Located on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River, Mandalay is a former capital and economic center of northern Myanmar. Much like it’s southern counterpart the city is laid out in a very deliberately planned grid with the Mandalay Palace located in the middle. Though most of the palace is closed to foreigners and nationals alike, it is still worth the trip. The ticket is a bit on the pricey side but it includes access to several other historic sights around the city including the beautiful Shwenandaw Kyaung, which is a beautiful teak monastery. It is the most expensive thing you could spend your money on aside from the ‘budget’ hotels.
North of Mandalay Palace is Mandalay Hill, where the living Buddha was said to foretell the construction of Mandalay Palace. From the top of the hill are spectacular views of the city and pagodas and stupas below. Most of the budget hotels can be found four blocks west from the southwest corner of the Mandalay Palace moat with the classic being the Nylon Hotel. Great food can be found at the Rainbow Restaurant and Lashio Lay.
Beer stations can be found throughout the city in the afternoon and into the evening. Taxis are easily found for rides to historical sights and the Kywe Se Kan and Thiri Mandala Bus Stations. Usually they’ll be making their presence know when you walk out of your hotel. The south side of the moat also has a few hotels and restaurants but they tend to be pricey and often cater to tourists but if you’re looking for your mango lassi you can always check out Marie Min Restaurant.