Mandalay is the second largest city of Myanmar, and a busy but very dusty city. Difficult for her to become my big love, because the environment was not very lovely, and traffic on the streets is very heavy with lots of motorbikes, and taxis and tuk-tuks are trying very hard to rip of the tourist. We had a look in the old city which is a square surrounded by wall and moat (more than 1,5 kilometers per side). There is a replica of the old palace in the center of it, but as the original was destroyed during WWII, they rebuild it mainly with concrete and cheap wood. The condition is partly very poor, and there is not to much placed inside the building. Most surprising to me (and that is not in the guidebook) was that the whole old city is a military barrack of the Myanmar army. That leads to the situation that you are only allowed to photograph in the palace area, and at the gate you have to deposit an identification document. Interesting.
Mandalay hill is a 250 meter high view point at the northern end of the city, with some temples on top. We took the footpath up, but the overall condition of this kilometer long stairway is on the poor side. It is good for your karma and body exercise, but the easy way up by minibus shuttle is also ok. On top you could have a great view, but everything down is nearly not visible due to dust, smog and whatever. Be aware of.


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