Visiting Mingun and Saigang
The ferryboat depart at 9 am from Mandalay – Myan Gyan Jetty, and it takes around 1 hour to get to Mingun cruising along the Irrawaddy River. The boat trip ends in front of the remains of two giant guard lions crumbled by an earthquake 200 years ago. Here, a dusty path starts leading you around the most exciting spots of the village.
The first you’ll visit, and the most known, is the Mingun Paya (Mingun Pahtodawgyi), the world biggest unfinished pagoda, that once it had finished would have measured 150 meter high. Built by King Bodawpaya in 1790, it was intentionally left unfinished. Climb up the massive staircase to get the top and have a beautiful 360° panoramic view. Walking around the ruins, you’ll notice the enormous crack left by the earthquake on the face.
Proceeding with your visit, you’ll see the Mingun Bell that was for a long time the largest ringing bell in the world. It’s 90 tons with a diameter of almost 5 meters, and it was cast to go in the Mingun Pahtodawgyi. It says that you have to strike the bell 3 times for luck.
A few minutes walk from the bell, you’ll find the Hsinbyume Pagoda, a pure white structure with seven terraces and many niches filled with mythical, built in 1816 by Bodapaya’s grandson after the death of his consort in childbirth. Completed the visit, back to the jetty within noon when the boat leaves for Mandalay.
In the afternoon, we can complete your daily trip with a visit to Saigang Hill. Sagaing is a religious and monastic centre, with numerous Buddhist monasteries. It briefly regained his position as a Royal capital of Burma from 1760-1764. Considered by many to be the centre of Buddhism in Myanmar, Sagaing is the perfect place to practice meditation. There are more than 600 monasteries, nunneries and stupas in Sagaing and around 5000 monks living within its borders.
This hill has numerous pagodas, monasteries and meditation centres known as a peaceful place for Buddhist studies. The Soon Oo Ponya Shin Pagoda is located on the top of the Hill. Built in 1312 by Minister Pon Nya, it is one of the oldest temples on Sagaing Hill. Here on the hilltop, you can also have a look at U Min thone Ze Pagoda (thirty caves pagoda) that boasts 45 Buddha Images in a crescent-shaped colonnade and enjoy the overlooking view of the Mandalay city and the River.
If you like visiting a Monastic school plenty of young students, we suggest stopping at the bottom of the hill, along Taung Yoe Road, where you’ll find the Aung Myae OO Monastic school.
Need to Know
Mingun: Get to the Myan Gyan Jetty (end of 26th street – Myo Patt road) at about 8:30 am, buy your round trip ticket (5,000 Kyat) and get on board. Once you’re in Mingun, you’ll have to pay another 5,000 Kyat as an entrance fee to the sites around the village. Remember that the return boat is at noon.
Saigang: it’s around 15 km from Mandalay on the west side of Irrawaddy river. Take a motorcycle taxi or rent a motorcycle to get there.