Burma's second largest city of Mandalay is once again on the global tourist map thanks to the recent progress made on the country's political front.

The last royal capital of Burma is a charming city awash with a flourish of impressive architecture that rises above the urban throng.

Mandalay is regarded as the country's cultural hub with a flurry of sights including Mandalay Hill, where Buddha is said to have once prophesised that a grand city would rise here. It has and its chief attraction is the grand Mandalay Palace, which contains a cultural museum.

Elsewhere highlights include the Shwenandaw Monastery and the Atumashi Monastery, as well as the sacred Buddhist Maha Muni Pagoda, Kuthodaw Pagoda and Kyauktawgyi Pagoda. A peaceful escape is the Yadanabon Zoological Gardens, which is said to be the only zoo in the world that is home to the rare Burmese Roofed Turtle.

Where is it?
Mandalay is the capital of the Mandalay Region. It is located around 450 miles north of the Burmese capital of Yangon and lies on the Irrawaddy River.

What is it?
Mandalay is the second largest country of Burma, a country now back on the global travel map and it is a city with both character and a wealth of architectural charms.

Best time to visit?
Mandalay lies within the Tropics and has a climate to match. Perhaps the best time to visit is in January when the average temperature is around 21 C with the warmest month, April, averaging 31C, with daytime temperatures often exceeding 35 C. The wet season runs from May through October and can be an unappealing time to visit with heavy rains.

Must see?
The Mandalay Palace dates back to the 19th century and was the seat of Burmese Royalty until the British seized it and the Burmese royal family in 1885. Comprehensively bombed during World War Two a massive reconstruction programme has seen it rise again and today it is the city's shining tourist star.

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Mandalay, Myanmar