Mingun – Myanmar Travel Guide
In a nutshell
Mingun is one of four famous ancient capitals that sit outside of Mandalay and is often visited as part of a day trip.
Why go to Mingun
There is a lot to enjoy in Mingun and part of the fun of a visit to this former capital is the boat trip that takes you there, as you can float along the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay and take in all the sights as you go.
Once in Mingun you can see a range of top spots like Pahtodawgyi Pagoda which was built in 1790 but never completed and was meant to be the largest pagoda in the world.
Although it has been rocked by earthquakes you can still see a wall that is 50 meters tall as well as the famous Mingun Bell which weighs in at an impressive 90 tones.
When to go to Mingun
You can visit Myanmar at any time depending on the kind of weather you enjoy. The dry season runs from January to May and it can be very hot and dusty at this time. The rainy season however is from June to October and although it is cooler, it can also rain every single day which may put a damper on any plans to go sightseeing. As such, one of the nicest times to visit is from November to December when the rains have finished but the weather is still relatively cool.
Where to stay in Mingun
Most people choose to visit Mingun for the day from Mandalay as there is a much larger and more comprehensive selection of places to stay in Mandalay. Accommodation can be hard to come by in Mingun, particularly for foreigners as guesthouses need to be licensed to accept non-Burmese nationals. With this in mind, it is best not to plan to stay over in Mingun.
Where to eat in Mingun
You won’t find a huge range of restaurants in Mingun, especially if you are looking for upscale dining options. One good choice if you want a sit down restaurant that looks over the river is Point which serves up Burmese food like curries, rice, and noodle dishes.
How to get around Mingun
There are not a huge number of choices for getting around Mingun although to visit most of the attractions in town there is no need to take public transport. You can easily walk along the riverfront or you can take a motorbike taxi if you want to go further afield.
How to get to and from Mingun
The best way to get to Mingun is to take a boat from the central jetty in Mandalay which is on Strand Road. The boat leaves every day at 9 am and makes the return journey at 12.30 pm which will give you time to see some of the main sites in town. The boat costs MMK 5,000 for a single ticket, or you can hire your own boat for USD 25 which is a good choice if you are traveling as part of a group.
Another way to get to Mingun is from neighbouring Sagaing although the road is basic and even though the journey only takes around 30 minutes, some drivers may be reluctant to take you depending on the season. As such, it is best to just get the boat from Mandalay if possible.
Is Mingun a safe place to visit?
Mingun is considered a safe place to visit and most trips here are trouble-free. That said, make sure to be vigilant about your possessions at all times as pick pockets and bag snatchers do operate in town.
Take care if you are going to climb to the top of Pahtodawgyi Pagoda. The climb is very steep and the structure is unstable due to a number of earthquakes in the area. At times the structure is closed and you should make follow the latest advice on whether it is safe to climb.