Train travel in Myanmar is generally not recommended for regular travelers. However it is not that bad for short train ride up to 3-4 hours, even it is very fun and brings you real view of local people. We recommend the train route Mandalay and PyinOoLwin for any train travel fans because its stunning scenery along the way and the fantastic experience of real Burmese lives.
You will need flying to Mandalay to take this adventure. We suggest this because this train takes you to the most breathtaking bridge of Myanmar – Gokteik viaduct, a railway trestle in Nawnghkio, western Shane State. As one of the most wonderful construction and the highest bridge for trains of Myanmar, Gokteik is located at the central region of this nation, from about 100 km northwest of Mandalay city, between the two towns of PyinOoLwin – the summer resort of prior British, and Lashio, the principle town of northern Shan State. Being completed at 1900, it had been the widest and highest bridge for train. Travelers can go through this extraordinary viaduct by departing from Mandalay or PyinOoLwin toward northern Nawnghkio.
When passing this over-100-year-old bridge, trains will move at the same speed of walkers to avoid strong concussions which can destroy the bridge and to guarantee safety. It takes 25 minutes for the train to go through Gokteik. The majestic viaduct along with spectacular forest scenery will create impressive photos for travelers. When the train just leaves the bridge, passengers should not put cameras into bags, because the train from the north may run back immediately. Meanwhile, travelers can shoot some photos of an entire train which is crossing the bridge.
The train totally takes around 4 hours. You should stay in PyinOoLwin one night for a cool retreat. The next day you can go further north for a Myanmar trekking tour to discover mountain tribes or drive back to Mandalay city. This train ride recommended for all types or travelers with any physical levels.