Was going to be a slow day today, what with the train starting at 2 pm and we having nothing to do in town either. I got up late at 8 am and walked up for b’fast. He spread was decent as it was the last time around, with toast, egg, coffee and some fruits.

We hung around till noon and headed out to the market, Chris was looking for some sandals. The market here in Mandalay was huge. Multiple floors of small shops selling all sorts of things imaginable. Narrow corridors and big crowds. It took a while for us to look for slippers in large enough size, but he me eyed to find flip flops. A quick lunch later, we headed into the train station at 1:30 to pick up our tickets. It seems like buying the ticket at the tourist information cost us 3$ more than he regular fare. Dang,

We wheeled out bikes to the luggage car and the fellers there told us the luggage car was full and we couldn’t take our bikes. Dang this starts all over again, and I thought trains were painless to ferry bikes. I was asked to go and meet some officer in charge of cargo and spent about 30 mins waiting while they sorted things out on how to take our bikes. The first suggestion was for us to take the next train. I wasn’t going to switch trains and told them so.

Anyway, after 3 or 4 people walked in and out trying to sort us out, hey decided I could carry bikes and charges me 3350 kyat for luggage and asked us to wheel the bikes to our car. We loaded the bikes into the narrow vestibule between the compartments and I had to take my wheels off to make space for people to walk around it.

The train seats had more legroom the the buses and the ride was bumpy, may be bumpier than the previous one. The trains do remind me of the ones I used to take back in India, I guess the British legacy is living well in these parts eh. We got some samosas on the train and a local next to me insisted on paying for them. Pretty nice of him really. We also met a German traveller, Bernd, and he was pleasant company chatting along the way.

We were next to an ordinary car (which is the term for unreserved car) and people squeezed in there, in every inch of space available. There were food vendors walking along selling stuff all night long too. It still surprises me on how they can balance stuff while the train is going on a hyper bumpy ride.

When I woke up at 6 am, the scene reminded me of being on a train in Punjab in winter. It was misty outside with plains tinted yellow, rice ready for harvest. It was pretty chilly too, guess we are pretty high up, though altitude wise, we were low. Looks like it would be good to ride in these parts. We don’t have much in terms of maps for these parts and it’s going to be an interesting few days of riding I reckon.

Route: – (Mandalay to Myitkina by train)
Distance: 0 km
Ascent: 0 ft
Descent: 0 ft
Time in saddle: 0:00 hrs
Expenses: Sg$ 4.93
Comments: Ordinary class on trains is an unserved compartment. People just pack in as much as the space allows. Much like India.

Track Notes