Amarapura was twice the capital of Burma, between 1783 and 1821, and again from 1842 and 1859. The town lies within the township of Mandalay and is known as Taungmyo (southern city) in relation to Mandalay.
The main feature of this charming little town is the abundance of workshops. From practically every house you can hear the clacking of the looms as they produce the most exquisite longyis (traditional sarong-style lower garment) of cotton or silk. There are many bronze foundries and woodcarvers providing devotional objects such as Buddha images and gongs for the lucrative market in nearby Mandalay.
All that now remains of the former royal palace are the atmospheric stone ruins, as the teak buildings were dismantled and taken away to Mandalay. Other buildings of note in Amarapura include Bagaya Kyaung, a teak monastery set in the midst of a banana plantation, and a Chinese Temple.
Nearby is the iconic U Bein Bridge, which spans Lake Taungthaman and at 1.2 kilometres, is the longest and oldest teak bridge in the world. It is named after the general who built it and is constructed of timber reclaimed from the royal palace in Inwa. You can take a rowing boat trip here and admire the bridge as it is silhouetted by the setting sun.
If you have time it’s worth crossing the bridge to Taungthaman village to visit Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, which was built by King Bagan in 1847 and is thought to have been modelled on the Ananda Temple in Bagan. Inside is a large figure of Buddha carved out of bright marble, surrounded by his 88 pupils.
Time: GMT + 6hrs 30mins
There are no direct flights from the UK to Yangon (Rangoon). The flight time is at least 14 hours.
Language: The official language is Myanmar (Burmese). English is widely spoken in major tourist destinations.
At least 6 months from the end of your trip, and with plenty of room for entry and exit stamps. A visa is required for British travellers and most nationalities.
Yellow fever vaccination is compulsory. Recommended vaccinations include diptheria, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies, tetanus, cholera & typhoid. Malaria prophylactics recommended for some parts of Burma.