Myanmar’s second largest city, Mandalay, is home to some 1,022,487 people in the metro area. Mandalay is famous for being the more cultural city in Myanmar, home to the last Burmese King and Queen and a large Chinese population with many Muslim, Hindu and Christian neighborhoods. Founded in 1857 by King Mindon as the new royal capital at the foot of Mandalay Hill the old kingdom in Amarapura was packed up and moved into the 66 sq. km citadel. Mandalay would remain as the capital for only 26 years, after the final Anglo-Burmese War in 1885 Thibaw Min and Queen Supayalat in exile, ending the Konbaung Dynasty. After annexation by the British, they looted the palace sending most of the artifacts to England to be put on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the palace was renamed Fort Dufferin and used to house British soldiers. The original palace was destroyed during the Second World War, the only original part of the palace to remain was a watch tower. A replica of the original palace was built in the 1990’s Mandalay is situated next to the great Ayeyarwaddy River which is gives you the option of catching a boat from to Bagan (12hrs). If you’re a fan of railways you can catch the train from Yangon (15hrs) or bus (9hrs). Mandalay is also in Burma’s northern dry zone which means temperatures can climb high during March to May, it’s monsoon season is quite light compared to other parts of the country so it’s best to travel during November to February. International flights are starting to make their way into Mandalay’s international airport so foreign tourists are on the rise. But, as Mandalay has been an essential destination of the traditional ‘circle-route’, it’s a must visit cultural hub.