U Bein Bridge is located in Amarapura, Mandalay and runs in gentle curves 1.2K across the middle of Taungthaman Lake.
Reputed to be named after U Bein, the mayor of Amarapura, it was built around 1850 and is the longest teak bridge in the world. The 1,000 pillars that support the bridge were salvaged from the old royal palace buildings down at Inwa (Ava).
Originally built as a local traffic bridge to connect the villages on opposite sides of the lake it is now a major attraction for tourists to view spectacular sunrises and sunsets, thou you will still find many locals going across on their way to or from work.
At the Western end of the bridge many restaurants have been set up for tourists to enjoy a meal and watch the sunset. You will also find many souvenir sellers around the ends of the bridge.
Sunsets can bring hordes of tourists especially if it’s a fine day.
Tip 1 – at the Western end of the bridge there are many inexpensive small boats clustered waiting to take tourists out on to the lake to get a better experience of the bridge at sunset. Grab a few drinks, hire a boat, have a paddle around and wait for the sun to set. Definitely the place to be for top photos.
Tip 2 – U Bein Bridge is built across the shallowest part of Taungthaman Lake. After the rainy season (June-Oct) the lake is full so you can take advantage of the many boats to get good views. If you visit the bridge in the hot season (March-May) the lake level will have dropped and you will see lots of small vegetable plots under the western end of the bridge and not much water for the boats.
Google map reference to help you find U Bein Bridge in Amarapura – Google Maps
If you are doing a day trip to Sagaing and/or Inwa (Ava) then make sure you include the U Bein Bridge in your trip, either for sunrise or sunset.