My First Burmese Train Ride

On the train ride from Pyin U Lwin to Hsipaw, the train passes over what was at one time the second highest rail bridge in the world: the Gokteik Viaduct. Now, that may sound neat, but one must also wonder how safe it could be. Let’s take a look at the train we were on:

This is the train rounding a corner. It’s old. It makes loud noises. The seats are mostly broken. The bushes in many places scrape along the side because they haven’t been trimmed adequately.

This is a typical section of track:

A front view:

And this is the bridge to cross…

Well, apparently the train has never fallen off the bridge. It does go ridiculously slowly, so that may be the reason. The conductor encouraged us to lean right out the door, which was definitely not safe.

Another above-ground rail line, above the jungle canopy, but far below us as we crossed the much higher bridge:

This Burmese Army major didn’t seem to be particularly concerned.

After a successful and interesting crossing, we continued through many more fields like this one before arriving in Hsipaw in the afternoon.

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