Kye-Mhon Bridge, West side of Mandalay Fort Moat, Myanmar

Visiting the Royal Palace at Mandalay.

Known as Mya Nan San Kyaw (The Famed Royal Emerald Palace) this is one of Mandalay's major tourist attractions.

King Mindon moved his capital to Mandalay from Amarapura in 1857 to fulfill a prophecy 2400 years earlier by the Gautama Buddha who had visited Mandalay Hill. The Palace was built in accordance with tradition to represent the cosmos with the sacred Mount Eru (the Throne Room at it's centre). The palace buildings at Amarapura were dismantled and re-assembled in situ - the centre piece being the Lion Room where the rulers held court. This elaborately carved teak building with upturned eaves had a seven tiered roof and high tower (Pyathat) which was decorated with jewels and gold leaf. The other buildings within the palace area were all made of teak and heavily carved and decorated. The whole city was contained within a fort (citadel) and surrounded by a wide moat.
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Mandalay Fort's wide Moat - Mandalay.
Mandalay Fort Moat
Huge Bastions and watchtower at  Mandalay Fort.
Moat Bastion
On Htate Gate - public entrance gate to the Palace at Mandalay.
On Htate Gate
West Gate watchtower and Bastion - Mandalay.
West Gate Watchtower
The fort has 24 foot high walls and 12 watch gates - again the watch gates designed with multi-tiered wooden carved roofs. The moat is 210 feet wide and can be crossed by four bridges - altogether a huge area of some 2.5kms square.
The city was eventually conquered by the British (in 1885) and used as a military base and then later on it was almost completely destroyed during WW2 (1945) to remove the Japanese.

Royal Palace entrance point at Mandalay Fort.
Royal Palace entrance
Various Royal Palace buildings at Mandalay.
Royal Palace buildings
The Royal Palace - Mandalay.
Royal Palace
A reconstructed building at The Royal Palace - Mandalay.
Royal Palace building
If heading to the Royal Palace after visiting the Mandalay Hill area it is of course possible to walk there using the East side of the moat which is along a pavement whichis lined with trees and even a few seats however this is around 2kms. Then there is the long walk from the Ticket Office to the Palace itself so especially if time is limited then a taxi might be a good idea. There is no need to retain your taxi as there are usually plenty hanging around at the car park in front of the Palace entrance.
Note that in order to visit this reconstruction of the Palace the only tourist access is via the East Gate. Once over the Moat there are several police around and there is also a ticket office where they will want to see your Combo Ticket (which does cover Palae admission). To actually reach the Palace from there involves a long walk along a wide straight road - as the area is still used by the Burmese military you cannot leave the road and there is nowhere to stop.
Chief Queen's Apartments at Mandalay Palace.
Chief Queens Apartments
Royal Palace reconstructed building - Mandalay.
Royal Palace building
Great Audience Hall at the Royal Palace in Mandalay.
Great Audience Hall
Pair of Royal Palace buildings at Mandalay.
Royal Palace buildings
While the reconstruction of much of the Palace (which occurred in the 1990s) of around 40 buildings is useful to understand the scale of the area, sadly authentic materials and use of skilled craftsmen was not apparently used. This means that the buildings certainly lack something - perhaps not at all helped by the liberal use of pink painted corrugated sheets as part of the roofs. There is certainly no comparison with the Shwenandaw Kyaung which was thankfully moved to Mandalay Hill area before the destruction - the monastery does show what it was once like at the Palace.
Our other items about Mandalay and surrounding area.
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