敏東皇（King Mindon）自稱為 2,400 年再次轉世的佛陀，在 1857 年從 Amarapura 遷都至北面 11 公里的曼德勒，希望打造一個佛教皇國。最後因為 19 世紀末英軍入侵，王朝沒落，計劃沒有達成，但曼德勒山中依然有保留了佛教學堂，而全世界最大的石刻經文則保存在山下的 Kuthodaw 寺廟內，登往 240 米高山頂的 Sutaungpyei 寺廟之路，至今仍是信徒的朝聖之路。
從 Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel 走 5 分鐘，就看到登山口的兩隻巨型半龍半獅白色石像。走到山頂共有 1,729 級階梯，若不想行山，亦可坐 5,000 kyat（港幣 30 元）來回的摩托的士，再駁升降機（若運作的話）直接上到山頂。走登山階梯必須脫鞋，但全程有蓋遮頭，路不燙腳，兩旁亦有不少小販，可隨時補給，不怕中暑。登到山腰，微風送爽，心曠神怡，亦漸漸看到曼德勒巿及伊洛瓦底江。
穿過最後的小食店、手信店及掌相相士，終於登上 Sutaungpyei 寺廟。當日天朗氣清，可以 360 度清楚地觀賞曼德勒，就連 Amarapura 那邊的烏本橋，也顯而易見。看看手錶，才走了 45 分鐘，這朝聖之路一點也不難走。
U Bein Bridge/Kimberlogic
After almost a week in Myanmar we arrived at our last stop, Mandalay. We had seen so many temples, and although each one is beautiful in its own way, we had had enough of temple exploring on this trip. In a country where religion is the centre of everything, it was difficult to find something to do that was not visiting another temple. Luckily, we found out that U Bein Bridge was only about 10km south of Mandalay.
U Bein Bridge is believed to be the oldest and longest teak bridge in the world. Built from scraps left over from the former palace in the 1800’s, the bridge is striking, yet doesn’t make one feel very safe when walking across the decaying planks.
With a destination in mind, our only problem was getting there. Maybe it is easy to rent a motorbike in “downtown”, but our hotel was located north of the palace where there was nothing around except a small village, our hotel and the entrance to Mandalay Hill. The palace grounds are so extensive that we were separated from the city by the palace walls and an unreasonably priced taxi ride, which we refused to pay.
By midday we had hiked Mandalay Hill and explored the village. We were hungry and started to feel trapped with nothing left to do. We decided to walk towards the city in hopes of finding a cheaper taxi along the way. After finding a few taxi drivers not willing to budge on the fare our crankiness began setting in from the hunger and we were only about two blocks from the hotel.
A man shouted to us from across the street to see if we wanted a motorbike taxi. Ming Hay figured what do we have to lose, and asked the man to rent his motorbike. With his lack of English and our lack of Burmese, it took a while for the man to understand what we were proposing. Luckily, the man had a friend who spoke Chinese and was able to translate and facilitate the negotiation.
With half of the money paid up front, the man gave us his motorbike and our freedom from north of the palace. We explored the city a little and then set out for U Bein Bridge. The bridge didn’t feel too crowded although there were many people. The closer it got to sunset the more tourist groups appeared, but we had been there well before and had time to walk the bridge with the locals and find a nice spot to sit and wait for sunset.
Throughout our entire trip in Myanmar we tried many times to see the spectacular sunrises and sunsets that everyone talks about, but each time we were met with gray skies. Our last attempt at U Bein Bridge did not disappoint. We got to enjoy a picturesque sunset with all of the red and orange warmth. Getting the motorbike and experiencing the bridge at sunset was the highlight of our time in Mandalay.