Photoessay: Exploring Mandalay Hill

Mandalay Hill is a 240 metres tall land formation that overlooks the city of Mandalay. At the top of the hill is the Sutaungpyei (wish-fulfilling) Pagoda but before you reach there you would need to walk barefoot through a labyrinthine pathway filled with shrines and tacky gift shops.

The entire excursion may take up to an hour depending on how fast you walk and how many stops you make along the way to take in the breathtaking view of the city.

If you do not want to break a sweat, there are motorcycles who are willing to take you halfway to the top but I tell you, the walk is an experience to remember.

At the foot of the Mandalay Hill. Image via freme
Once you reach the foot of Mandalay Hill, you will notice that there are paid parking areas for bikes. This will cost you 200 kyat. 

Photo credit: Dominik M. Ramík

Upon entering you will be charged another 200 kyat for leaving your footwear. I just put my footwear inside my bag and carried on.

When entering, look up and see an old painting of the place.

Photo credit: Dominik M. Ramík

There are four stairways leading to the top with concrete seats lining the sides for when you like to take a break. The winding pathways are covered and there are so many things to see and experience along the way. You will encounter monks who are eager to practice their English or locals who are excited to take a photo with a foreigner.

Families are also living here so it is normal to see them do their activities of daily living like cooking, watching tv, taking a nap or chatting with neighbors. There are also squirrels roaming around.

If you do not like to walk, you can take a motorcycle up then take an escalator to the summit.

There are photo booths along the way for lovers.

For someone, like me, who is always tired, every shrine felt it was already the summit! You will be fooled a lot of times along the way. For when you think it is the top, there is still another corner to turn and a flight of stairs to climb! Good thing it was not as steep as Mt. Zwegabin!

Soem free water along the way in earthen jars. Photo credit: Dominik M. Ramík

 Shweyattaw (literally standing) orByadeippay (prophesying) Buddha. Photo credit: Dominik M. Ramík

28 Buddhas of the past and present worlds. Photo credit: Dominik M. Ramík
Photo credit: Dominik M. Ramík

Photo credit: Dominik M. Ramík
 There is one area where you can find a lot of fortune tellers who do palm reading and tarot cards.

Photo credit: Dominik M. Ramík
Photo credit: Dominik M. Ramík

Photo credit: Dominik M. Ramík

Photo credit: Dominik M. Ramík
Once you reach the top, you will be charged 1USD as camera fee.

The view is breathtaking from the top. It is nice to catch a sunset here and see the entire city of Mandalay bathe in the golden sunlight.

Where is your favorite spot to watch the sunset in Mandalay?
Image via myanmartourismmarket

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