back over the bridge, drive right instead and follow the sign to the harbour.
If you are looking to make longer tours with a bike, you should check out this site: Mandalay Motor Bike Tours
We recommend discovering the city walking through the small roads, although you will need some time to get from A to B. Just follow your guts, you will see so much more than just pagodas or temples and if you are sharing smiles you may find the exotic Myanmar you were looking for.
If you are interested to read from our adventures there, check out the blogentry Towards New Horizons | Mandalay