Heading to U Bein Bridge to watch the sunrise is a must-do, even if you only have one or two days in Mandalay – the cultural heart of Myanmar.
The U Bein Bridge is an iconic landmark in Mandalay. It is the world’s longest teakwood bridge at an impressive 1.2 kilometers long, making it not only the longest teakwood bridge in the world but also the oldest (built in 1849)!
U Bein Bridge spans the tranquil Lake Taungthaman and is one of Myanmar’s most recognised sites, along with Bagan and Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. It’s definitely a place to add to your Asia bucket list!
The bridge was crafted using reclaimed teak columns from the former royal palace in Inwa, and is deeply ingrained in local culture. It serves as a vital link for the communities on either side of Taungthaman Lake, and so you’ll often see lots of locals here when you visit.
How to Get To U-Bein Bridge
Reaching U-Bein Bridge is relatively easy. If you’re in Mandalay, a short taxi ride or tuk-tuk ride will take you to Amarapura, a suburb 15km from Mandalay, where the bridge is located. Here is the location on Google maps.
Best Time to Visit U Bein Bridge
Most people go to U Bein bridge to watch the sunset, but it gets so crowded here at sunset (literally hundreds of people – a mix of locals and tourists) so go for sunrise as there will be way less people – literally just a dozen or so local fishermen and a handful of people – super magical!
The sunrise here was honestly one of the most incredible I have seen in my life – the water was so still, making the reflection of the colours in the water so intense: unlike anything I had ever seen before.
It was just so beautiful and peaceful, and hearing the chanting from the monks in the nearby temples whilst the sun was rising made it even more special.
You can watch the sunrise either on the bridge or on the lake front. I walked along the bridge for 5-10 minutes and then went down on to the lake front to get nice pictures of the bridge and the sunrise.
A word of warning though: the edge of the lake was pretty muddy so I would definitely advise to wear trainers here!
Going to U Bein bridge at sunrise not only means that you’ll escape the crowds, but you’ll be able to watch the local fishermen at work. I found it so interesting watching them walking out into the lake with their great big fishing nets.
They stay in the water for an hour or so to get their catch, and it is a great opportunity to get some authentic and candid photos, unlike at Inle Lake where I had heard these days the fishermen are just there to pose for staged photos.
There are also a few local cafes a little bit back from the riverfront if you want to sit and relax and enjoy the sunrise whilst drinking some tea and eating some tofu for breakfast (a Myanmar favourite!).
The U-Bein Bridge is accessible year-round, and there is no official entry fee to cross the bridge.
Catrina is a Travel Writer, SEO Specialist and ex-Flight Attendant based in Sydney, Australia. She has visited 85 countries and lived in several – including Italy, Australia, United Arab Emirates and England. Her work has been featured in a variety of popular travel publications including Fodors, Escape, Australian Traveller and Bear Grylls, as well as several international aviation and travel companies. The majority of her work however features on her own website – 24hourslayover.com where she has written over 500 travel articles!