With a quick touchdown in Mandalay as the starting point of our week-long Myanmar trip, we only had one evening, one opportunity, to watch the sunset in the city. The two popular options for watching the sunset in Mandalay are either are at Sutaungpyei Pagoda at the summit of Mandalay Hill, or, at the UBein Teak bridge, which is a 40-minute drive from Mandalay.
I figured we would see LOTS more pagodas in Bagan (our next stop), but there’s only one “world’s longest teak footbridge”, so we hired a taxi to take us there and back. It was $12USD for two people, round trip, and the taxi driver waited for us while we had our sunset experience.
The Ubein Bridge area was very touristy, but because there was so much space around Taungthaman Lake, the area didn’t seem jam packed. The area is open enough that you can easily spread out and take photos of the bridge. The only area where it got crowed was on the bridge itself.
Like most of the other tourists, we were dropped off on the West side of the bridge. Our plan was to rent a private boat driver to take us out on the water for the best sunset experience. Unfortunately, we were too late! January is high season for tourism in Myanmar, and the boats were all already accounted for. (We do eventually end up on the boat though – read on!)
Boats for Hire at Ubein Bridge
So we walked up onto the bridge instead and made our way across. There’s hardly any railing so watch your step! It’s amazing that Ubein Bridge is still in tact after over 160 years. If you go all the way across you’ll reach Kyauktawgyi Pagoda (we saw several monks on the bridge). However, we stopped about halfway over the bridge, and climbed the stairs down on the other side of Taungthaman Lake. On the other side of the lake, there’s a grassy area where you can buy a beer or coconut water then sit on plastic chairs waiting for the sun to set.
I was hanging out around the edge of the water trying to get a photograph of the orange sunset when I saw a boat drop off a few tourists on the bank. Seizing the opportunity, I caught the driver’s eye, and he asked me if I wanted a ride back to the other side. YES, absolutely!
It was only 5,000 kyat (approximately $5 CAD), which is way less than what the regular boat rental would have cost (approximately 12,000 kyat or $12 CAD, I read). The timing couldn’t have been better, it was so peaceful on the water. The sun had just set and the contrast of the bridge against the orange and purple sky, and the reflection of the bridge on the lake, was absolutely gorgeous.
Here are some photos of the sunset at Ubein Bridge:
Now that I’m done my week in Myanmar, I can officially say that this was my favourite sunset of the trip!