Burma Train TravelMyanmar Train Tours
Travelling in Myanmar (Burma) by train
Travelling by train on Myanmar's narrow-gauge railways is like riding a horses, with coaches rolling back and forth and everyone fortunate enough to have a place to sit in the sky - sleeping is virtually impossibl. In comparison to coach journeys on the same lines, the train journey is an additional travel period to which any delay (of several hour if you are unlucky) may be added.
But the train journey is now cheaper, because the price for a foreigner is the same as for a local. Launched by the British in 1877 with the opening of the 163 mile line between Yangon and Pyay, Myanmar's railway system now has over 3357 mi of tracks and 858 outposts. Japan's capital expenditure and train know-how will help to modernise the Yangon-Mandalay and Circle Line in Yangon, although it is not clear when this will be.
This 386 mile journey from Yangon to Mandalay via Bago, Nay Pyi Taw and Thazi is the most famous train rip. The 5/6 train, which departs from Yangon and Mandalay at 3 pm, has been running with new diesel-electric engines and wagons from China since 2016. Cushioning of the train ensures a quieter (but not faster) journey.
No sleeping car is available on this line; if you want to reserve a sleeping car for this line, it is only available on train 3/4, which leaves both towns at 5 pm. A train is classed by a number and the suffix'Up' for northern or' Down' for southernbound. It is not necessary to give the train number when buying a ticket; just ask for your travel destinations and your group.
Expresscars provide two transit categories - luxury and normal category; long-distance train can also provide thresholds. There is a major distinction between the normal and top categories because the latter can be used and reserved, while the normal category has rigid, vertical seating that cannot be reserved.
Certain coaches also provide another level of performance, the 1. level, which is a bottom line from top to bottom in comforts. We have two kinds of sleepers: a seperate section with four beds, a bathroom and an entry gate, but no train board. So if you would rather move around on the train and want to get together with other people, an extra luxury seating is better.
Bed linen and covers are provided in both sleeping car models. Long haul carriages have diners open to first, top and bottom category people. Participants can also take their order with them and take their meals to their seats or walk through the windows. There are also frequent train stops, with all kinds of snack on the platform.
These fast passenger services are far better than the general operation of Myanmar rail services. There are other moves that are delayed, almost the norm. It is not unknown that the stretch Mandalay-Myitkyina, which should last about 24h, at the end lasts 40h. There are frequent disruptions even on the Yangon-Mandalay line, especially in the wet weather when the lines are flooded.
You can buy your ticket directly at the trainstation. At smaller train stops you may have to wait because the agent is not used to foreign climb on the ship. One or two working nights' advance notification is usually sufficient to reserve a place, but if you want a popular sleeping car, you need at least a few days' advance notification - longer in the high seasons (November to March).
When you stop a train passenger on a train that pulls a sleeping coach, you can try to convert to a mooring after boarding by payment directly to the convent. When you have difficulty purchasing a train pass or making yourself heard at a train stop, try to see the train stop master (yonepain in Burmese) - the one at the train stop who is most likely to be speaking English and is most willing to help you get a place.