U’Bein bridge, Burma

post on U-Bein teak bridge, looking over Taungthaman Lake

U'Bein bridge teak post

Walking across U’Bein bridge, especially during the dry season, can be a precarious experience. We felt this quite literally when I was there with a friend in January 2005, just one month after the catastrophic tsunami that struck the Indian Ocean in December 2004. As we advanced gingerly across the high walkway we felt a sudden slight, but distinct, tremor in the air and beneath our feet. Malgosia and I looked at each other and made a run for the end of the bridge where our taxi driver awaited us, calmly sipping tea and assuring us there was no risk involved and that these tremors were fairly common occurrences. We didn’t wait to see just how common..

U’Bein Bridge, a few kilometres south of Mandalay, is one of the sites tourists simply MUST visit while visiting the area of the old Royal Capitals, not much of which remains. This bridge is over 150 years old, built of teak poles and purportedly the world’s longest teak span at 1.2 km long. It’s nicest to try and visit at sunset when the light gives it a very special hue.

The little village across the bridge, which Mirek and I reached on this recent visit in August 2011, is also littered with atmospheric pagodas, a small school and some of the most flavourful fried local fish we tasted in Burma. Highly recommended if you don’t have a too delicate stomach.

tree in wet season

tree in wet season

U'Bein bridge

U'Bein bridge

Notice the difference between the photo taken in 2011 (wet season), above, and that of the same tree taken in 2005 (dry season) and the height of the water, which has engulfed most of the tree and surroundings in the wet season.

U Bein teak bridge

U Bein bridge in dry season

U'Bein bridge

dry season

U'Bein bridge

wet season

U'Bein bridge

wet season

village across lake

village across lake

nursery school

nursery school in Taungthaman

little kids waving at us as we walk past

local crab

local crab

and last, but not least, local delicacies

fried fish

fried fish

quite possibly caught by this lady…

fishing off U-Bein bridge

fishing off U-Bein bridge

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