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Tips on Train Travel in Myanmar

Travelling by train can be one of the most fascinating ways to explore Myanmar, as it allows you to experience beautiful scenic views along the way and gives chances to mix with locals. Trains can sometimes beat flights or buses in terms of comfort and price though it is fairly slow. 
 
The quality of the railway infrastructure is relatively poor. Because of the poor track and bridge condition, the speed of trains are restricted and rather slow. The maximum speed of trains is about 24 km/h (15 mph). Hereunder, we would like to list some essential preparations before the trip and some useful tips on train travel in Myanmar.
 

Essential Preparations before the Trip

 

​Visa


Myanmar requires a visa for all foreigners visiting the country. It is valid for three months from the date of issue and 28 days from the enter date to the country. The tourist visa can be applied at any embassies in Myanmar or consulate general offices abroad. 
 

Passport


A valid passport together with the entry visa is required for all tourists entering Myanmar. The international inbound and outbound points are Yangon International Airport and Mandalay International Airport. Please prepare for your passport, valid entry visa and the disembarkation card at the Yangon or Mandalay airport, then the immigration officer will check them and let you in.
 

Electricity


Domestic power AC 220-250 50HZ. The Power Line is 440V. Please make sure your electronic devices work with it. It is advisable to take a universal adaptor that fits a variety of socket types.
 

Currency


The local currency is Kyat. Kyat is readily available at ATMs in main cities. However, if you plan to spend more than a few days outside of Yangon or Mandalay, please make sure to exchange enough money beforehand, as it is difficult to find the ATMs in these areas or you may get a worse rate. Credit cards can only be used in some hotels, upscale restaurants or cover flight bills, and there will be a certain percent of service charge for credit card payment.
 

Weather & Best Visit Time


November to February is the cool season and the air is relatively dry. March to May is hot in most places of the country. In the cool an hot seasons, you are unlikely to experience any rain. June to October is the rainy season, particularly on the coast. The rain is less intense and you may meet sunshine in September and October.
 
The most comfortable time to visit Myanmar is during the cool season from November to February, which is less humid and has the clearest air. However, this is also the travel peak season. So during this period, the hot hotels are hard to book and there are crowds of travelers at the popular scenic spots. 
 

Clothing


If travelling in summer hot weather, you can take some light, casual clothes, while if travelling during the cold season or visiting northern Myanmar, a cardigan or jacket is suitable. Do not forget to take an umbrella and sandals during the rainy season, and quick dying clothes are recommended.
 

Useful Tips on Train Travel in Myanmar 


• Passport is the necessity to buy the train ticket, and the tickets can only be purchased in the city of departure.
 
• Buying train tickets at the train stations may take a long time. Foreign visitors will be invited into the ticket office and sit down to provide all the booking details including names, nationality and passport numbers, which will be written on your tickets one by one. All train tickets are hand-written manual reservations. 
 
• Even in upper class, there will be a possibility that your seat has the broken adjustment mechanisms. 
 
• Trains can get cold at night. Please make sure to take some warm clothes onto the train.
 
• Trains are always slow with multiple stops. You can get out of the train to stretch your legs or take a fresh breath. 
 
• Trains are unreliable in Myanmar, as departure and arrival time can vary. If you plan to catch the flight after the train travel, please leave enough time for the connection as trains in Myanmar are not punctual at all. 
 
• The facilities in the train stations are not advanced. Only Yangon station has a digital departure board in English, but few other stations have this facility.

 
- Last modified on Aug. 27, 2020 -
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