Situated 11 kilometres south of Mandalay, the unique U Bein Bridge is a beautiful 1.2 kilometre-long structure built from teak planks and said to be the longest of its type in the world. In 1857, when the capital moved from nearby Amarapura to Mandalay, the local mayor (named U Bein) salvaged wood from pieces of the dismantled teak palace and reconstructed it into this magnificent bridge.
The bridge’s attraction is not simply in its elegance, but that it remains a central part of the community, with hundreds of locals and saffron-robed monks walking their bicycles home along it, and fishermen going about their daily work in its shadow (although there are increasing numbers of tourists, too). Views of the bridge are most impressive at sunset, and the best photo opportunities are afforded by hiring a boat to get a close up view of the bridge from the water.
Amarapura, the suburban area to the west of U Bein Bridge, was once Myanmar’s capital city and was built by King Bodawpaya in 1783. Today, you can find ruins of the city gate, the palace, and tombs of old kings - there are also numerous stupas and monasteries to be found in the area.
For a wider selection of photos from U Bein bridge and Amarapura, go to our Flickr photo album.
There are a number of festivals that take place in Amarapura through August and September; for exact dates and full Myanmar festival listings, go to our festivals calendar. The US$10 Mandalay ticket is required to enter Amarapura, but in reality is rarely checked.
We offer a variety of tours of Myanmar that include Amarapura and U Bein Bridge - find out more here.