I have recently been planning my trip next year furiously. I am a planner, although I don’t mind sorting it all out on the road on a longer journey when I’m only away for a few weeks I like to plan it out a bit so I don’t miss anything I’ll regret later. I have made a decision not to go to Angkor on this trip, to allow more time in Myanmar basically. Travel from place to place is not going to be fast, and I’ve been looking at the different options.
I’m not really one for flying where it’s not necessary, so I won’t be taking any internal flights in Myanmar, so that leaves me with taxis (too expensive), buses and trains. Buses are clearly faster than trains in Myanmar, so I’ll be on a few of them, but there are couple of train journeys that look too amazing to be missed! They both take at least twice the time of the bus alternatives, but hopefully I will be able to make the time for them.
Also, I have found some amazingly inspiring travel blogs about those journeys which I hope you’ll take the time to look at!
1/ Pyin Oo Lwin to Kyaukme
Actually this route goes all the was to Lashio, but that’s 11 plus hours, and I am thinking of doing this as an excursion from Pyin Oo Lwin and Kyaukme it’s only 5 hours, and 2 hours back by bus (or vice versa, whichever works out best). Apart from the stunning countryside, the highlight of this journey lies some 34 miles out of Pyin Oo Lwin, the Gokteik Viaduct. It was built in 1901 and at the time was the second-highest railway bridge in the world.
Honey Trek are awesome bloggers, and there’s information on the area and this railway journey in this blog entry of theirs:
This looks amazing, although I am certainly more than a little nervous just thinking about crossing a 114-year old bridge that is 318 feet and creaks like crazy! The actually in cabin experience also sound brilliant.
2/Thazi to Kalaw
The 7 hour trip one way might be on my way to or from the Inle Lake. I was researching transport options and times from cutting across Myanmar from Bagan to Inle Lake, and I discovered this wonderful post about this train journey from Alan Shanley, on his blog ‘Born Under A Wandering Star’.
He obviously loved the journey and just by reading his blog (this entry is a couple of years old, I admit) and seeing the stunning photos inspired me to take this method between Bagan and Kalaw and on to Inle Lake. The other option is to take the train back to Thazi and overnight there after leaving Inle Lake on my way to Yangon. Either way, it promises to be a brilliant and memorable train journey.
The other possible train trip in Myanmar is Mandalay to Bagan (Nyaung U). The bus is 7 hours, the train is 8 hour and I can only presume much more of an adventure! So, that’s where my planning is presently at! I can’t wait to get on board a couple of Burmese trains! Please do check out these two brilliant blogs when you have the time!
Oh, and before I go, Seat 61 have Myanmar’s railways covered HERE.