Amarapura / U Bein Bridge
Amarapura is only about 20 minutes outside of Mandalay and is the former capitol of the Ava Kingdom. It is home to the now famous U Bein Bridge, which is the longest and oldest teak structure in the world. Built in 1850, it’s 1086 pillars stretch 1.2 km across Taungthaman Lake.
Sunsets at the bridge have become a must see for anyone visiting Mandalay, and are best enjoyed from the water in a small rowboat. Both boat and boatman are available very cheaply, this is not Venice! Tourists should really leave the bridge crossing to the locals at this time, otherwise they jam up and ruin the view by taking photos from the worst sunset vantage point! Sunsets from the bridge are the same as sunsets anywhere. It’s from in front of the water in front of the bridge that something very special can be seen. Imagine the photo above left with 27 tourists in the middle!
Tip #1: Walk the bridge in the afternoon, take to the water at sunset.
Tip #2: Visit in the early morning for great photo ops and very few tourists. You can also visit Maha Gandhayon Kyaung monastery and witness hundreds of monks take their last meal of the day at 11:15 am.
Other places to visit in Amarapura:
Bagaya Kyaung – a wooden monastery founded by King Mindon
Pahtodawgyi – A stupa built in 1816 by King Bodawpaya
Ruins of Amarapura Palace, which house the tombs of King Bodawpaya and King Bagyidaw