Myanmar has plenty of things to see and do and visit, and one that I had the pleasure of visiting when I was there back four years now, was the U-Bein Bridge. It is or at least was the longest teak wood bridge in the world – something that I guess wasn’t particularly amazing to me at the time, as you know, it seemed very specific with the type of wood, but one thing’s for certain, this bridge is definitely special.
So just how long is it? Well, it’s 1.2 kilometres long. There are almost 1100 teak posts nailed into the bottom of the Taungthamen Lake, which it crosses at pretty much the thinnest point. It sits next to the town of Amarapura. It is easily visited from the city of Mandalay, and I visited it as the last stop of a day tour from Mandalay visiting the things around (but not in) the city.
And the time to visit the bridge is at dusk (I presume that dawn is also a great time). And the bridge is absolutely a magical spot for photography. And there’s no better time for photos that an dusk with an orange sky, a footbridge over a lake. Apparently sections lift up to let boats through, and there are now four pagodas at points along the bridge too which weren’t part of the original design.
The original bridge, and I am sure that many parts of it including posts and boards have been replaced over the years, had construction beginning in 1849 and was completed in 1851. So it’s 170 years now since the first post was plonked into the soil beneath the water. The wood for the bridge came from a palace at Inwa, so all in all, this is a significant and fascinating bridge indeed.
Apparently the bridge was conceived by the town’s leader U Bein, to cut down a 13-mile walk to a local monastic school. So, there’s an interesting story to it. But today it’s a significant tourist site in Myanmar, and well, that means that when you go – you certainly won’t be the only one.
But if you need a bottle or water or a souvenir, you’ll find people camped on the bridge selling them, and that means, I guess, that money is coming in to the area. It’s equally popular with the locals, it’s not just for the international visitors. In fact, it’s quite the romantic place to come for young couples, and there’s no doubt there is something a little romantic about this spot, especially as the sun goes down.
But yes, you will be sharing the bridge with a lot of people. Sadly finding a spot by yourself with a little peace and quiet is not possible. But it still doesn’t mean you can’t find a moment to take the beauty all in. But this is another time where words won’t give you a true sense, so here are some of my better photos from the bridge.
Thanks for stopping by today – and May the Journey Never End!