» Myanmar: The Country of Many Faces V – Crossing the Gokteik Viaduct by Train
Myanmar: The Country of Many Faces V – Crossing the Gokteik Viaduct by Train
Whistling train comes on time. The rails squeak. We looked down into the mouth of the canyon up form the Gokteik viaduct. What should we see first? The view over scarily deep canyon or slow moving of the train? Welcome to the one of the most famous railroad viaducts in the world.
We stand at Hsipaw train station waiting for our turn. You don't have to book a ticket for a second-calss train. Just be in time at the train station. A kind railroad official with glasses waved his hand at us to show that we can approach his desk. We have to show our passports. He wrote down their numbers into his smudged notebook which, on the other hand, very orderly conducted.
The engine is heard for its loud whistle and gray cloud of smoke. We start our quest to find the right carriage with seats. The conductor nervously observes what we do there and he set off to help us. Some faster co-passagers have already occupied our seats. Yet they are kind and leave them.
The conductor whistles. One bump. Another one. The train starts moving. Every carriage sways in different direction. Therefore you can observe the forces of gravitation with your naked eye. Everything that is not fastened falls down. Us included. I hold on to a seat but I end up on the wooden floor anyway. It is covered in sunflower seeds feels and other stuff. The train stops often. Every stops takes about 20 minutes. Vendors with their woven baskets get in. You can buy something sweet or salty.
We are approaching the grandiose Gokteik arch bridge. The train slows down and then goes in very slow pace. The viaduct is over 700 meters long and 102 meters high. It is supported by 15 pillars of the diameter 12 meters. Amazing experience.
A British company and the American company Pennsylvania and Maryland Bridge Construction received the contract to construct the viaduct in 1899. The main route of the viaduct was put in operation in 1991 (Naung Hkio–Hsipaw). In 1993, the second section was finished (to Lashia). Thus, a fantastic, timeless railroad bridge was finished. The whole world envied Burma.
It takes several to cross the bridge. However, the memory of squeaking rails and the view over a deep Asian canyon will remain forever in my memory. Don't forget to get off the train at Pwin U Lwin. This is our next stop where we visit colorful botanical garden and beautiful waterfalls of crystal clear water.
GPS: (Hsipaw train station) 22°37'06.8"N 97°17'39.2"E
Text and photos: Šárka Vacková
Castle gates, gigantic royal palace, wooden teak cloister, world´s largest book, the Iravadi river – welcome to Mandalay.
Do you like ancient monuments, temples and learn about new cultures? Then there is probably no better place in the world than Myanmar, a country that opened its borders in 2012 to the western world. The Republic of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is the youngest country in Southeast Asia. The westernmost country of Indochina is located on the peninsula of India's back along the Bay of Bengal. It borders Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. Since 2005, it is its new capital, Neipyijto. Burma is a Buddhist country, with less than 90% of the population reporting this religion. The official currency is the buzz, but some hotels and local travel agencies accept US dollars.
They call Myanmar the gate between India, China, and southeast Asia. In country's largest city - Yangon - you quickly realize why it is so. There, influences of all cultures of the region meet as well as people - Indians, Chinese, Burmese... Let's quickly see the center and the suburbs of the city.
Burma's second largest city sometimes gives you the feeling as it doesn't fint into the country. To be honest, I loved it more than any other city in the country yet it was unimpressive at first. Let's make a quick look at the city.
One of the most popular place in Myanmar is Inle Lake. There are couple of interesting things about it. First, there are traditional fishermen. But also, there are unique floating gardens, and many villages built on water - on lake, or the river streaming from the lake.
Southeast Asia is booming. Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia are in some respects much more developed than we here in central Europe. However, should you like to experience the "true", unglobalized Asia then travel to Myanmar, Cambodia or - as we in this short video - to Myanmar, the country you might know as Burma.
The last stop in Burma is devoted to recreation on beach and a motorbike trip. A banana shake for breakfast, sea fruits for dinner. Peace, quiet, swashing of the waves during the sunrise and the sunset. Paradise or reality?
There are only handful of places where you don’t have to think about anything. I enjoyed this state of mind in a cave.
Let's climb up the second highest mountain of Myanmar. Nice weather means beautiful vista over mountains in India and to Bangladesh. There is a complicated road to the base camp. On the other hand, the climb is easy and takes you up to 3053 meters above sea level.
Monumental pagodas over 250 years old are glitter under sun shine. Pointy cactuses rise among temples made of red bricks. There are also bushes with red and rose blossoms. You can hear a clapping sound made by shepherd’s clogs.
Colonial structures, an English-style tower, railway stop, orchid park, bamboo bushland, the view over a botanical garden, motorbike ride, waterfalls and rainbow and a great melon at the end. This is Pwin U Lwin. A town with a hidden face of fresh Burmese beauty.
Great performance of the sun and the longest teak bridge in the world in the background. This you can see at only one place in the world.
A town where is a water canal, banana trees, remains of wooden cloisters. Curious looks of Burmese children, and a pleasant encounter with farmer Uman.
Myanmar is its most beautiful side in the Shan State and around the tourist magnet, Inle Lake. You can easily reach it by bus, but how about a two-day to three-day adventure trip from Kalaw? You will experience a journey from village to village, between different ethnic groups. You will sleep in a Buddhist monastery, you will have the opportunity to get closer to the local culture and life in the countryside, and finally you will reach the aforementioned Inle Lake. The lake is one of the most popular and at the same time the most beautiful tourist destinations in Myanmar.
While travelling across Burma, we travel to Hsipaw in Shan State in the north of the country. Full moon is about to come. In this time a large celebration takes place in Bawgyo. Many Burmese delicacies are sold during this time, and you can experience also some fair rides and fire works.
Long and grimmy winter is an ideal time for a tropical vacation. It will recharge your batteries....
Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar, Yinfluences from all cultures meet. The famous Shwe Dagon Pa...
Mandalay is Myanmar's second largest city but it doesn't quite fit how the country looks. Here is...
Today's video takes you to one of the most popular places in Myanmar – to Inle Lake. During sunri...
Southeast Asia is a still developing region. If you want to see places untouched by the West then...