Monday, 10 March 2014
Day 216 - Yangon to Mandalay
Despite having a great time in Yangon yesterday, I figured it made sense to take the night train to Mandalay today. I will have more time in Yangon at the end of my Myanmar trip so figured it is good to see the north of the country first after having a great introduction in Yangon.
Since the train didn't leave till late in the day, it gave me enough time to walk around Yangon and take more photos and enjoy the city life.
I think the best way to explore a city is to just wander and see what you see. Sure, you might not see all the sights but a city is rarely it's sights and always the people living and working there.
So without a clear aim, I just walked around and took photos of people and the city. Well, I actually had an aim and this was to find a nice coffee place with free wifi but this does not exist, unless you are prepared to pay western prices at the few tourist coffee places.
Once it was time to head to the train station, I made sure I got there a bit earlier to have time for some photos on the platform and the station before the train departed.
Often when I meet other travelers, they take buses or fly because it's cheaper and faster most of the time. In my opinion there is no better way to meet locals and see people than by taking a train. It's the best and most comfortable way to travel. In Asia you can also open the windows in the trains, something I miss a lot in Europe and something that makes train travel so much nicer.
Sure, in Myanmar it's very expensive, very bumpy and very slow but I would have never met and been invited by some locals for a drink in a plane or bus and there is no restaurant car where you can chill, hang out and meet even more people.
Unfortunately I also met the wrong kind of travelers on this journey, a couple sharing my compartment but not wanting to interact with the locals and being unfriendly to them (and me, too) and generally just locking themselves in. If you don't want to mingle and interact with the locals then just fly is my recommendation.
Tomorrow morning, I will arrive in Mandalay where I will be staying a day or two before heading to Bagan.