Myanmar former Burma, Mandalay, if possible, is worst then Yangon, more crowded, more polluted, more chaotic, full of noisy motorbikes and honking cars. Of course nice golden pagodas are all over like everywhere in Myanmar. Outside the city instead the countryside is really beautiful. The motorbike ride to visit surroundings of Mandalay in Amarapura, U Bein Bridge and the nearby monastery was exceptional.
Photo gallery: Amarapura and U Bein bridge, the long teak bridge
Amarapura is a former capital of Myanmar, and now a township of Mandalay bounded by the Irrawaddy river. The name means City of Immortality, and Amarapura was the capital of Myanmar for three discrete periods during the Konbaung dynasty in the 18th and 19th centuries before finally supplanted by Mandalay 11 kilometers north.
King Bodawpaya (1781–1819) of the Konbaung Dynasty founded Amarapura in 1783, soon after he ascended the throne. In 1795, he received the first British embassy to Burma from the British East India Company.
Today little remains of the old city as the palace buildings were dismantled and moved by elephant to the new location, and the city walls were pulled down using them as building materials for roads and railways.
But there is not just Amarapura there but also many other interesting things like U Bein Bridge, a teakwood bridge 1.2 kilometers long, a footbridge, the longest teak bridge in the world built by the mayor U Bein salvaging the unwanted teak columns of the old palace during the move of the capital to Mandalay.
U Bein bridge is connecting two villages on the Irrawaddy river (actually in that area became a lake) and is really alive in the evening and in the morning when hundreds of people pass through in both directions.