At the beginning: the adventure to book a ticket
We have booked a train from Yangon, formerly called Rangoon, to Mandalay via 12go.asia. The express train covers the distance of around 800 km in a good 18 hours. To book a “luxury sleeper compartment” online we pay about $45 for 2 people via paypal. Great, we think, how easy it is. However, the snag is that we do not receive e-tickets, but a pdf file via email after a few days. We have to print this out and take it to the 12go.asia agency in Yangon to collect the actual ticket in paper form. The agency is well hidden on the 5th floor of a building that looks like anything but a travel agency. We have to ask a few people before we find it. Despite online and offline maps, which actually all do their job well…
But hey, it’s one great occasion more to find out, what’s Yangon made of!
A night on the train
The journey itself is pure adventure. We never thought that a train car could be so worn out, dirty and full of dark corners that you never want to see in the light. The window doesn’t close, which is ok because of the heat. We just don’t know what could come in at night. The train rattles along tracks that have probably not been serviced for more than 70 years with a remarkable noise. Every now and then the wagon sways so violently that we wonder how it can stay on the rails. I have to think of Jules Verne’s description of a train journey through India and I’m actually just waiting for tigers and elephants running alongside the train. Of course we don’t sleep much. But actually I don’t want to miss a minute of this trip.