There’s not quite so much of the gold left that once covered the wood, but it’s ornately carved teak is arguably even more impressive.
Built in 1880 of carved teak, Shwenandaw Monastery was originally part of the imperial palace at Amarapura. About five years before the British arrived it was moved, in part because the king’s father had died in the building—you can still see the bedchamber where he died—and the new king preferred not to be constantly reminded of it. It now sits on a site near the base of Mandalay Hill, in the north of Mandalay.
It was originally the king’s private retreat. After he died, for a long time it was a monastery.
Its architectural style is traditional Burmese. Numerous solid teak tree trunks hold the structure up off the ground. All of the monastery’s interior is also constructed from teak, from the massive floor planks to the walls and the ornate decoration. The outside now looks blackish, but it was originally covered in gold leaf. You can still see the gold leaf lining the walls and ceiling inside. And there’s no electrical wiring or air conditioning here–it’s all natural light and fresh air ventilation.
The central structure is quite similar in overall structure and layout to the teak monastery of Bagaya Kyaung that’s still in Amarapura, though the Shwenandaw Monastery is much more ornate and, well, golden.
Photos of Shwenandaw Golden Palace Monastery
What To Know Before You Go
While it’s no longer a functioning religious site, it once was. So you’ll still have to take your shoes off.
Travel Advice for Myanmar (Burma)
You can find the latest U.S. Department of State travel advisories and information for Myanmar (Burma) (such as entry visa requirements and vaccination requirements) here.
The British and Australian governments offer their own country-specific travel information. You can find the British Government's travel advice for Myanmar (Burma) here and the Australian Government's here.
Health & Vaccinations
The CDC makes country-specific recommendations for vaccinations and health for travelers. You can find their latest information for Myanmar (Burma) here.
Guidebooks for Myanmar (Burma)
If you're looking for a guidebook to make the most of your visit, these are some of the most popular ones currently for Myanmar (Burma). Some are available in both paper and e-book formats.
- DK Eyewitness (Author)
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Guides, Insight (Author)
- ✔ GPS map loads to your smartphone memory - no network access needed once the app is downloaded.
- ✔ GPS map displays your location along with nearby sights and attractions.
- Guides, Rough (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
Travel Insurance For Your Trip to Myanmar (Burma)
I never travel without travel insurance, and I've run into several situations where I've had to make claims. I consider it essential.
But shopping for travel insurance can be a pain and confusing. Thankfully, there are some travel insurance comparison sites that show you a wide range of plans, make it easy to compare coverage, and can save you money at the same time. And the coverage can be much better tailored to your specific needs than the checkbox offering at travel booking sites or through your credit card.
These are some good places to shop for travel insurance for your next trip to Myanmar (Burma) :
Hopefully, you won't need it, but if something goes wrong, you'll sure be glad you have it!