Mandalay is a beautiful name for a town and that is pretty much it as Mandalay doesn’t habe much character. It is a newer town with few attractions for visitors and little to explore compared to Yangon. However around Mandalay there is lots to see and explore. I hired a guide for the day and we went to Sagaing Hill, Amarapura and Inwa Village. It was an interesting day. Sagaing Hill is overgrown with forest and golden stupas. Amarapura has the old wooden U Bein Bridge to watch the sunset. Inwa Village has lots of temples on offer and you can see local people living in very basic conditions along the roads.
The Hotel I stayed in ressembled more a prison than a welcoming Guesthouse. I had a small concrete box room with a small bed and a desk with a chair cramped in.
I left Mandalay with the 4am train to Hsipaw, which was one of the best train rides on this trip from London to Singapore by train. I bought some local breakfast on the platform and boarded the Upper-Class wagon. I sat opposite an army general with more batches than space on his shirt. The full-moon lit up the surroundings as our train made it’s way to Hsipaw. It was a bumpy and shaky ride. However it was perfect to fall asleep again in the comfortable chairs.