How we got here:
We took a VIP bus from Yangon to Mandalay via the JJ Express VIP Bus. Each ticket cost around US$16 and the entire journey took around 7 hours. There was even a “bus stewardess” who served us food and drinks during the journey. The seats were really spacious and comfortable. Not to worry about the freezing air-con as a nice and warm fleece blanket will be provided for you on board the bus.
Where we stayed:
We were lucky to be able to stay at one of the most highly recommended Guesthouses in Mandalay – Yoe Yoe Lay Guesthouse. The host, Nan is one of the most warm, hospitable and friendly locals that we’ve met in Myanmar. The staff there are all very friendly and helpful and they serve the best breakfast ever. Best part of all, her guesthouse is one of the cheapest amongst the other guesthouses. We paid only US$10/night for a single bed in a dorm room.
What we did:
We explored Mandalay on a bicycle and visited the Royal Palace and Atumashi Monastery. Quite an adventure itself cycling on the busy roads with crazy traffic from almost every direction. Especially after the sun has set, it was really quite a challenge cycling in the dark with no bicycle lights at all.
On our second day in Mandalay, we shared a taxi with 3 other backpackers who also stayed at Yoe Yoe Lay Guesthouse. Our host was very helpful in coordinating this for us and for arranging a taxi driver guide to bring us around. It was really cost economical as the total cost was only around $36 and we shared it among the 4 of us! Our guide brought us to several pagodas, temples and the ever famous Ubein Bridge.