Easily accessible from Mandalay are the remnants of four ancient cities.
Inwa, previously known as Ava, was the capital of Burma for the best part of five centuries.
Many of the sites have been destroyed or fallen into disrepair but it's still possible to visit the ruins of Nanmyin, the ancient palace, and the Maha Aungmye Bonzan monastery, built in 1818 before the major conflicts of the 19th century.
Sagaing, set in peaceful and picturesque hills, is widely regarded as the religious centre of Burma and is home to more than 3,000 monks, 100 meditation centres and several stunning pagodas.
Superlatives abound in relation to the remaining two cities; Mingun, best reached via the Irrawaddy River, is home to the world's largest intact bell, while Amarapura boasts the world's longest wooden bridge. Spanning more than a kilometre, U Bein Bridge was built in 1782 using giant teak beams that still hold firm today.