Backpacking across Burma, the U Bein Bridge in Amarapura

3:27 PM


I fell in love with the U Bein Bridge, the minute I stepped on it.
I was captivated by it's very basic structure - wooden stilts and slats over dark waters, highlighted by blinding sunlight. Compounded with the traditionally dressed locals claiming their own corners along this 1.2 km wooden footbridge, I never stood a chance.

Made out of salvaged teak columns from the old palace during the move to Mandalay, it claims to be the longest teak bridge in the world. 

It is also a much beloved and used bridge. The menfolk try to catch tomorrow's meal while sitting on its planks, school kids cross it to get to their classes, and young lovers watch the sunset in between its columns. 

Notice that the bridge don't have rails. 
"This is it?!"  He probably can't believe how small it is! 
A thanaka-smeared teenager trying to look tough. 
I might have tripped on these and fell flat on my face. 
There are benches on the bridge where you can sit and watch the entire village pass by.
The Burmese have such gorgeous rowing boats. 
One of the very few stairs that lead to the water.  
This old wooden bridge is sturdy enough for a bike to be pushed across it.
People sell a number of things - food, jewelry, and toys on the bridge.
Seeing trees shooting up from the water seems so surreal.
The bridge bends toward the village.
Here's a rather hazardous patch-up work. 
Flying his kite with that much string.
Longyis. Legs. Lumber.
There are parts of the bridge that is actually made of cement and steel.
Here's a Burmese school boy walking home from his class. 
The fisherman's rod and bait.
Here's the bait - perfectly rolled and fish-ly appealing. 
Today's fresh catch!
Here comes the tourists!
A temple seems to float on the horizon. 
Done fishing for the day.
The sun sets in Amarapura. 
Off to the main road they go.
Monks are also constants on this bridge. 
"What's in the water?"         

But nowadays, it seems that tourists outnumber the locals on the bridge. Local kids discard thetraditional longyi for jeans and t-shirt. It would be a sad sad day when this bridge's distinct rural charm is lost forever.


*Next post:  my last day in Yangon on the city's circle line.  





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