Trains

Railroads in Myanmar is operated by the government, so if you travel by train you’ll support the government financial – but that might not be so big a problem after November 8th 2015.

The train from Mandalay to Hsipaw

The train from Mandalay to Hsipaw

The railroads are basically the same as the ones the British laid out before they left in 1948, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the same carts that are rolling along the tracks. Locomotives To be honest the condition of Myanmar railroads are miserable.

The tracks are made up of light weight rails and when you look down the rail you’ll see that it is laid out wobbly and not straight.

If your train experience is limited to modern western high-speed intercity trains, your in for a surprise. Like in Europe you can buy tickets for 2 classes, they are called second and first upper class. The price difference between the two classes are not considerable, but there is a price difference based on you nationality Burmese low, foreigner ‘high’.

Passing the bridge at Goteik gorge. The dors were not closed and there is 100 meters down

Passing the bridge at Goteik gorge. The dors were not closed and there is 100 meters down

Second class is equipped with wooden benches on both sides of the middle aisle. Each bench provides seating for 2 or 3 passengers.

 

First upper class is equipped with individual chairs that reclines, the chairs at set 2 on each side of the aisle and sometimes in a group of 4 facing each other.

I will definitively recommend that use spend the few extra Kyats and get the first upper class ticket.

The trains do not provide air-condition, but windows will be open to allow fresh air flowing in. The incoming air will not be harsh, almost just a light wind as the train don’t run at 3 digit speeds but will be limited to run below 50 km/hour.

A blind passanger in the train

A blind passanger in the train

The train passes the Goteik bridge

The train passes the Goteik bridge

As you can se trains don’t run at excessive speeds which explains why the bus journey on most routes are much faster than the train.

But I think you owe yourself to take the train at least once.

[See travel description for journey Pyo Lwin→Hsi paw]

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