The last royal capital of Myanmar, Mandalay has awe-inspiring temples and monasteries worthy of legends. Among the highlights are the gold leaf-rich Mahamuni Buddha Pagoda, the teak Shwenandaw Kyaung (Golden Palace Monastery), the reconstructed Mandalay Palace, and Kuthodaw Pagoda. Surrounding Mandalay are the former kingdoms of Mingun, Inwa, Sagaing and Amarapura, site of U Bein Bridge, the longest teak bridge in the world. Spend a night watching a puppet show, classical dance, or Burmese-style political satire by the Moustache Brothers. If you’re keen on escaping the tropical swelter, journey up to the former British hill station of Maymyo, now known as Pyin Oo Lwin, where you can ride a horse carriage and admire the colonial houses. Thingyan, the Burmese New Year Water Festival in mid-April, is a good time to be in Mandalay. Other notable festivals include Thadingyut Light Festival at the end of Buddhist Lent and the Tazaungdine, another festival of light marking the end of the rainy season. Don’t forget to climb up Mandalay Hill for magnificent views of the city.