For us, Myanmar has been one of our favorite places we’ve visited. The people are incredibly friendly, the street food scene in Yangon is amazing, and throughout the country there are breathtaking sights to see.
After spending a few days exploring Mandalay, we were ready to get outside of the city and do a day trip somewhere.
Amarapura was the perfect choice! It’s just a short tuktuk ride from Mandalay and some of the most popular tourist attractions are there too. Amarapura is absolutely worth exploring for a day, so when you’re planning a trip to the Myanmar, this is a stop you won’t want to miss.
9 Wonderful Things To Do in Amarapura, Myanmar
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1. Take a tuktuk ride down and back
Getting to Amarapura is really quite easy. Make sure you’ve downloaded the Grab app (this is a must in our list of 63 Travel Tips!) and then use it to call a ride. It was about 5,500 Kyat ($4.05 USD) for us to get down there, and about the same to get back.
Along the way, you’ll pass by some cool sights and get a feel for how Mandalay and its surrounding cities start the day. Plus, the drive in along Taung Tha Man Lake is beautiful.
Most of all, tuktuks are one of our favorite ways to travel! They’re fun, cheap, and you get a breeze in your hair. What’s not to love?
2. Visit Maha Gandar Yone Monastery
You’ll want to arrive by 10:00 AM, since at 10:15 AM every day over 1,000 monks line up to receive their food donations for lunch.
It’s quite the spectacle to see. The monks silently make their way down the street towards the massive pots of rice being manned by volunteers.
Tourists and visitors are now required to stay behind a chained off section and photography on anything besides a cellphone is prohibited thanks to some very poorly behaved tourists.
Despite all that, it’s still worth visiting Maha Gandar Yone. After the procession is over you can wander around the grounds of the monastery. If a monk gives you an unrequested tour, you can expect to be asked for a donation. Though remember, you’re not under any obligation to make one!
3. See the incredible Kyaw Aung San Dar Monastery
This is a place we just happened to walk by and stop in at. We didn’t originally have it on our list, but it might be one of our favorite spots in Amarapura!
All over the grounds are incredible statues, including a massive laying Buddha, sitting Buddha, and a hall with hundreds of Buddhas in all sorts of sizes. It almost felt like a hall of mirrors.
Best of all, it’s entirely free to visit. It seems like tourists don’t usually make it over there, since people were a bit surprised to see us wandering around. Don’t be surprised if someone asks to take a picture with you!
Planning a trip to Myanmar? Check out our other posts:
- What To Eat In Yangon’s Chinatown (Street Food Guide)
- 9 Amazing Things To Do In Mandalay, Myanmar
- Travel Guide to Myanmar’s Inle Lake (How To See It Without a Tour)
- Travel Guide to the Temples of Bagan, Myanmar: Map, History & More
4. Head over to the Jade Pagoda
The Werawsana Jade Pagoda is a few miles outside of Amarapura, so you’ll need to call another Grab to get over there.
The world’s first jade pagoda sports over 10,000 tons of the glowing green gemstone!
It’s said the best time of day to visit is either sunrise or sunset, but given how beautiful it is, you really can’t go wrong visiting the Werawsana Jade Pagoda at any time of day.
5. Catch a sunrise or sunset at U-Bein Bridge
U-Bein Bridge is one of the most iconic destinations in Myanmar. The world’s longest teakwood bridge spans nearly 4,000 feet and is a very popular tourist destination.
It gets incredibly busy around sunset as several tourist buses arrive, so if you’re looking for a tranquil experience it’s best to visit U-Bein Bridge for sunrise.
If you’re feeling like spending a bit more, negotiate with a boat captain to take you out on the lake for sunrise or sunset. Make sure to haggle!
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6. Visit a silk weaving shop
There are several silk weaving shops throughout Amarapura, and we always enjoy having plenty to choose from.
The silk weaving shops are generally not places you can just walk into, but if you ask nicely you’ll be let in by a store clerk.
Many places offer both handwoven and machine spun textiles, and it’s amazing to see the production happening right before your eyes.
The weaving machines are incredibly loud though, so don’t plan on staying for too long.
7. Check out Bagaya Monastery
This 5-story monastery is on the north end of Amarapura, making it an easy stop on your way to or from Mandalay.
There are over 20,000 carvings in the temple, which is best seen in the afternoons when you’ll almost have the place to yourself. This incredible monastery really shows off traditional Burmese architecture in a profoundly serene atmosphere.
Not sure what to pack for Myanmar? Let us help!
- We’ve been on the road full-time for about a year. So at this point, we pretty much consider ourselves packing experts. Check out these 17 Things That We Can’t Travel Without to help you plan your Myanmar trip!
- We use Google Fi for phone service while traveling internationally. It even works in Myanmar! If you’re new to Google Fi, use our link to get $20 of your first month’s bill.
8. Grab a bite to eat at Shwe Myint Mo Cafe
We’ll level with you guys here, there aren’t a whole lot of great food options near U-Bein Bridge and the other main attractions in Amarapura. In the evenings, some dosa stands open up, but as far as restaurants with air-conditioning go, don’t get your hopes up.
With that said, Shwe Myint Mo Cafe is a good lunch spot which is centrally located in Amarapura. The food is good, and even though they are charging slightly inflated tourist prices it’s only about 3,000 Kyat ($2.21 USD) per plate.
There are many more food options up towards Bagaya Monastery, so it may be better to plan to eat near there.
9. Stop by a marble carving shop
All over Myanmar you’ll see marble carvings of Buddha. The art and process of marble carving is traditionally done by hand.
Today, machines do a lot of the work, but you can still see craftsmen working on their carvings as you make your way around Mandalay and Amarapura. Some shops will have hundreds of stone Buddhas on site.
Other things to note
- Two very popular destinations outside of Mandalay are often lumped in with Amarapura, though they technically are not located within the limits. Hsinbyume Pagoda and Mingun Pahtodawgyi are nearly an hour north of Amarapura in Min Kun.
- Near U-Bein Bridge in the heart of Amarapura, the toilet facilities cost 200 Kyat ($0.15 USD) per person. It’s best to have some small bills on hand for this.
- As mentioned above, always use Grab to get the best rate on a tuktuk or taxi! It shouldn’t cost more than 6,000 Kyat ($4.42 USD) to get to Amarapura, and roughly the same to get back.
- Make sure to wear appropriate attire to pagodas, monasteries, and temples. Your shoulders should be covered, don’t wear shorts, and remove your shoes when entering. Pro tip: wear shorts anyways, but bring a longyi to cover up with as needed.
- Another spot often lumped in with Amarapura is Inwa. However, you should plan to skip it. From overworked horses to persistent hawkers, it’s just a place to avoid.
Want to take great pictures in Myanmar?
If you want to take amazing shots of all the beautiful places in Myanmar, it may be time to upgrade your camera. Our Sony RX100 is the best travel camera. Ever. It’s lightweight and compact, yet it takes better pictures than almost every DSLR camera on the market.
So is Amarapura worth a visit? It absolutely is! If you’ve already checked off everything from 9 Amazing Things To Do In Mandalay, Myanmar, then visiting Amarapura is a wonderful day trip to do which won’t break the bank.