Myanmar’s Deadly Railway


The Goteik Viaduct is a highest railway bridge in Myanmar and you can take a heart-racing ride across it as part of the six & a half hour train journey from the former colonial summer hideaway of Pyin Oo Lwin to the trekking haven of Hsipaw.

The bridge was constructed in 1899 by the Pennsylvania and Maryland Bridge Construction Company, and opened in 1900. The components were made by the Pennsylvania Steel Company and were shipped from the United States. It is the highest bridge in Myanmar and when it was completed, the largest railway trestle in the world, with the length of almost 700m. The impressive height from the bridge to the bottom of the valley is nearly 300 meters that thrills anyone looking down.

The train ticket costs all of 5000 kyats which equal to US$3, for an upper class seat from Hsipaw to Pyin Oo Lwin or US$4 if ends in Mandalay.

There are only two trains (one in each direction) that pass through the bridge each day, leaving Mandalay at 4am and arriving in Pyin Oo Lwin at 7.50am, and from Pyin Oo Lwin at 08:20, reaching Hsipaw at 14:40.
Many enjoy to take the early morning train ride from Mandalay, when it’s still dark but traders with torches and fires flock to the train when it calls at wayside stations.  At dawn, the train reaches the foot of the mountains and starts climbing.

This is a daily routine for the Burmese,  but for travelers, it is such a sense of local’s life.


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