U Bein Bridge is a crossing that spans the Taungthaman Lake near Amarapura in Myanmar. The 1.2 kilometres bridge was built around 1850 and is believed to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world.It is used as an important passageway for the local people and has also become a tourist attraction and therefore a significant source of income for souvenir sellers.It is particularly busy during July and August when the lake is at its highest.
The bridge was built from wood reclaimed from the former royal palace in Inwa. It features 1086 pillars that stretch out of the water, some of which having been replaced with concrete. Though the bridge largely remains intact there are fears that an increasing number of the pillars are becoming dangerously decayed. Some have become entirely detached from their bases and only remain in place because of the lateral bars holding them together. Damage to these supports have been caused by flooding as well as a fish breeding program introduced into the lake which has caused the water to become stagnant. The Ministry of Culture’s Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library plans to carry out repairs when plans for the work are finalised.