In the center of the city is the Mandalay Palace, originnally built for and occupied by the Burmese Royal Family until the British took over the country in 1885. Some taxi drivers will refuse to take you there saying that you should stay away because it was rebuilt with forced labour. We chose not to visit.
A moat circles the entire one square kilometer grounds. Tourists enter through the West Gate.
When You Go:
* Before traveling to Burma, contact a travel agent who can arrange a transit letter for you. You will need this when applying for an entry visa into Myanmar. We used Myanmar Tourex. They can make hotel and internal air reservations for your trip, arrange airport transfers, as well as private tours. A paypal deposit is required after setting-up the trip and the balance is paid on arrival (USD cash).
* Stay away from government run hotels, travel agencies, and airlines. Support the local independent merchants. When shopping in the large tourist marketplaces, the government run merchants are clearly labeled as such.
* Don't miss the Maha Muni Buddha Image, Mandalay Hill, and the local markets in the Chinatown area.