Train ride in Myanmar, Yangon to Bago

Initially, travel out of Yangon seemed a bit difficult – which for me, means I don’t feel like I can organise it all on my own, and am going to have to rely on other people, here because I was feeling hemmed in by buildings and traffic. The central station, though, is 3km from my hostel, and trains leave to Bago, en route to Mandalay and Moulmein, through the day. I figured I’d get out of Yangon with a short hop, so wandered to the station for the 11.00 train.

Buying a ticket was entertaining. The station building is divided into two – the colonnades mark where. The part on the right contains the ticket desks. One in the centre has a nice, prominent ‘Welcome tourists’, which reads as an instruction to staff. It didn’t mean that was where I bought my ticket, though. Instead, I was waved over to another window on the side of this half (left as you look at it here). The bloke there didn’t seem that interested, as people came and went from the queue in front of him, but I picked up a vibe that he was doing special tickets, not for (most) locals, and that seemed to work out. He sold me my ticket, anyway. 1,000 kyats to Bago.

Yangon Railway station
Yangon Railway station, crumbling but impressive.
Two youngsters on the green seats of the train
These two joined me for a while. Possibly because their brother had sold me a bottle of water for 4x the price and they wondered what other money I might drop.
Platform with electronic display and train in the background
Balloon sculpture maker on the platform at Yangon.
Looking down the side of the train, through the open window
View from the wide open window (it’s either open or metal shutters).

The ride is famously bumpy, but the seats are soft and comfortable and I enjoyed it. I’ll try a longer one and see if I feel the same.

People sleeping on the train
Not uncomfortable on this train. The conductor (right) sleeps in upper class seats.
Wooden huts seen from the train window
Wooden huts seen from the train window.
Nuns in pink at a brief stop
Nuns in pink at a brief stop.
Mock tudor signal box, Bago, courtesy of the Brits
Mock tudor signal box, Bago, courtesy of the Brits.
Train carriage relief murals decorate the bridge at Bago
Bridge over the tracks, Bago, venerating the train.

Two hours or so later (this journey is only 40-50km!) I was in Bago just after 1, and walked to the San Francisco guesthouse. Wikitravel advises you get out of Bago as soon as possible. It is just a small city, but with the main Yangon-Mandalay highway running through it, the main road (which I seem to have to cross to go anywhere) is constantly busy and a riot of traffic and horn noises. Adding to that are regular speaker cars (better phrase for that, anyone?) which come through blaring music.

But big cities do my head in a bit, and this feels much better. I stayed an extra night.

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