We made it. As I’m writing this, I’ve showered already and am lying on my bed, wrapped in crisp, clean sheets, in our hotel in Mandalay.
It’s been seventeen hours since we left our hotel in Yangon.
I knew that the train ride was going to be long and uncomfortable. But I had no idea how exhausting it was going to be.
We bought our tickets from the Mandalay Railways Office near the train station in Yangon. Go there, don’t let anyone else buy the tickets for you because you’ll only end up paying more than you should. Remember to take your passport because you won’t get a ticket without it. And definitely buy upper class! You don’t want to sit on a wooden bench for sixteen hours. Upper class is uncomfortable enough already.
The train left Yangon at six in the morning. Make sure you’re on time. We definitely were.
Don’t take luggage so heavy you can’t lift and store it above your head. It’s the only storage area. On the bright side, there was lots of leg room.
The train left on time, maybe even a couple of minutes earlier. We left Yangon at a speed that I could have comfortably walked at, alternately shaking from left to right or bouncing up and down. At a particularly rough spot, my friend’s footrest started bouncing up and down, squeaking loudly as it did so. We looked at each other and burst into laughter.
With the first stop came the vendors. We had a package of biscuits and two sacks of chips with us which wouldn’t have nearly been enough and I had been hoping for a chance to buy food on the road.
It was incredibly easy. These people jump on the train as soon as it slows down and will then walk up and down the aisle, offering drinks and food.
My advise: Whenever you see something you like, buy it immediately. Or you’ll end up spending an hour or two waiting for another watermelon vendor to come by.
We saw the sun rise and set again. The first six hours passed quickly enough. After that, my whole body started to hurt. During the last two hours, I didn’t know how to sit anymore.
But it was great fun. Even if it took 16 and a half hours. I can definitely recommend it to anyone going from Yangon to Mandalay.