Rated as one of the best train journies in the world. We boarded the 100 year old train at Pwin oo lwin station early in the morning, paying 2750 kyat each for one way to take us to Hsipaw.
This is for the upper class seats, which to be honest paying a little extra few cents its totally worth it unless a bumpy ride on a wooden seat for 8 hours is your thing.
I had read a view blogs and reviews on this journey, that is described as an artifact from a museum, this couldnt of been more accurate. Literally it had not been updated since it first was lauched in the early 1900s. Cobwebs, rusty foot rests, and fans which looked like they hadn’t been used in decades.
Setting off the train pulled us along very slowly, completely open windows so you admire the true beauty of the scenary whilst getting some lovely shots without the relfection of yourself.
I found the experience really amazing, getting over the noise of the train screaching on the tracks. My enthusiasm for the beauty of the Shan-state countryside was easy. Passing small towns, rice fields, farmers ploughing there land and the lush green countryside was incredible.
We stopped several times, around 30 minutes at a time, giving us a chance to stretch our legs, and enjoy some snacks and local food beside the railway.
The toilet situation was literally a pipe straight down, reminded me of the trains back in Italy. My advise holding your breathe is recommend as it does have a strong, unpleasant smell.
The best part was crossing the Gok Teik Viaduct, which was the largest of its time. For the best views I would recommend getting a seat on the left side as the train turns slightly whilst on the viaduct giving you a awesome shot.
The estimated time arriving into Hsipaw can completely vary. We arrived around 1 hour later than expected and the day after we witnessed it arriving over 2 hours later. So its not reliable with the time. But it still worth the experience.
Hsipaw is definately one of my favourite places in Myanmar. The scenary is just so beautiful and its so worthwhile doing a half day trek through shan villages and up into the moutains. Compared to other bigger towns or cities in this country, Hsipaw was a good size with all the local conviences.
A visit to Mrs Popcorn Cafe was lovely. A nice quiet place to eat, which is a bit away from the main road. A great selection of tradional local dishes to several worldwide dishes which she has learned from tourist.