The "forbidden city" of Mandalay, as I called the Royal Palace, was something I put off until I had seen all other sights of the city. "Forbidden city" not because it resembles the forbidden city of Beijing, but because the Royal Palace area of Mandalay is used as a military base and you have to stay on your path from the entrance gate to the palace buildings. You are not allowed to go off to the left or right and it's a long way to walk from the entrance. There are bicycles for rent, but only for Burmese people. Tourists cannot rent the bikes!
The whole Royal Palace is a reconstruction, since the original palace was destroyed by the fighting between the British/Indian forces with the Japanese in 1945. So, the buildings are all new and mostly empty. Actually all of them were empty when I visited since the museum was under renovation and closed. The only positive thing is the view from the viewing tower and the wall with the moat around it.
I had a motorcycle taxi drive me to the moat which surrounds the 4 square km walled fortress. Unfortunately I had to walk from the entrance booth to the middle of the fortress after I registered for a visit. I am not sure if motorcycle taxis are not allowed to drive in, however I saw taxis bring in and out tourists.
When registering at the gates, visitors have to show their ID, passport or anything with a photo and leave their ID with the guard! When I was leaving again, the guard just handed me the whole bucket with all the passports and ID's, so I could pick out mine! We as western tourists all look the same for them, so they would not recognize who's passport belongs to whom. This is despite the number on the security badge we get and have to return. A very uncomfortable situation!