Has ever a name conjured so much romance, with so little payoff, as that of vaunted Mandalay? Poor food and minimal sights to see make this inexplicably famous city one of the least essential stopoffs in Southeast Asia. The Mandalay Palace is a reconstruction in the midst of an army camp, and Mandalay Hill essentially a giant, sad, dusty souvenir shop. People are friendly enough, but the awful culinary scene (even for Burma) makes going here at all a serious question.
Ancient Capital, not far from Bagan! Nice to climb the Manadalay Hill and see the view. Ancient Royal Moat and Palace (not sure if can go inside)
The image of Mandalay is much more romantic than the reality. Mandalay is polluted, busy, and lacks the cultural monuments and historical architecture of other cities. Though you may feel compelled to visit, the biggest plus here is being able to say that you went. If you do visit, ease your pain with a visit to a puppet theater. The attractions here are indoors.
View of Mandalay