There was a quote in the Lonely Planet (2005) that said “ Mandalay’s good, but it gets better just outside it’s doors”. And outside you find the sites of Amarapura, Mingun, Ava and Sagaing
Ideally you would take three days to visit all these destinations. Ava and Sagaing are usually grouped together as they are over the river from each other. For a more rushed day Amarapura can be added here. Mingun is often done as a separate destination.
These destinations are all half day trips and can not all be done in one day. Taxi or pick-up hire are the best way to get to the locations and this can been arranged via your hotel. Cost of $15 –$20 per half day are indicative.
Mingun is best visited by boat and hiring a boat is an easy process. A cost of $20 would be indicative.
As with anything travel there are public transport options, but these do take up quite a bit more time.
There is a $5 tourist fee for Mingun that is valid for two days and includes access to Sagaing.
Several of the sites in Mandalay also have a $10 tourist fee valid for three days which includes Ava (Inwa) and Amarapura.
View Mandalay Burma in a larger map