If you’re planning a trip to Mandalay, Myanmar, you don’t want to miss seeing the majestic White Temple! It’s one of the most unique and beautiful temples I’ve seen. Continue reading for everything you need to know when visiting the White Temple of Myanmar.
Where is the White Temple (Hsinbyume Pagoda)?
Myanmar is a country located in Southeast Asia. It was formerly called Burma and shares a border with India, China, Thailand, and Bangladesh.
Mandalay is the second largest city in Myanmar and is centrally located within the country. The White Temple, also known as Hsinbyume Pagoda or Mya Thein Tan Pagoda, is located about 10km (a little over 6 miles) to the northwest of Mandalay, Myanmar on the western bank of the Irrawaddy River. It is located in Northern Mingun town, in close proximity to the large and unfinished Mingun Pagoda.
What is a Pagoda?
You may be wondering, what a pagoda is anyway? A pagoda is a tiered tower that is commonly found in Asia. Typically, pagodas were built for a religious function, often Buddhist but occasionally Taoist.
There can be some confusion about the difference between a pagoda and a temple. A temple is typically made up of multiple pagodas.
Read More: Bagan, Myanmar — The Land of 3000 Pagodas…”one of the most beautiful hours I’ve spent on this planet!”
The History of the White Temple
Construction of the White Temple began in 1816. The temple was commissioned by Prince Bagyidaw to commemorate his late wife, Princess Hsinbyume, who died four years earlier during childbirth. Princess Hsinbyume’s name translates to White Elephant Princess.
The temple was completed 3 years later, in 1819, just as Prince Bagyidaw ascended the throne. The temple sustained damage through the years from earthquakes but has been completely restored.
The construction of the White Temple is really something to behold. I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like it. The temple has seven layers, each representing one of the seven mountain ranges that is said to surround Mount Meru, the center of the Buddhist Universe.
Each of the seven layers are adorned with white wave like structures that look like foam crested waves when framed with the deep blue sky in the background.
How to Get to the White Temple
The White Temple is very easy to reach because of its close proximity to Mandalay. It is located within a few miles of Mandalay, Myanmar which has the second largest international airport in Myanmar.
You can fly directly to Mandalay and then take a boat ride down the Irrawaddy River to arrive in Mingun. From the dock in Mingun, you can walk to the temple or take an ox cart ride.
If you’re not in the mood for the boat ride, you can also take a taxi from Mandalay to Mingun. A taxi ride will be more pricey than the boat ride but it will get you to your destination more quickly.
Opening Hours and Entrance Fees
The White Temple is open daily during daylight hours. You will need a ticket to enter the White Temple but it is only $4US. The ticket is easily purchased at the Sagaing – Mingun archeological zone and can be used at other local monuments like the nearby Mingun Pagoda.
Is there a Dress Code for Visiting Hsinbyume Pagoda?
There isn’t an official dress code that I know of, but when visiting temples in Southeast Asia it’s always a good idea to have your shoulders and knees covered. You will also need to take off your shoes, so if you don’t want to walk barefoot, you may want to bring some socks with you.
It’s also quite hot and sunny, so you will want to wear sunscreen and bring along some water.
The Best Way to See the White Temple
I’ve found if we only have a short amount of time in a city, the best way to get the most out of our visit and see as much as possible is to book a tour.
We had an amazing tour in Southeast Asia with Indochina Voyages. We did a lot of research before booking a tour company for our 3-week trip in Southeast Asia. Indochina Voyages stood out because they were the most organized, the most responsive, the most informative, and the most willing to customize our tour to our needs.
I told them where we wanted to go, and they took care of everything else. They took all the stress out of planning a long trip!
If you want a reliable driver with a friendly, knowledgeable, English speaking guide who will make sure you see and do all the best things in each city, we highly recommend Indochina Voyages.
The tour isn’t too expensive when you consider how the entry fees and taxi fees to visit these places on your own would begin to add up. Plus, you’ll be thrilled to have a guide with you to explain the history and help you get the most out of your visit.
These umbrellas are for sale right outside the white temple. Looking back now, I wish I had gotten one! Wouldn’t the hot pink have looked so striking against the white with my blue dress? I definitely could have used the shade as well, it’s very sunny and warm in Myanmar!
Best Time to Visit the White Temple
It’s best to visit the White Temple early in the morning or in the evening. If you take the 9 AM boat ride from Mandalay, you will want to go directly to the temple to beat the crowds and the height of the sun. In mid afternoon, at the peak of the heat, the ground will become too hot to walk on bare feet.
The Best Hotels in Mandalay, Myanmar
Hotel by the Red Canal
If you’re looking for the best place to stay in Mandalay, Myanmar, we highly recommend the Hotel by the Red Canal. The rooms are modern, upscale, and so clean. The decor in rooms are beautiful and interesting representations of the ethnic groups of Myanmar. The rooms also have free WiFi and breakfast is included!
Our room had an amazing outdoor shower. The outdoor stone shower offered an exhilarating experience. For those who prefer a more traditional bathing experience, the room also had a full indoor bathroom!
The hotel grounds and room really felt like a tropical oasis in the middle of the city!
Questions About the White Temple?
Do you have any questions about visiting the white temple of Myanmar? Leave a comment below, and we’ll do our best to help!