U Bain Bridge, Mandalay

Riding a boat in Taungthaman
Riding a boat in Taungthaman

If you ever traveled to Mandalay, the second capital of Myanmar, one place you must visit is U Bain bridge (U Pain Bridge). It is possibly one of the longest wooden bridges in the world, connecting the two banks of Taungthaman Lake, in Amarapura (City of Eternity), which used to be the capital of Konbaung Dynasty. The bridge was built by U Bain (U Pain), who was the lord of the villages on the other side of Taungthaman Lake. Historical accounts said the main reason U Bain built the bridge was that he wanted quick access for his villagers to the Capital Amarapura so that he could stage a coup! Nobody knows if this is true, but he was later prosecuted with the same charges and was sentenced to death. Although he died, his name lives on as the builder of the longest wooden bridge in Myanmar, and the name of the bridge officially becomes U Bain Bridge (U Pain Bridge). The bridge still serves as the most important communication link for the people of his villages.

Situated just close to Mandalay, it offers a small oasis for the residents of Mandalay, which is actually a hot and dusty city. It is only a few kilometers away from Mandalay and there are also regular buses running between Mandalay and U Bain Bridge (U Pain Bridge). However, the most convenient way to travel to U Bain Bridge (U Pain Bridge) is by a taxi. You should hire a taxi for a return trip, as most taxi drivers would be reluctant to go there without a return trip, and you might not be able to hire a taxi back from there.

The best time to travel to U Bain Bridge (U Pain Bridge) is in the afternoon. The view of sunset from and around the bridge is perhaps the most beautiful scene around Mandalay. The weather is also cooler and more comfortable, with cool light breeze blowing over the serene lake. You can sit on the river bank of Taungthaman Lake, sipping beer with fried shrimps and fishes freshly caught from the lake. Then, take a boat ride along Taungthaman Lake. Walk along the bridge until the end, and meet the local villagers coming back from work to their villages on the other side of the Lake. You will realize this is the best place in Mandalay.

This article is also posted in U Bain Bridge, Myanmar Man’s Diary.

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