The longest teak footbridge across Taungthaman Lake in Myanmar names the U Bein Bridge. This 1200m bridge just looks like another wooden one but it has its own unique beauty. For a long time, the wooden bridge gently curving through the serene lake has created one of the best places to watch the sunset on a day trip from Mandalay.
History of the U Bein Bridge
The story began in 1859 when King Mindon decided to move his capital from Amarapura to Mandalay. As wanted to reuse as much material from Amarapura as possible for the construction of Mandalay.
During the relocation of the new capital the local mayor of Amarapura was able to salvage some of the teak wood from Inwa Palace. With over 1000 pillars, U Bein began constructing the bridge across Taungthaman Lake. This reduced the time people took to move between two banks of the lake. Then the name U Bein was set as the name of the bridge.
The Construction of U Bein Bridge
The structure of the bridge seems to be flat type but actually slight curve. The U Bein Bridge is supported by over a thousand teak pillars. However, time after time, some pillars have been worn by the water and need concrete supports. The surface planks are from the old royal palace of Inwa, a former Myanmar capital; therefore, this U Bein has a great historical story.
What to do at U Bein Bridge
The U Bein Bridge is not only one of the best tourist attractions in Myanmar for tourists to discover but still the main daily road for locals. It has different beauty in each time in a day, each season, with or without people. In the dry season, the water is low and the bridge appears like a man in tall and thin shape watching people working. After the summer rain, the U Bein is embraced by water up to the floor planks.
It is said that the best time to see the U Bein is the sunset time so it becomes the most hunted photographed site for tourists. However, the morning U Bein also attract people a lot.
How to Get to U Bein Bridge
From Mandalay, you can easily get to U Bein Bridge by car, motorcycle taxi or pick up the bus. It takes about 45 minutes to travel from downtown Mandalay to the bridge
If you travel by taxi, it costs around 10000 Ks for a return taxi (8 USD/person).
Traveling by motorcycle taxi, it costs around 6000 Ks for a return trip, and it is really worth trying as you will have a chance to marvel at the scenic scenery along the way.
If you want to travel by pick up bus, there are guest houses at 83rd or 25th street where you can catch the bus. However, the final bus leaves Mandalay at 6 pm, so if you want to catch the sunset on U Bein Bridge, you need to take a taxi to go back to Mandalay.