U Bein Bridge, Myanmar
Rickety, ramshackle and with no handrails to hold, Myanmar’s famed U Bein Bridge requires great nerve to cross. Spanning more than one kilometre over Taungthaman Lake, not far from Amarapura, this ranks amongst the country’s foremost tourist sites. As a result, it is busy, always thronging with sightseers and souvenir sellers alike.
It is this immense foot traffic that presents the greatest danger, with the ancient bridge coming under increasing strain from those keen to cross.
U Bein was built in 1850 using teak salvaged from a former royal palace and, although great efforts are being taken in an attempt to preserve the structure, there can be no question that the 1,000 pillars that support the bridge are decaying badly. The longest teak bridge on Earth is also the oldest — and it shows. Take a trip, but don’t linger too long and never get too close to the edge.