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Ubein Sunset
By Ewen Bell
1 December 2016

Ubein Sunset / Mandalay
Ewen Bell

Stepping into the cultural charms of Myanmar is made even easier now that direct flights between Mandalay and Bangkok are running each day. It's a quiet airport that takes very little time to get from aircraft to the highway. Mandalay itself is an historical destination filled with unique temples and all the smiles you expect from the Burmese people. 

At sunset every day the place to be in Ubein Bridge, a spectacular location where a kilometre long walking bridge spans the lake. In the wet season this lake turns into a tributary of the Irrawaddy, but in the cooler months it sits high and dry above the floodplain and invites travellers to watch the last light. 

A clear horizon and flat farmlands to the west make it a rare certainty for sunset in Myanmar. Monks use the bridge to cross from temples to nearby villages, a favourite of photographers who visit the region. The best views at sunset are not on the bridge, but in small boats in the water, watching the people on the bridge. Hazy horizons often create a warm glow in the sky as dusk approaches.

School girls seek out travellers on dusk just as travellers seek out the sun. They clasp cheap jewellery and look to make a few dollars each day for their families. The hard sell is very soft however, they don't like to be a nuisance and it's easy to mistake indifference for perseverance. 

The boatmen are the ones who do the best trading however. Only a few dozen boats are allowed to work the waters, so the price per paddle is hard to negotiate. Turn up too late and there simply wont be a boat for you at all. If that does happen, then at least the view of sunset from Ubein Bridge is totally free. 

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Keywords: free, light, seek, Warm, Mandalay

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