Mandalay, the second largest city (after Yangoon) in Myanmar, is one of the places that all travelers must put in their itinerary for the perfect Myanmar tours. And when it becomes to Mandalay, we cannot miss to mention the U Bein Bridge. It is an old and unique bride that has gained tremendous fame around the world, especially for those who enjoy traveling and photographing. Why is it so special, let’s find out more about the U Bein bridge in this article.
U Bein bridge facts
U Bein is the longest teakwood bridge in the world and is attached to the town’s history.
Stretching around 1200m through the Taungthaman Lake in the ancient of Amarapura, Mandalay, U Bein bridge is considered to be the longest teakwood bridge in the world. Additionally, it was erected since the mid-1800s, which also made it the oldest teakwood bridge that still exists.
Amarapura is one of the former capital of Myanmar for 74 years from 1783 to 1857. It now remains to be an ancient city in Mandalay region. After that, King Midon decided to relocate the capital and move it to Mandalay. Interestingly, the materials used to build up the bridge were achieved from the Inwa Palace during the transition time. The bridge was built from 1000 pillars and thousands of pallets. All materials were completely wood.
Another interesting fact about the bridge is its name. It was named after the mayor of Amarapura, U Bein back to that day. When the King Midon moved the capital, U Bein was the person who came up with the idea of making use of the unused wooden sticks of the palace to erect the bridge. At the time, the engineers did not have such modern method to measure but did that by counting their footsteps.
The special bond between the U Bein bridge and the community
When the mayor U Bein constructed the bridge, he wanted this bridge would help his villagers reduce the time commuting between the 2 banks of the river. Since that time, U Bein Bridge has been a best friend with the locals of Amarapura. For around 150 years, it has help children go to school; villagers reach the markets; and fishermen in catching fishes. Undeniable, the bridge plays an integral part and makes their life much easier.
Time after time, as the U Bein Bridge started to gain popularity among travelers all over the world. It also helps a hand in raising the income of local people because it made the villagers get involved in doing tourism. A large number of local people in Amarapura have earned their living by serving the travelers visiting the bridge every day. They are able to sell souvenirs, food and drinks and fishermen do the short boat trips to take travelers to visit the lake.
U Bein bridge sunset – One of the most beautiful in the world
Nowadays, a huge number of travelers come to witness the longest and oldest teakwood in Mandalay. There is no wonder why the bridge has been loved; it looks beautiful from all angles and in its own rustic and elegant way. U Bein bridge looks the most impressive in the sunset. In order to admire the bridge at sunset, you can sit down on the grassland below the bridge; order drinks from local vendors; and wait for the sun coming down slowly. In another way, for photography lovers, you can ask a fisherman to take you on their boat during the sunset to capture the best moments of U Bein bridge during sunset. It will be more appealing.
Surprisingly, sunset on U Bein bridge looks differently by each person and from day to day. Some can catch the fierce color of orange and some can catch the vivid color of red or purple. U Bein bridge at sunset becomes the symbol of not only Mandalay but of Myanmar by this reason.
Best time to visit U Bein Bridge
During the dry season, the water level on Taungthaman Lake is low, making the U Bein bridge looks as tall as a thin man. Once the rainy season comes, water level raises up to the planks of the bridge. It is a good idea to avoid the rainy season in Mandalay to visit U Bein bridge because you will be likely to catch a rain in the day.
As the above part has stated, the best time in the day to visit U Bein bridge is at sunset time, when the bridge looks the most striking. However, taking a stroll on U Bein bridge in the early morning is also another brilliant way to enjoy the fullest beauty of it. Coming here at sunrise, you can have the opportunity to watch the town slowly wake up; and local people busily going to work and commuting through the bridge. You will definitely be able to capture plenty of simple and unique moments of the daily life at this time of the day.
Today, even though some of the pillars have been replaced by concrete ones due to the erosion by water, the U Bein bridge still remains its original shape and attracts more and more travelers. Hopefully, you will not miss this attraction in your Myanmar travel; and bring home various impressive photos of U Bein bridge to make your traveling album much more diversified.
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Minh Vu – Travel Specialist