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A fantastic day-trip from Mandalay
Mingun is a small town in Sagaing Region, located on the Irrawaddy River banks, and 11km (6.8 mi) northwest of Mandalay.

The principal tourist attraction in Mingun is Mingun Pahtodawgyi, an unfinished monument stupa, which would’ve been the largest stupa in the world at a height of 150 m (490 ft). Construction of the temple started in 1790 but only reached 1/3 of the intended height before it was abandoned by King Bodawpaya after an astrologer claimed that the king would die once the project was finished.
An earthquake on 23 March 1839 caused huge cracks to appear on the face of the remaining structure. Today, the temple is more of a tourist attraction but there’s only a small shrine with a Buddha image that serves as a place of worship and meditation.

Another thing to do in Mingun is to see the Mingun Bell, – weighing 90 tons and the second largest in the world. It was cast to be in the huge Mingun Pahtodawgyi stupa but is now located on the western bank of the Irrawaddy River.

Located few meters from the bell is the Hsinbyume Pagoda (Myatheindan Pagoda), which is interesting because of its very distinctive and striking style that diverges from all the other pagodas in Mandalay.

The city can be easily reached by ferry from Mandalay for 5000 Ks (US$ 3.5) and by car, or even bicycle, from Sagaing.
I took the 9:00 AM ferry and arrived in Mingun around 10:00AM. All the visitors must pay the Mingun – Sagaing Archeological fee that costs 5000 Ks (US$ 3.5).
I had two hours to explore Mingun, which is enough because those three attractions are very close to each other.
The ferry departs at 12:00 PM and you arrive in Mandalay by 1:00.

I really liked the half-day trip from Mandalay to Mingun, taking pictures at the Hsinbyume Pagoda and learning more about Mingun Pahtodawgyi from a local guide.