Half day tour – discovering Inn Wa Ancient City
Half day tour to Inn Wa Ancient City (also known as Inwa or Ava Ancient City) in a horse cart.
Read previous post on One day tour to see Monk’s breakfast in Amarapura.
One of the challenges we had during our trip in Myanmar was the spelling of the words. I often pronounce the word I saw on the internet but then the locals call the place with an absolutely different name.
Post the monk’s breakfast in Mahagandhayon Monastery, we crossed the Irrawaddy River through Sagaing bridge (also known as Ayeyarwady Bridge, Yadanabon Bridge, Yadanar Pone Bridge or New Ava Bridge) to visit Sagaing. The locals seemed to be really proud of this bridge connecting Mandalay and the rest of ancient cities nearby.
This bridge was completed in 2008 to replace the old Ava bridge (or Inva or Inwa Bridge) which was built by the British in 1934. The old bridge had a capacity limited to under 15 ton trucks since 1992 resulting in less efficient transportation of goods.
Inn Wa city was an ancient imperial capital of successive Bernese kingdoms from the 14th to 19th centuries. It was sacked and rebuilt numerous times. The capital city was finally abandoned after it was completely destroyed by a series of major earthquakes in March 1839. It became one of the top attractions in Mandalay.
How to get to Inn Wa City?
Take a tuk tuk or taxi (using Grab APP) to Myitnge River and most drivers will wait for you at the port where you need to take a 3-min boat ride to the other side of the river.
A few meters away from the boat, there are a few restaurants, unless your driver tells you where the restaurant is, it’s hard to identify them as they all look just local families to me. We had our lunch in one of the restaurants, the menu was really simple and it’s translated in English.
How to get around inside the city?
I must admit that the site is pretty big. Of course there are people walking through the village but I recommend taking the horse cart for US$5 per person. They will take you and wait for you at each spot and let the locals navigate.
What to see in Inn Wa?
The whole city itself is a ruin where you can still see a few remnants of the city and old monasteries still in good conditions.
Right by the port is the main entrance where you would be crowded by local souvenir vendors. A lady works by the gate and allocates tourists to go on each of the waiting carts.
It was fun to explore this ancient city in a horse cart, all roads are unpaved and it feels very authentic and original. There was a lady following our cart on a bike all the way to the gate of Bagaya Kyaung Monastery (3.5km from the port) who just wanted to sell the jade necklaces to my friend. Just for her effort, my friend bought the necklaces.
We made 5 stops in the city but you could request to stop as many times as you wanted as the city itself has so much to offer.
Shortly after this amazing ancient city, we arrived at the U-Bein Bridge to see the stunning and beautiful Burmese sunset.
About U-Bein Bridge…
U-Bein Bridge is a crossing that lies over the Taungthaman Lake near Amarapura. The total length of the bridge is 1.2km and was built around 1850. U-Bein Bridge is one of the oldest and longest teakwood bridges in the world.
Around the sunset hours, this bridge becomes very crowded and busy. Not only foreign tourists, but also many locals relaxing and chilling on the bridge. By the entrance of the bridge, there are so many souvenir stops, food and beverage vendors.
Despite the crowds, the sunset view over this bridge was stunning. The reflection on the lake and the temperature created a magical atmosphere that felt surprisingly calm and relaxing.
Next post on: The half day tour to Mingun City from Mandalay by boat.