For many people the 45-minute walk up Mandalay Hill for sunset is one of the highlights of a visit to the city. The usual starting point is the staircase between a large pair of chin-thé (lion-dogs) on 10th Street; there is another entrance a little further east.
Whichever route you choose, the concrete steps run uphill beneath a corrugated iron roof, lined with stalls selling drinks and souvenirs. The two routes meet just before Byar Deik Paya, from which a large standing Buddha points back the way you came. The story goes that the Buddha visited the hill and foretold that a great city would be built at its foot.
There are numerous other shrines on the way up the hill, including Ngon Minn Stupa, where the names of donors are written on the white columns. As you get higher, the crowds become thicker, particularly around sunset, but the wide terrace of Sutaungpyi Paya (“wish-granting pagoda”) at the top accommodates the mixture of pilgrims, tourists and novice monks, who are there to practise their English.